Hoop, there it is – Wildside on the air

5 Mar

‘Wildside – Hip Hop on Tour’ hits the airwaves on Into the Music today (March 5th) at 5pm on ABC Radio National.

View track listing and download an MP3 of the full documentary here.

Firstly a big thanks to the musicians that let me share, document and have fun with them on the tour – Spit Syndicate, The Tongue, Class A, Rachel Berry, DJ Scoob, DJ Maths and the big guy, Joyride.

Special thanks to Into the Music EP Cathy Peters as well as Claudia Taranto and Russell Stapleton.

A very special thanks goes to the audio engineer of Wildside, Timothy Nicastri –  Check out his rocking band and blog here.

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Day 14. This City’s Crazy

26 Nov

Thankfully the flight home is smooth.  Everyone sleeps last night off but when we get off the plane morale is up and everbody’s excited to be playing tonight at the Gaelic club, particularly Tongue who’s launching his album.  For Melbournites, Class A and Rachel they’re also pumped to play, it’s their biggest show in sydney and the official launch of their album too.

 

Needless to say it’s another great gig.  The venue doesn’t sell out but the crowd is really enthusiastic about each of the performers.  Tonight’s show is special too – the Spit Syndicate guys get their good friend and rapper Nick, AKA Solo from Horrorshow up on stage to perform a few songs.  Spit Syndicate also got up during the Tongues set to do a few numbers together.

It’s a bit surreal but it’s the end of the tour.  Although it sounds cliche, it’s been a very bumpy rollercoaster ride with many twists and turns.  At times morale was painfully low, other times it was gloriously high and some, were just down right hilarious. (see directions game).  All in all it’s been a musical journey and I’ve learned a lot about Australian hip hop and the touring process.  I’ll know start the editing process for the audio feature to air in March 2011.  I have over 25 hours of audio to go through so I’ll see you in a couple of months…

Day 13. No way to Escape

25 Nov

Ring ring… ring ring…

Me – Hello?

Class A – The flight’s been cancelled!

This is what I woke up to.  It was the beginning of the longest and most stressful day on the tour.  All the boys were on an early flight out of Hobart however Class A, Rachel and myself were scheduled for a later flight.  Our flight got cancelled.  Now this isn’t a big deal right, just hop on the next one? …

WRONG.

By the time Class A had rung me and I’d checked over the original text message that Virgin had sent any spare seats (which would only have been a few anyway) were gone.  There was now no way of getting to Brisbane from Hobart – every airline every seat, sold.  We were trapped on an island with the best show of the tour only hours away.  There was only one way, but it’d be costly and risky.  We would have to drive to Launceston, a couple of hours north on the other side of the island!  We hire a car and transfer the flights.  Hit the road and.. we’re lost.. oh, and we’re running against the clock now because even if we did get in the right direction and don’t stop… we’re going to miss the check in by 5 minutes.

 

In an early Christmas miracle we make it, if only by the skin of our teeth.

 

In Brisbane we find out the guys didn’t have such a smooth ride at all – when they arrived their bags were nowhere to be seen.  No bags, no gear, no show.  Thankfully the airline found and then delivered the baggage to the venue, oh dear, so much emotion!

Everyone’s just so happy to be their and all the pain is about to be worth it, Brisbane has turned out tonight for this gig.  The gig goes off, everyone performs well and it really did get wild.  At one point some people got up on the stage, took their shoes off, poured their beers in their shoe and skulled it.

Jimmy Nice signing some merch

Jimmy Nice signing some merch

After the show we went a couple of minutes up the road to well known arts hub in Brisbane called ‘The Fort’.  I’m told it’s an old furniture company that’s now used for young people to get creative, hold band nights, exhibitions etc.  Tonight there’s a bunch of people sitting on fold-up chairs drinking beers while about 5 – 6 guys are spray painting the walls.  For me I could see this a perfect example of combining the elements of hip hop (see DJ Maths explanation).  The owner came over to start a freestyle with our crew but unfortunately we had to head home.  Tomorrow is the final day of this crazy tour.  But there’s a long way to go – a lot can happen in one day.

 

Day 12. From the Mainland eh?

24 Nov

The final leg of the tour has kicked off and the first stop is the apple isle – Tasmania.

 

We arrive late in the afternoon – the latest we’ve flown into a city.  In Sydney is was a hot and humid 35 degrees but here in Hobart the weather is typical – overcast, blustery and rain pouring down.  No time to check into a hotel, it’s straight to the venue – The Alley Cat.  It’s a reasonablely sized pub but the stage and audience area are quite small.  An old piano sat in one corner and strange cat related paraphernalia littered the walls, some looked good but a lot of it looked like a year 9 art projects.

Things just weren’t looking up at this point.  Besides the limited space it there was no sign of a sound guy, the bar didn’t really understand what a rider was and there was another stuff up with the accommodation.  Myself Class A and Rachel were luckily OK because there was a cheap backpackers next door.

Everything eventually gets sorted out but again, all these little things tend to add up and bring the overall mood down a notch.  To make matters worse during the week Dixie had decided to quit smoking so he was in a “grumpelstilskin” mood.

 

The shows kick off and for a rainy night in hobart it’s actually a reasonable turn out.  Just before the show I met this local who reckons he’s known bands to cancel when it rains cause people just don’t come out…

 

During the gig there was a visit from the cops regarding noise complaints, apparently it happens all the time because of the close residentials.   After the show I caught up with Class A to see how it went.

 

After it all though there’s always time to have a chat and fool around with the punters and who else but Dixie gets into a running race with one of the fans for $5.60…

 

We stumble out back to our respective accommodation and get some sleep – we’ll need it, just going off early presales in Brisbane it looks as though it’ll be the highlight of the tour.

triple j Hop Show with Hau

22 Nov

Today we found out that an ad that was booked in the street press in hobart will NOT be running because the rag has gone bankrupt.  Not only is that a massive blow to the promo of the Tassie gig, it means we’ve lost the money.

Thankfully there’s an interview teed up on the triple j hip hop show with Hau Latukefu (Monday nights from 10pm).  Jimmy, Dixie and Tonguey drop by to have a freestyle as well as chat about their music and the tour.  Hau (who is also half of premier act Koolism) was very focused and prepared, he asked about how the guys see their role as one of the more senior acts on the local scene.

 

Day 11. WildSLIDE tour

21 Nov

Our flight home to Sydney wasn’t until 4.50pm so we had quite a bit of time to kill.  After dropping the girls off to do some recording we went on a bit of a trip to a bakery the guys had told me lots about.  Thery weren’t wrong, it was awesome.

And then, from a distance we saw blue cylindrical pipes coming out of the sky.  It was a mini theme park, and those pipes were unmistakably a water slide.  Tonguey, Nick and Jimmy could not help themselves and bought a one pass to the amazing park.  It was a hot day in Adelaide and we were right on the beach.  Dixie and I chilled and watched from the side whilst Scoob when for a long walk by the beach.

The hour passed fast (as themepark hours always do) and we got in the car to head back to Adelaide airport.  Most people slept on the flight home and by the time we arrived back to Sydney everybody was pretty broke and pretty ready to get home.  Tomorrow they’ve got an interview on the triple j hip hop show and then it’s only 2 days before they have to jump on a plane and do it all again.  Watch out Hobart, Brisbane and then finally, the home-coming party – Sydney.

Tongue on a slide

Tongue on a slide

Day 10. The Directions Game (Adelaide)

20 Nov

Tonguey let me crash on the spare bed in his room that night and the following morning it was a rush to find all the band members who were now scattered around the city.  I jumped in a taxi and then caught the Skybus to the airport, I was on a separate  flight to our next destination, the city of churches: Adelaide.

Adelaide

Adelaide

Spit Syndicate and Joyride

Spit Syndicate and Joyride

Although we don’t stay in cities very long, touring is obviously a great way to see a lot of the country, in a very short amount of time.  I noticed Adelaide is a very quiet city and once we checked in I asked the guys about getting bored on tour.  Their answer surprised me, “we’ve got i-phones to keep us entertained.”   I’ve heard that sentiment a lot on the tour; what did artists do before the i-phone.  Later that night I was even more shocked when we talked about the i-phone on tour and table manners, check this out…

The Rocket Bar in Adelaide was completely different again to the previous nights venue, more of a multi-level bar with swanky furnishings and night club feel with a long narrow staircase that lead you up to the venue.  The sound guydidn’t look like much of a hip hop lover and he wanted to leave early because his own band was playing a house party somewhere.  We negotiated we could finish half an hour early at 12.30, we would not end up finishing till 1am though.

Rocket Bar, Adelaide

Rocket Bar, Adelaide

At several shows throughout the tour there is a local support band that plays before Class A, tonight it was a group called ‘Dropped at Birth’.  They had been helping out with the promotion and were totally stoked to be playing alongside The Wildside crew.  I caught up with them and found out the pretty hilarious way they scored the gig…

Dropped at Birth

Dropped at Birth

They call Adelaide the home of hip hop and tonight they did not disappoint in keeping the name.  The audience were really, really getting into it, screaming the lyrics back at them.  Lupi compared this afterwards with one of the Perth shows that was packed out but people weren’t getting into it which made all the difference.

Everyone was on a bit of a high after the gig, and driving home we had a bit of fun with what’s known as the the directions game, jump in the car with us right now  to check it out…

Needless to say we tried this the following morning when we were with Class A and Rachel Berry and they weren’t too impressed, maybe you won’t be either or it was one of those things you had to be there for.  Either way at the time it was hilarious.

The guys had been given a real lot of kush to get through tonight so they set to task chilling out.   I walked back to where I was staying and DJ Maths kept me company, he had a 6am flight back to Newcastle in the morning so there was no point going to bed at this stage (it was 3am).  As we were walking down the street we heard some starnge music coming from an even stranger building.  We walked in to check it out and it was this crazy warehouse style gig, turned out the place was an old mental asylum and they were holding a one off gig, even weirder was that the soudn guy from our gig was on stage playing bass.  We stayed and had a chat to him after the gig about the coincidence and Adelaide and then we found a fooseball table and played foosball until about 4am.  What a great end to a massive day.