Day 9. Burn City

19 Nov

The next morning we woke around 11am.  Dixie, Jimmy, Tonguey, Nick and Scoob jumped in the hire car, Maths got a lift with Rachel and Class A and I jumped on a train – we’re all heading to Melbourne AKA Burn City for the show tonight at The Northcote Social Club.

I’m not sure if this is a Hip Hop thing or if it’s just these guys but everything, I mean everything is abbreviated or has a nick name.  Jimmy and Nick explained how Dixie is the king of nick names.  Here’s just some of Dixie’s language, I had to ask them to explain it a bit slower because it can get confusing…

Dixie AKA Joyride

Dixie AKA Joyride

The guys arrived at the Northcote at 6pm to find out the sound guy, who had been there from 3 – 6pm,  had now gone home and wouldn’t be back till 8pm.  There had been a stuff up with the times that had been written on the itinerary.  This was a pretty big blow not just because they wouldn’t get a proper sound check but also because there was a good chance the sound guy would be pissed off with them for making him wait.

Luckily the sound guy was pretty cool and when he got there at 8 they had enough time to do a run through before doors opened at 8.45.

There were a lot of people hanging around and buying tickets early, the room, feel, vibe and venue were all such a vast comparison to the night before.  The security at The Nash had told me to “F off “when I asked them to have a chat about hip hop and touring, however this wasn’t the case at The Northcote tonight, where I met the security guard Flynn and his side kick door girl…

Flynn and the door girl

Flynn and the door girl

The duck stamp

The famous duck stamp

Flynn's new tattoo (let's hope his mum isn't following this blog)

Flynn's new tattoo (let's hope his mum isn't following this blog)

The venue was a large carpeted square room with a big stage and chairs around the outside with a bar along the left hand side.  The merch desk was the best so far with a cork board ready to go.  Likewise was the rider and band area – a locked room upstairs with a great view of the Burn City skyline and a fridge full of beer and soft drink.

Everybody was a lot happier with their sets tonight and crowd was getting into it.  After the set everyone broke off with friends and parters: Jimmy’s girl friend lives in Melb, Scoob met with a friend and Dixie’s girlfriend, Rachel Olding flew down from Sydney to see the show because she can’t make it to the Gaelic show next week.

With so many partners there I pulled Class A’s boyfirend aside to ask him how he feels about going out with a female  hip hop star…

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Day 8. The Nash

18 Nov

We checked into the hotel and chilled out before heading over to sound check.   The Nash, which was a short drive from where we were staying, has got to be one of the last of it’s kind.  It’s an old school music shed really, where you can feel the history ooze out of the walls, in fact you can see the history on the walls as well; graffiti, band stickers and Magic Dirt posters everywhere.  Any muso from Geelong who’s gone on to bigger things played their first gig here, including this tour’s own Class A.

Listen to Nick’s description of The Nash here:

The Nash

The Nash

The Tongue and Dixie

The Tongue and Dixie

I got a chance to catch up with Class A after her set to have a chat about her home town and rapping.  Here’s some of that chat:

Class A and Rachel Berry

Class A and Rachel Berry

Some drove and some walked back to the hotel afterwards.  Dixie got his own room because he snores, or does he…?


Day 8. Back Like I left Something

18 Nov

I’ve heard mixed accounts of the Perth shows from the guys- they were good, OK and one was really weird.  Overall though there is a strong sense that they did really well on the western coastline.  Sweet.

It’s 4pm and the Victorian clouds look threatening – it’s these times I realise I should have packed a jumper. I’m sitting in a mini-bus heading to the heart of Geelong for the show tonight at The National (or the Nash as it’s known).  Scoob, Dix, Tonguey and the SS guys jumped in a hire car and I’m meeting them there.

I’m looking forward  talking to Class A tonight, Geelong is her home town and no doubt there’ll be a lot of support for her set.  Got to run, I’m getting kicked off the bus.

Hey Geelong

Hey Geelong

Day 3. Lucky we’re all friends

7 Nov
All 5 of us squeezed into Nick's Corolla for the drive home from Newcastle

All 5 of us squeezed into Nick's Corolla for the drive home from Newcastle

Nick, Jimmy, Dix and The Tongue plus the Tongues cousin met up with us the next morning at Scoob’s place around midday.  We went down to a local cafe to grab some breakfast and then hit the road in Nick Lupi’s Toyota Corolla, AKA ‘the blue bullet’.  Dix and Lupi were in the front while myself, Jimmy Nice and Tonguey got comfortable in the back, felt bad for Jimmy in the middle; lucky we’re all friends.

After some slight navigational issues we finally made it to the freeway and didn’t stop till a petrol station in Wahroonga, where I said my farewells to the guys.

WOWWW… what a weekend.  This sort of touring in Australia isn’t anywhere near as glamorous as I imagine a lot of people would think.  There’s not much money going round, every problem that comes up has to be sorted out by the artist themselves and the long drives are draining and get morale down pretty easily.  Plus there’s not much time to recover, most of the tour have to work their day jobs tomorrow.

Spit Syndicate at the Cambridge

Spit Syndicate at the Cambridge

But on the flip side I feel as though I’ve been opened up to this incredible national community  of music lovers with a passion for hip hop.  The interactions between artists and fans is relaxed and down to earth, they appreciate the support so much and love to have a chat with anyone.  I was warned at the start that I’d be “chatting to a lot of randoms”, and it’s honestly been an absolute ball to hear peoples stories and understand aussie hip hop.  It seems like such a complex, multi-faceted genre that’s still being pushed upward and outwards and every other way.

Wildside hits up three shows in Perth next week, I’ll be taking a break from the tour at this point but will be keeping in touch via most modern communication methods.  After that, next stop Geelong, Victoria.

– Mike

Day 2. Post-show/pre-bed (floor)

7 Nov
It’s 3am and I’m back from the post-gig celebrations sitting in Scoob’s apartment in Newcastle eating pasta and watching Eastbound Down.
Scoob's special pasta

Scoob's special pasta


We arrived in Newcastle behind time but had enough time to load in and have a decent sound check.  Local support G-Fresh had a good crack at setting a vibe as punters started to flow in.  All the sets (Class A, SS and Tonguey) were killer, if not better than last night, even though numbers weren’t as strong.
The Cambridge Hotel

Unbelievably, two fans from the Canberra show, Dave and Chris, decided to road trip it up to Newcastle to watch the second show of the tour.  Chris started work at 6am then picked up Dave when he knocked off around 2pm and then drove staight up here!  They communicated with the acts via twitter and got free tickets for their effort.  They told me they won’t be going to Perth, but we’ll wait and see…

Chris and Dave drove up from the Canberra show

I got to chat with a few natives from the Cambridge as well, Bert, who’s the sound guy was a straight shooter with a huge passion for music.  We discussed the stereotype of sound guys and why it’s so, I mentioned that last night the soundie had head phones on and was watching a movie on his lap top.  I also got to meet the door girl (or door maven, but definitly not door bitch).  Unlike a lot of live venues who use an array of door staff, Suze works most gigs as the resident gate keeper.  This means she’s picked up quite a few techniques on her job, we had a chat about her role in a touring bands journey.

Suze the door maven

After the show, Tonguey, Jimmy and Nick headed back to an afterparty at ‘Fanny’s’ nightclub where Joyride (Dix) was DJing (I don’t know how he does it sometimes, he played for both the Tongue and Spit Syndicate and will now DJ for a couple of hours).  I stuck with Scoob and went back to another Newcastle hotspot called ‘Finnigans’.   DJ Mathematics was playing to a jam packed room with girls dancing on tables.  One lady that wasn’t dancing on a table was Class A (joined on-stage tonight by Rachel Berry) who we ran into at the club.  On our way out someone had been king hit and the cops were shutting the whole venue down.

So here I am back at Scoob’s house, finishing my pasta and just about to jump onto the spare mattress on the floor (it’s now about quarter to four).  Scoob’s had a crazy night of girl action but I’ll have to save that for another blog.

The show

Home tomorrow, but after tonight I’m starting to get a real clear picture of how the hip hop scene and touring works in Oz, it’s an unexpected incredible community built around respect and supporting each other, or maybe I’m just really tired.  Whatever the weather one thing’s certain, the wildside has only just begun…

Day 2. Next stop Newcastle.

6 Nov

Everybody rose around 9.30 – 10ish.  Maths and Class A have left for Newcastle and Scoob has gone to take Sonia, one of Nick’s friends who stayed with us last night to pick up her car – she’s going to drive Nick, Jimmy and Dix up to Sydney where they’ll swap cars into Nick’s and drive themselves the rest of the way.  Lucky for Sonia, on ya… Sonia.

Nick Lupi

Nick Lupi

We were waiting at a café for Scoob and Sonia to get back so we could have breakfast when Tonguey got a call Scoob saying he’s not feeling too well.  Luckily they pulled over just in time for Scoob to be sick – a mixture of being over tired, alcohol and possibly some substances collectively were the cause.

It was a full 2 hours before we saw scoob and Sonia again.  We ordered some breakfast (by this stage it was 11.30 though) and then hit the road for Newcastle.  I’m riding with Tonguey and Scoob again, we bid farewell to the other guys and Sonia.  See you in Newie.

Passing Alternative Energy - in real life

Passing Alternative Energy - in real life

Day1. Why they call it wildside

6 Nov

It’s 2.32am after the show (sat morning), hip hop music is blaring throughout the entire hotel (courtesy of us) and we have a 5 hour drive to Newcastle in the morning… did I really expect anything else??

After the ANU show at the Pinnacle.

It really didn’t take long for disaster to strike the tour, 2 hours in fact.  My ride in with Scoob and Tonguey was pretty straightforward however Dix, Nick and Jimmy were far from having the time of their life.  ‘The White Knight’ (Dix’s Holden commodore) had broken down, and unlike every other time it had done so, it was unable to be revived.  They hitched a ride to … and sold it for scrap metal for $200. I asked Dix if it was appropriate for his car to go out on this tour he said, “it would never be appropriate for that car to go out, I’d drive it till the day I die if I could…which could be soon anyway the way I’m going…”

Luckily DJ Mathematics from Newcastle who’s DJing for Class A was on his way down and had some spare seats; otherwise it could have been a very expensive taxi ride.

To add even more stress to the mix, there had been a mix up with gear, we had originally thought the venue would provide decks, however they don’t.  Again (luckily) Scoob had brought a spare deck and Dix had brought a spare deck so between them they could make up some decks.

But once the show finally kicked off all of the off stage drama seemed to fade away into the speakers.  Class A set the tone for the night, a lot of people really digging her sound with strong numbers coming through the door.  Tongue and Spit Syndicate followed playing really well received sets with quite a few people coming over to check out the merch desk.

Nick and Jimmy at the merch desk

After the show everyone came back to the Pinnacle where we were staying to celebrate the show.  Everybody’s really stoked with the turn out and how it went. A few friends came back and before long the tunes (hip hop of course) is loud enough to keep most of the hotel awake.

It’s close to 3 o’clock now and everyone’s starting to crash out, better get some sleep.  Just then I grabbed a few blankets from the cupboard and Jimmy Nice gave me one of his pillows – guess that’s why they call him Jimmy Nice.  Wildside.