MC OBEAH : WORLD CITIZEN DIARIES PART 2
WORLD CITIZEN DIARIES @MCOBEAH
MC OBEAH is a recent signee to the SPITdigital roster of unique artists. His MCing alongside Chuck D on DJ LORD>2MP EAT THE RAT album earned him that spot. He has seen his World Citizen song evolve to real life after a Belfast visit in SEPT 2015. Between Lords album and his upcoming 2016 album he has kept the 'World Citizen Diaries' on tour with Public Enemy as they play arenas and stadiums across UK and Europe with The Prodigy.Here are his words
MC OBEAH WORLD CITITZEN DIARIES (PART 2)
I didn't even sleep at the hotel in Zurich. After the McDonald's session I went back and hung out for a while and then packed up my stuff. We headed to Amsterdam early in the morning and I slept pretty much the whole way again. We arrived at INK Hotel in the Centro area about 10 PM. I walked to the currency exchange place in the train station with Flavor and Lou and then stopped at a coffee shop on the way back and got a gram of Lemon Haze. We smoked and chatted for a minute before heading back to the hotel.
This was the first of many coffee shop trips while in Amsterdam. Anyone who knows me well knows that the connoisseur in me could not be in Amsterdam for a week and not make the rounds at the shops. I have to see as many strains as possible and find out whose growing the best bud. The first place was decent. It was called Cafe Resin. The Lemon Haze was pretty good, but definitely not top caliber although it was reasonably priced.
My good friend Rashod had told me that a place called Grey Area was the best quality he had found. So I intended to go there and try to find out what else was in the same playing field. Being that we got in so late on the first day though, we just took it easy and walked around a bit. Lord, Flav, Sammy, and I went and had some of the best Indian food I've ever had. We really feasted. It was a memorable meal.
My first day off in Amsterdam!!! I had been looking forward to visiting this place for so long; probably over half my life at this point. I had intentions of renting a bike and going out about the town. That was until I realized that it rains every day there and that there is an extremely established biking community. I didn't really feel that comfortable being super stoned riding around on a bike with no helmet on not being familiar with all of the local protocol. So, I opted to walk all over town the entire time. Honestly, its not very difficult in Amsterdam. Everything is pretty centrally located.
I took a walk to go to Grey Area, but they didn't open until noon and I had a little time to kill. I went to another coffee shop close by called Amnesia. It was small and they had hip music playing, but the guy behind the counter was pretentious and kind of rude. I didn't know if it was just a cultural barrier or he really was just a dick, but I wasn't sweating it.
After that I walked over to Grey Area and noticed that there was a line already forming outside. By the time they opened their doors, about 10 minutes late, there were about 30 people standing outside waiting. That's how you know that the goods are inside, a huge line before doors open. Rashod was dead right! Their selection of strains was right up my alley. I didn't get a ton because I still wanted to figure out what my favorite was. I got Neville's Haze, West Coast Sour Diesel, Scott's OG, Sage and Sour (one of my favorites I never see), and Tangie which is amongst the tastiest strains I've ever had. Still, at the end of the day, its pretty much impossible to beat the Sour D!
I talked to the owner briefly and told him I was in town with Public Enemy. He was really cool and seemed interested so I asked him if he wanted to come to the show. He gave me a discount and I put him on the list. As I left Grey Area I looked up to the left and noticed that the store next doors was full of treasures. None other than the best damn cheese in the world: Reypeneur. This has been my favorite cheese for years and there was an entire store dedicated to it right next door to the best coffee shop in town. There is a god. They had free samples of all of the cheeses they offered too. It was amazing.
While I was out on my solo mission Eric, T Bone, Davy, etc. went to a shop called Greenhouse and made friends with the owner. That guy is fucking awesome. He really took care of us while we were in town. We basically got to go in and get whatever we wanted for free the whole time. We had lunch there twice, smoked tons of herb, and got hats and hoodies, all on the house.
My memory of our time in Amsterdam is a bit spotty for obvious reasons, but it was definitely some of the most fun we had on the trip. We went to a few clubs in search of a fun night out and never really found a spot that was my speed, but it was fun none the less. The incredible herb definitely helped.
We had an interesting PE show slated for Amsterdam. Chuck had business he had to attend to in the states, so this was a very rare Public Enemy set with no Chuck D. Flavor held it down and performed more of his solo songs than usual and it worked out pretty well for me because I got to perform World Citizen for the biggest crowd I've ever been in front of. The Ziggo Dome was also the biggest venue of the whole tour. My only regret of that night is that I didn't get more footage of my performance.
Ivan Beslic, who you may remember from our adventures in Dusseldorf, came to see the show and hang out. After the show we hung around for a bit and watched The Prodigy then headed back to the hotel with plans to go out on the town. Lord, Ivan, his friend, and myself went on a mission in the city to find something fun to do, but never really found it. I was still riding the high from rocking that huge crowd, so I was far from concerned about it.
The next day I went on a mission to get some herb with Davy, T Bone, and Lou. After stopping by Grey Area (where, for the record, we got my favorite strain of the whole trip, EarlyGrey, a sour diesel phenotype), we decided to head back to Greenhouse and got our second free lunch of the trip there. Those guys took such good care of us. Hospitality at its finest. We had plans for the bus to pull off at midnight and head to Aberdeen, Scotland, but I had plans first. I had noticed while doing some research a few months ago that one of my favorite bands, The Notwist, was playing at a festival in Utrecht which is a short train ride from Amsterdam.
When I originally found out about the festival called Le Guess Who?, I thought I would be able to attend several days of it. There was an eclectic line up of artists, many of which I love. But as fate would have it, the plan ended up being to leave at midnight on the 19th. It was a bit of a bummer because I'm sure all of us would've rather had extra days off in Amsterdam instead of a few in Aberdeen, but I'm not complaining. Plus, about the only band on the whole line up that I did actually have time to see was the one I wanted to see the most, so I was winning.
Before the show I took a nap and set my alarm, but I guess I turned it off and overslept. I thought I was going to miss the show. I jumped out of bed when Eric said to me 'Yo! Its almost 8 dude. You still going to that show?' Oh shit!! I had been telling the crew I was going to the show but no one was interested in rolling with me. I'm glad it worked out that way though. I love a good solo mission. Many times my optimism and spirit are not shared with friends who set out on these adventures with me. I know if someone else would've been with me they would have been discouraged by being late and not knowing exactly how to get to the venue. They would've accepted defeat and stayed at the hotel, but not me. I'm about as stubborn as they come and often it pays off.
I swiftly walked in a sleepy haze to the train station, not familiar with how the whole system worked there and with very little time to catch the next train. I knew if I missed this one there was no way I'd make it on time and still maybe wouldn't. As I asked an employee where to go and how to buy a ticket, he realized how late I was and had pity on me. He let me on the train for free and I walked up just as it was pulling up.
When I arrived in Utrecht, I walked out of the train straight into what looked like an upscale shopping mall. I wasn't exactly sure how to get to the show, but my trusty Google maps was assisting me. As the trip has unfolded, I've secured my role as the navigator of the crew. I don't have a data plan out here, so I can only really use my phone when there is a wifi connection available, but you can use Google maps while offline to at least show you where you are on the map which is enough for me to figure out in what direction to head. I've tried time and time again to explain that to different members of the crew to no avail. It almost seems like they'd rather just get lost. I can't do it. I always know where I am. I'm almost neurotic about it.
I speed walked through this weird mall in the direction of the venue according to my map and though it was convoluted, I managed to walk right up to the venue and walked in right as The Notwist began their first song. The show lived up to my high hopes. They are a very interesting band from Germany near Munich and began their career as a metal band. These days their music sounds somewhere between pop rock and avant garde electronic music. Radiohead is probably the closest thing I could compare it to. They have many different styles and use a really wide range of instrumentation from synthesizers and Rhodes to lush strings and woodwinds.
Their stage set up was really interesting. Lots of gadgets, pedals, fx, etc. The lead singer even had a turntable that he was sampling vinyl live and incorporating in. It was so awesome it gave me chills and this was a rare opportunity for me because they don't have much of a following in the states and I may never get a chance to see them there. After the show was over I walked around in hopes to run into some of the guys and share words with them, which I did. They were super nice and confirmed my assumption that I may never see them play in the states.
I also discovered yet another reason why its awesome to tour with Public Enemy. Mentioning that fact to anyone pretty much immediately makes them interested in talking to you. As humbly as I can say it, I know that my life is somewhat interesting and I know I can hold a conversation with the best of them, but breaking the ice can be really difficult sometimes; especially when you are an extremely normal looking white dude who everyone assumes is just a local.
I made it back in time to pack my things and load on the bus with the crew and then we were off to Scotland. We made it through the French border and UK customs pretty easily and I slept most of the bus ride other than that.
Aberdeen may be the smallest town we've visited on the whole tour, so there is not too terribly much to report on from this stop, but it was beautiful. We stayed in a hotel very close to the ocean, so I got to take some walks on a freezing, snow-covered beach.
At this point I'm going to take a minute to give you the run down on the tour crew I haven't talked about yet. I'm getting to know everyone pretty well at this point. Also, I just realized that somehow when I first listed everyone I forgot to mention Chuck's brother Eric. I don't know how I could've done that because he is my roommate! I've known Eric for a while now because he also lives in Atlanta and comes out when Lord DJs pretty frequently.
Eric, like myself, loves to talk and fortunately he has a million amazing stories to tell. Aside from touring with Public Enemy for years he also grew up in New York in the 70s and 80s during the crack epidemic and spent most of his early years hustling. I don't really know to what extent, but he spent way too much time away and has tons of crazy stories from that time. He seems to have grown out of all that now. He told me stories about crime organizations from back in the day, some of which famous rappers were a part of, but also stories from the fledgling stages of hip hop culture and going to the parties.
Eric was much more into music than Chuck was when they were young. Chuck had always been more of a sports guy. E's story about the first time he heard Public Enemy is pretty incredible. He had been locked up for so long that he didn't know that PE existed yet. He said that some people had told him that Chuck had 'made a record' and he said he was thinking 'a record of what'? Chuck's not even into music.
When he was released, on the way home he kept hearing the same song coming out of different cars and being played on the streets. He was thinking 'That one song is dope. I wonder who it is.' not realizing it was his flesh and blood. Of all the crew, I think he's probably the best one for me to room with. Our personalities mesh well and he's treated me like fam the whole time. Eric is a good dude.
Khari Wynn, the guitar player, is from Memphis, Tennessee. His father was also a famous journalist and he has deep roots in the blues community. Khari is a really nice, shy dude. He really keeps to himself and doesn't converse with everyone that much. To be honest, he's probably the one that I know least about at this point.
T Bone the dirty drummer is quite the character. Chuck once told him he was like the black Keith Richards. The man usually has a drink in his hand and music playing loudly from his book bag. His father was also a famous drummer and played on some legendary sessions (including David Bowie's Fame). He has some amazing stories too.
Davy D is probably the most unsung legend I've ever met. The dude is responsible for some straight classics. He was in a band called Orange Krush, then went on to help produce all of Run DMC's early classics. He had a few hits of his own with 'One for the Treble' and 'Davy's Ride'. He was Kurtis Blow's tour DJ for a while as well and produced 'If I Ruled the World' among other hits. He also put records out on Def Jam in the early days.
Davy is just an all around cool cat. He's seriously one of my favorite dudes I've ever met. He's hilarious and is always cracking jokes, but definitely not one to blow smoke and tells it like it is. I've felt nothing but love from Davy out here though. I feel like he's looking out for me like a nephew and it means the fucking world to me.
Sammy Vegas is an artist on SpitDigital Recordings along with myself. He has a very interesting music background though. He's a Korean American who is from Florida originally. In his teens, he won a contest and got picked to be in a K Pop boyband group called Uptown. Their first single shot to the top of the Korean pop charts in 2 weeks. So, he experienced pop stardom in Korea at a young age. As he grew older, he got more into the production side of things and worked with the likes of Flo Rida, Justin Bieber, etc.
He moved to Vegas years ago and became a cop for several years. Eventually, he quit the force and started doing security at a bank. That's where he met Flavor Flav and ended up joining the ranks with Public Enemy. He is basically around to look after Flav and help him with everything along with continuing to develop as an artist in his own right. He doesn't really perform with PE though, because his music really doesn't fit in with the aesthetic.
Watching out for Flav along with Sammy is Lou Rock or Lou from the Bronx as we call him sometimes. Lou is Puerto Rican and wears gold fronts. He has plenty of idiosyncrasies that cause the crew to fuck with him all the time, but he doesn't seem to care. He is always talking and telling stories from the road and growing up in the Bronx. I had fun hanging with Lou.
Then there are the S1Ws. The security of the first world. If you aren't familiar with the S1Ws, do your Public Enemy homework on Google and come back to me. Over the years there has been a rotating cast of characters acting as S1Ws. The current line up consists of James Bomb and Pop Diesel.
James and Pop are both devout Muslims and are very focused on fitness. That being said, they didn't spend much time hanging out with anyone who was drinking, etc. James has been working on developing his spoken word poetry skills and is featured on one of the songs on the new PE album called 'Mine Again'. Pop has also worked for Eddie Murphy for years. Eddie is from Roosevelt also. Pretty much all of these dudes grew up in the same neighborhood.
I had never met Paulette before this trip. She was the only female in the squad and to be honest I didn't know there were any currently. Apparently she's been around since day one too. It was great having her around though. It balanced things out to at least have a bit of female energy in the mix. It was great to get to know her in the first week and then see her face after she saw me perform for the first time. That's something I'm pretty used to at this point. I guess because of the way I look and my demeanor people never expect what they get from my live performance.
Paulette is a former corrections officer, so she is definitely stern and tough, but at the same time she's quite loving and nice most of the time. Once she got to know me a bit more she treated me with a motherly vibe and made me feel very welcomed. She was pressuring me to talk to Chuck about coming on future tours and telling me that she liked me and wanted me around.
Brother Mike is Drew's brother and is basically the head of the whole operation. It seems as if he's the one that makes things happen on tour. He's the one that organizes everything, deals with the money, deals with the hotels, etc. He and Drew both seem to be heavily involved in the church and the gospel influence is apparent on Mike's voice. He can sing really well and holds a mic during all of the PE shows to do adlibs. I heard a song he made recently with his son (who is an MC) and it was good. I'm hoping to hear him make some more tracks.
It was an ongoing joke with Mike that I was a spy. Given the nature of Public Enemy and the strong stance that they take on some sensitive issues, I'm sure they've dealt with some things like that. It's really funny to me. I could see how someone would think that. They don't know me at all really. I told him 'Yep, I'm a spy. I learned how to rap just to infiltrate your operation. Lol.'
DJ Lord is the one in the crew that I've known the longest. He is probably the dopest DJ I've ever met and I'm very fortunate to be involved with him. He is super adventurous and gos non stop. I could go on more about him, but he'll be involved in most of these stories anyways.
I can't say too much about Professor Griff because he was not on this tour because of issues with his passport. I've only met him once. He was really nice to me, but we've never even had a conversation.
I could give a description for Chuck D and Flavor Flav, but chances are if you've found your way to this site to read this you already know plenty about those two. If not, just Google it. You could spend all day reading about these dudes. They are the backbone of the group's success without questions. It is a very interesting dynamic considering they are pretty much polar opposites.
We had a day off in Aberdeen... We could've still been in Amsterdam and I could've attended the rest of the Le Guess Who? Festival... Oh well, at least I'm hanging out in a new place with awesome people, new friends, and cultural icons. The only thing memorable about this day was that we went bowling. Davy, T Bone, Lord, Lou, Sammy, Flavor, and myself all walked over to a little bowling alley right next to the hotel and got the VIP treatment. That's really pretty much it. Nothing too exciting in ol' Aberdeen, although I did take a really long walk around the town by myself and check out some old cathedrals and parks.
The next day the show went over well other than Flav accidentally calling them Glasgow, which they did not appreciate very much. Afterwards we just laid low at the hotel and got ready to travel to Glasgow the next day.
We got up pretty early and traveled to Glasgow. When we arrived, we had very little time to throw our bags in our room and be back down to the van to head to the venue. This was the name of the game at pretty much all of the shows when we didn't have a day off. The show was great and afterwards Davy DMX had an after party to spin at. Lord was supposed to have a party that night and it ended up getting canceled because of a miscommunication. It caused a little bit of drama, but at the end of the day it got smoothed over.
Almost everyone in the whole crew ended up coming to Davy's after party. This was the only time it happened on the whole tour. They had put on the flyer that Chuck and Flav would be there. Which is why Lord's gig got canceled. I guess the promoter was thinking, 'If Chuck and Flavor are at that event, who's going to show up at mine?'
We got to the venue and smoked a bit with a really nice bearded Scottish man who got a little too stoned and didn't know when to stop talking. He won the award for holding me hostage in a conversation the longest on the whole tour. Once Davy started playing, we all went down to the stage area and started passing two mics around amongst all of the MCs while Davy was throwing down old school funky tracks.
Eventually, I think everyone in the whole damn crew had gotten their turn on the mic. T Bone was wasted in traditional fashion and had gotten ahold of a mic. He ended up slumped over in the corner behind Davy attempting to spit for at least 15 minutes. No one could see him though, so we were all wondering where the drunken rambling into the mic was coming from. He kept saying 'Davy DMX bitches!!! Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy, Davy.' To be honest it was one of the funnier things that happened on tour.
It was Khari's birthday and he was in rare form. Even he at one point grabbed the mic and had some words. It was great. Such a legendary night. The crowd loved it.
The only thing I knew about Nottingham before we arrived there is that it is the origin of Robin Hood. Eric has a fascination with Robin Hood, so he had mentioned it to me. Chuck had an in store signing at Rough Trade, so Pop, James, and myself went along with him. It was awesome to see all the fans and the rare old PE records they had to get signed. I also met some local MCs and DJs that I hope to stay in touch with.
After the show, I looked for some live music to go check out in hopes there might be something cool going on. I found a punk rock show at a really small club around the corner, but they were finishing right as I walked in. So, I went right back to the hotel and had drinks with T Bone, Eric, and Lord.
The bartender was humorous to me. I bar tend myself, so I have perspective. I'm a pretty laid back person about it though. I definitely don't take myself too seriously. I think its an awesome culture and its really fun to make drinks and appreciate them. But like any other culture people quite frequently blow smoke up their own ass and come off pompous and pretentious.
This dude wasn't that bad, but he just did several things that seemed a little over the top to me. I asked him to make me a whisky cocktail hoping he would give me something I had never tried before. He told me he was going to make me a 'gentleman's cocktail' and started making an Old Fashioned, which I was totally cool with. I wanted something a little more outside of the box, but that'll do just fine. Then the guy proceeded to stir my drink for no less than 2 to 3 whole minutes. He also straw tested it 5 times.
For those not familiar with the term 'straw test' its when you put one end of a straw in a drink and place your finger on the other end creating the suction to extract just a tiny bit of the drink out without contaminating it. Its a classic bartender move to test a drink before you serve it. This is something I do quite often, but usually its done when making a drink I'm not as familiar with and I usually use my spoon and taste it off of the back of my hand. Aside from the fact that the dude just wasted 5 straws, he also just had a gulp of my drink.
At the end of the day, the drink was good enough for me. I'm about as easy to please as a connoisseur can be. It just would've taken half as much time and a quarter as much flare to make it how I like it. Then he made us shots with a half of a flaming lime on top. It was cool to see a glimpse of the bar culture there.
The next destination was Newcastle Upon Tyne. We had a night off there before our next show. This is our bus driver Paul's hometown. For whatever reason people from this area refer to themselves as Geordies and people from the Sunderland south of Newcastle are called Mackems. They have a long standing rivalry and I'm not sure what it stems from, maybe football.
The town is absolutely beautiful! Our hotel was on the River Tyne and a close walk to several different tall bridges. The main downtown area was right across the river. After we got settled into the hotel Lou, Eric, and myself walked over to try to find a cash machine and some food. We ended up finding a huge street fair with tons of little booths selling food, clothes, jewelry, etc. I got some tasty paella and found an ATM.
On the way back to the hotel we stumbled upon a little coffee shop/record store called Long Play. It was a cool little place and the people were super hospitable. We put them on the guest list and they hooked me up on some 45s. They had a picture disk copy of Bring the Noise featuring Anthrax and Public Enemy and I got it signed for them.
There was a concert venue across the street from there and a band called Reverend and the Makers was on that night. It seemed to be the best option especially because it was a stones throw from the hotel. So, I went back and got dressed and ready to go.
When I got back down to the lobby I ran into Paulette, Mike, and Flav. I chatted with them for a minute and Flavor offered me a drink. I got an Achentoshan on the rocks and then we went up to his room to smoke a joint. He didn't seem bothered by the no smoking rule at all. 'What are they going to do?' He said. 'Give me a fine and suck my d**k! I'll smoke in my room if I want to. Word up!'
After that, we went to the show. At first I thought it would just be the 2 of us. He decided he would go with me and made it clear that he was going to hang out with me. 'We haven't kicked it one on one yet G, so I'm fuckin with you tonight. Let's go check this band out.' Sammy, Lou, and Eric ended up joining us as well.
Reverend and the Makers are from Sheffield, UK. Both they and The Arctic Monkeys come out of the local scene there, but the Monkeys have had more success as of late. It was a kind of similar style of music though: dancy Brit Pop/Rock. The show was fun and naturally they let us in for free and gave us a round of drinks when they realized Flavor was in the house.
He ended the show by taking his acoustic guitar outside of the venue by the river and loudly shouting one last song. Afterwards the rest of the crew headed back to the hotel and I stayed out by myself for a while and had some drinks with the locals.
I found out the next day that back at the hotel T Bone was getting kicked out. He and Khari had been hanging out in Bone's room for a while. Khari was unaware that he had already gotten a noise complaint and was playing the music too loud while Bone was in the bathroom. Then 2 hotel employees came to the door. Khari answered the door and started to let them in as they barged into the room. Then T Bone cursed them out for trying to barge in his room and they were really offended. They claimed they were 'scared'.
So, they told him he had to exit the premises immediately and he had to figure out a way to check back in through a fake name. Funny thing is that we still had to stay there one more night, so the whole time we were there T Bone had to had from the concierge.
I woke up early and had breakfast, then set off on a journey around town on foot. I took pictures of old buildings and walked through a nearby park. On the way back I came across a different bridge than the time before. There were hundreds of locks latched around the fence in certain areas. They are referred to as lover's locks and all had names of couples written on them. I had never seen this before.
That night after the show Lord had a connection at a local club called Tup Tup Palace. The place was pretty bouji and the DJ was churning out the top 40 hits, which is not really my cup of tea, but because of the VIP treatment we received it ended up being a pretty damn good time. I was surprised the entire trip at how similar the culture is to America. If I were to walk into any one of the clubs we went to on the trip and couldn't hear the people speaking I could've easily assumed we were in the states.
After the club, everyone piled in a taxi to head back to the hotel, but Eric and I walked back across one of the bridges. When we got back to the hotel, we were approached by the concierge at the door who reminded us to be quiet when we went upstairs. I think they were still reeling from the T Bone experience the night before, so anyone who looked like they belonged with our group got a reminder at the door to shut the hell up. It was pretty funny.
We left the next morning and headed to Manchester. On the way out of town Flavor insisted we stop at the Angel of the North, which is a massive statue on the countryside near Newcastle. We took group pictures there and then jumped right back on the bus.
When we got to Manchester, myself and Davy took a walk to go get some lunch. We had forgotten that it was Black Friday and we were walking through what seemed to be the main shopping area in town. The streets were swarming with customers looking for Christmas gifts. I thought it was funny that Black Friday was such an event considering that they don't celebrate Thanksgiving.
We walked into some mall food court type of place and Davy was about to opt for the ol' McDonald's fish filet when I talked him into getting the fish and chips next door. I can't recall the name of the place, but it actually ended up being the best fish and chips I had on the whole tour and in a mall food court none the less. Davy thanked me for the suggestion.
We talked about the PE machine and his perspective on the group and the operation. It was awesome to get the insight. On the way back we saw two young people on the street busking. They had a small p.a. with some decent speakers and were rapping and beat boxing. I believe it was my first time seeing hip hop buskers.
Before the show Chuck, James, and I went to a speaking engagement Chuck had at a local music school. I had no idea on the way there that he intended for all of us to be on stage and for us all to get a chance to speak. I love these kinds of events though. I talk too much as it is, so I love the chance to talk to people about my experience with music. I felt like it was fitting in this circumstance too. We were talking to a room full of kids who were aspiring musicians or music industry people. If they weren't artists they were learning engineering, artist management, tour management, etc.
It seemed as if my perspective was appreciated, especially because it is so different than Chuck's. Not only did he come up in an era that is starkly different from the music industry of today, but he also didn't have intentions of being a musician his whole life. He was much more interested in sports and radio. My story is pretty much the exact opposite. I've been pursuing this for a long time now and that is a much more common story. Not everyone becomes a cultural icon after releasing two albums like Chuck. It was an honor and a really awesome experience to share the stage with Chuck in a different capacity than usual.
That night after the show we rallied together to go out on the town yet again. I kept considering staying at the hotel and just getting some chill time, but I thought that I had very little time in all of these places and I wanted to experience as much as possible. So, we went on the recommendation of one of the guys who was hanging out with us that night.
I forget the guy's name, but the first club we went to was called Aura. Davy, T Bone, Lord, Eric, Lou, Chris (an old PE friend), the guy, and myself all went to this place and when we walked in there about three other people in the building including the DJ. We figured that Manchester was quite a bit larger of a city than Newcastle, so maybe there would be a more interesting night life, but after going in to about 3 or 4 different clubs and being denied because of hats or deciding to leave because it was a ghost town we gave in to the fact that this night would not live up to the previous one.
There was something about the people we ended up hanging with that night. None of them knew how to act. I don't really know how to describe it more than that. It was just a case of people wearing out their welcome and overstepping boundaries over and over and over again. It became comical after a while.
We finally found a place we were willing to hang out for a while and soon after we got there a young guy decided to buy us a bottle of tequila. He then proceeded to tell us that he spent his Christmas money on it and was really excited about drinking it with us and especially getting pictures of the whole process. Another guy was on a mission to get a picture with every combination of members of our crew. It was ridiculous. He probably took 40 selfies with us. Dude... calm down.
In the cab on the way back to the hotel, Davy had us dying laughing with a story from the club. I won't go in to too much detail, but it ended with him blowing his ass dry with a hand dryer in the bathroom. I think it was the hardest I've laughed all year. Even with the annoying people and mediocre clubs, we managed to have a damn good time.
I woke up on a mission to get some decent wine to take with me. I had been searching online to find several things in most of the towns we had been. Those things are record shops, quality wine shops, interesting restaurants, historical sites, decent music venues, and drum and bass clubs. In Manchester, I finally found a wine shop that was worthy enough and close enough to the hotel for me to have time to pay a visit. It was called Hanging Ditch Wine Merchant. They had a great little selection and I got some tasty stuff from Germany, France, and Lebanon. I made it in just enough time to speed walk back to the hotel and jump right on the bus to head to Sheffield.
On the short bus ride I finally found a solid Drum and Bass night to attend. I tweeted to the venue called Plug that I would be trying to come through with some of the Public Enemy crew after tonight's show. They tweeted back and told me that they would put us on the guest list. Just that easy!! Man, its pretty awesome being associated with PE.
So, after the show that night Lord and myself took a cab over to Plug and watched Wilkinson of Ram Recordings play a DJ set. The club had an excellent sound system and the bass rattled our insides for a few hours. It was exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't familiar with Wilkinson before this trip because I'm a bit out of the loop in the DnB world, but he was top notch.
The next day we headed to Cardiff, Wales for a Public Enemy headlining show. When we first got to town I tried to go pay a visit to a record store with the little bit of time we had, but the one I found was not exactly what I was looking for. So, I went back to the hotel and we headed to the venue. Our artist friend Darren Holtom met up with us when we arrived. Darren is an incredible artist that does work for Chuck and PE and is also an extremely nice dude.
He filmed my set for me and it went over really well. I performed to a packed house and I got a great response. Then PE took the stage. It was hotter than a sauna in the building until halfway through the set when they decided to turn on the air conditioning. It was a stark contrast to the cold rainy weather outside. I couldn't believe they waited so long to turn on the AC.
Towards the beginning of their set some drunken idiot threw a cup on stage. At this point I had gone up to the balcony to try to get a different view of the stage. For most of the shows I stood side stage and took pictures, but I took the liberty on many nights to go experience the show from the crowd. The sound is always much more proper out there and I wanted to be able to analyze the show from all perspectives.
Right as I made my way to the edge of the balcony to get a clear view I noticed that something was awry. T Bone had jumped up from the drum set and Lord had left the turntables. I thought a full blown fight had broken out and it wasn't far from it. Eric was the only one who had actually seen the guy throw the cup and knew who it was. So, he rushed out in to the crowd immediately and was able to grab the guy and get him kicked out without roughing him up too bad. He got lucky.
Chuck went on a bit of a tirade about the dude. He was making fun of him saying he was way too old to be doing some shit like that. Then Flavor stepped in and did the same, but he was a little more aggressive about it. 'I'm a nice guy. I'm a real nice guy, but if I see you throw some shit at the stage I'm gonna come out there and beat yo muthafuckin ass!!!' The crowd cheered. It was pretty funny. Chuck then said 'Well, I'm not gonna go that far.' Flav said 'I will!!'
After the show that night we had to leave for Ireland at 1:30 AM. We had to drive the bus on to a ferry and take it over to Dublin. But before we left Eric and I went to burn one and snap a few photos of a nearby castle. We had just enough time to walk there, see it, and make it back just in time to grab our things and jump on the bus before it pulled off.
Before I left for this trip my mom told me to buy some dramamine knowing that I get motion sickness sometimes. I didn't do it because I thought I wouldn't really need it. I didn't realize that seasickness would be an issue at some point. She was right. I definitely needed that stuff. Luckily I made it across without vomiting, but just by the skin of my teeth.