Saturday, October 09, 2010

The XX Afterparty US tour...

Atlanta The XX live

Full set of photos from the tour here.

So we're back from a week in the US playing The XX tour Afterparties. I'd hope to do something like that again but if I never do, it was amazing to have at least done one once. I want to publically thank The XX and Young Turks.

So we played four cities, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta but if I'm honest New York still kills it. Rolling through the city in a yellow cab and seeing the Manhattan skyline appear... too much.

Gotta shout out the Big Apple's greatest tour guide Seckle. My love for his city would not be the same without his knowledge, boundless enthusiasm and ability to turn up at 10am the next day with a hangover ready for more exploring.

Reflections in a cab, Brooklyn bound to Dave Q's...

As a weird aside, the second time [the first is here] I came to NYC I had this strange series of mentions of Suleiman the Magnificent - reading about him in a book on the way there, seeing his signature in the Met and then on a CD in Brooklyn. Well, strange as it sounds, he came up again in conversation with a friend of Dave Q's. You couldn't make it up...

I also spent the week reading parts of "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond which seeks to understand why some nations became dominant world players while others did not, despite us all being biologically the same. Or put another way why were 168 Spanish conquistadors able to defeat 80,000 Incas, rather than seeing the Inca invade Madrid. Well worth £6.46 of your English pounds.

NYC Love lights 2

The gig itself was a total joy, 70 mins of 130 and 140, lots of our new material, even some we'd never played out before. It was everything we hoped going back to Love would be, one of those nights when every mix just locks and locks for days... a sweet spot, at least from our vantage point anyway. "Mickey Pearce? He'd drop his own grandmuvva...!" Haha, watch out for the studio mix we've done for the tour, dropping via Fader/Converse/The XX soon.

The night rolled on and after an ale or two I really began to feel what a shame it was all those jungle records Dusk has carried 4000 miles were not getting used. So somehow I talked the final DJ into it, who turned out to be the son of either Bobby or Steve from, erm, Bobby n Steve [UK US house and garage legends]. With in minutes all of the yout were witnessing the moment babylon should FAAAAAAALL. Hmm, that was fun.

NYC analogue Love

After an amazing weekend the tour moved to Boston, quite a contrast from NYC. We played in a bar in Cambridge and it was great to see (quite possibly my favourite blogger) Wayne Marshall, who had some South American friends with him... so new connections were made. Shout out to the people we met at the gig including the Sub FM gang and the guy who'd last seen us DJ in Haarlem, Holland.

Boston Cooly G

Boston towers

5 flights in 7 days... it came home to us when we were only in Philly for less than 15 hours, cruising in and out past some crazy heavy industry. We discovered the delights of Wawa's "deli" [quote marks are for European readers' meaning of the word delicatessen, for US readers Wawa's is a deli ;-) ] met up with Starkey and Dev79 and played Voyeur's, a sleazy club on a rainy Monday night.


Can anyone else imagine Scorcher singing "Dark Knight" from the top of this building?

Jamie XX DJing at Voyeur, Philly

Philly Voyeur club

Anyway the venue had character, all disco mirrors, smoking in the club and some slutty girl in ripped tights doing Pineapple studios dance moves into the mirror with her gay friend... as you do. Dusk ended with Teddy and Tempa T's "Boy Off Da Ting" which was pretty funny. Chatted to Starkey, Dev79 and after the gig Jamie XX a bit but when the next DJ played EMF "Unbelievable," well... it was time to bounce.

Does anyone know what all the heavy industry you can see from the highway between the airport and the centre of Philly makes?

Atlanta airport troops

So on to our final destination Atlanta, where like New York we had a little more time to take the place in. Lots of military at the airport wearing uniforms, something that's pretty alien for someone British. I kept looking at their shoulder badges to see what division they're in. Atlanta has the world's busiest airport you know?

Certainly one thing was for sure, ATL is sprrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaad ouuuuuuuut. We went to Two Urban Licks for dinner - which I highly recommend - and quickly realised this place is going to cane us in taxi fares.

There was only one thing for it: hire a 12 seater van...

Atlanta Keysound 12 seater bus 2

OK OK so it was the only vehicle the rental place had left but it turned out to be pretty funny and, against all expectations, really easy to drive. The power steering for example, was so light you could steer it with one finger... not that I was, Officer.

Atlanta Keysound 12 seater bus

It had 27 miles on the clock and a slightly inappropriate licence plate - as you can see from the photo above - given it was taken in the car park of the Martin Luther King museum. Thankfully no one took offence.

Atlanta MLK

I don’t think my ramblings here will remotely do the MLJ centre justice but it was a very moving experience. Shocking too: the shots of white villagers and their children smiling as a black man hangs lynched beggars belief. So did the 1960s videoed views of white, pro-segregation people: so direct and blatant in their racism. So recently too.

Atlanta - if the music business drys up...

We spent the rest of the day cruising around in the Venga Keysound Bus, hitting two malls of very differing styles (Underground and Lennox), found the Terry University and wondered if they had courses such as Infidelity 101 and its Unfortunate Side Effects, Dealing with Your Dad the Dealer and How to Bottle a Bouncer. Ahem... probably not. And to and from said mall's we passed the above sign. If the music all goes to pot perhaps there's a side career yet for me and Dan [Dusk].

Atlanta The view from the Stage

Atlanta MLQ club

After seeing The XX's live show at the Tabernacle, we headed to MJQ's for the afterparty, meeting Distal and Shrtstck, the latter being the guy who created the Brostep forum. Dusk and I have never quite recovered from the comedy gold that were the users name Broseph Frizel etc and Shrtstck described what happened when he actually encountered Rusko backstage at a gig...

Rusko: "So, am I brostep them?"
Shrtstck: "Only if I can call you Ruskbro..."

Now if I was making silly money for bookings and was working with Britney, I probably wouldnt be worrying about it too much but there you go.

The club itself might have looked like an entrance to a shed (above) but felt really underground, all dark and messed up, rammed with people. Jamie XX played a great set, variants of 2step old and new, we did our thing and rolled home after a minor incident with a cab driver with creative accountancy "skills." "Look mate, you can't sue me I'm leaving the country in 12 hours..."

And leave the country we did. Until next time US of A, until next time. Bromeo done...

NYC Still alive


Owen Renn (shortstack) said...

Honored to have met you all and catch as much of your set as I was physically capable of. Glad you all had a good time in Atlanta and the rest of your time here.

Hopefully we cross paths again soon, keep in touch!

@witts_bntl said...

Big up Blackdown, always a great read

PRB said...

Unfortunately I couldn't catch you guys while you were Philly. Had no idea you were playing the XX afterparty but wouldn't have been able to make it even if I did.

The highway between the Philly airport and center city is I-95 and some of the industry you see there is shipping-related and Sunoco has a big oil refinery down there. There's also the converted Navy Yard turned office park (a notable tenant is Urban Outfitters HQ). The sports complex is also there, which is pretty hard to miss. The rest of what you would've seen on your drive is South Philly.

Unknown said...

The heavy industries in South Philly are oil refineries and the Aker Shipyard which builds container ships and oil tankers. The shipyard built ships for the US Navy from 1871 to 1971.

martelo said...

brilliant read. sounds dope, looking forward to that mix!!

Anonymous said...

looks great... wish i was there!

grievous angel said...

fantastic story!