Rubbing The Road: We Love LA (And Other Cities Too)

May 27, 2006

For the fifth installment (go and get familiar!) of A-Trak and The Rub's tour diary from their smash Sunglasses Is A Must jaunt (presented by us, motherbatches!) deejay supremo Cosmo Baker hit us with some words and flix as only Cosmo can. After the jump, get on his level.

Greetings and salutations, citizens of the blogosphere. Last I left you, we were on our way back from Canada. We made it though the Pacific Northwest safe and sound. While those guys went and did their thug thizzle at the Nike Campus I flew down to The Bay to spend some time with wifey and our extended family. That’s a real nice thing, considering we’ve been in a van and all the days and cities and are blending together with no way to distinguish them, so some reality time was chuuuch. Also while I was sleeping in a queen-sized bed after lamping in the hot tub, them three dudes were driving around in the darkness until 6 AM to find a one-bedroom fleabag hotel room. Hah! Take your custom laser bullshit, sons, I’m living like a king. The other cats might call this a case of J.O.S.E. but never that.

All in all, we’ve become accustomed to spending lots of time in the van together. Sometimes it’s civilized; sometimes it’s absolute bedlam. Scooter has mastered the art of driving while text messaging, and he keeps us on our toes by not allowing us to sleep nor eat. And somehow, I’ve still managed to gain weight.

Surprisingly enough this tour isn’t quite on that Hammer Of The Gods level people might assume it would be. Think more along the lines of Whoopee Cushions and slingshots. So far our journey has been strictly PG-13. The only reason why it’s not rated G is because of the occasional violent content (when A-Trak smacked his face with the car door while opening it) and the half naked motel parking lot sunbathing.

We all reconvened in San Francisco, ready to “GO IN” and officially finish the first half of our journey. We were all kind of nervous about the Bay Area date because the venue had been changed twice already, and we were unsure as to how that would affect the turnout of the night. Our fears proved unfounded, as The Yay Massive came out to support us at the Boca show.

Among those in attendance were Serg & Stef, DJ B-Cause, Aesop Rock, Alison from Kork, Morse Code & Vin Sol, those crazy Chromeo dudes, Major Taylor, Justin & Dan of Jai Lai Savant (who have been shadowing us all the way down from Seattle – more on that later) Mark from Future Primitive, and my lovely wifey Tova and the rest of her family. It was a hella good time. Plus, they had the best fruit plate of the tour by far (check the rider, kid!)

The next day we hit Interstate 5 and hoofed it down to The City of The Angels, psyched for our big show at El Rey. After a few hours of sound check and then trying to track down some last minute sushi, all the while being followed around by MTV cameras, we started the show. El Rey is like this huge theatre and it’s very imposing. I mean Stephen Segal was playing there a few days after us, so we sure had our work cut out for us. However we all got our rhythm and did our damn thing.

We were joined by performances from Yahtzee master DJ Abilities, Dudley Perkins, Aloe “I drive like I live in Beirut” Blacc (who just released his super-dope album Shine Through that is seriously burning up my iPod) and the Wild Bunch themselves: Dave 1, P-Thugg and Adrian on drums … the one and only Chromeo. Everyone was on point this night and all the performances were tight, but the Canadian Lotharios stole the show with their high-octane electro overload. They truly had all the swoon units in the front row asking for more.

The performance was capped off with us playing some Baltimore club with Aloe and P-Thugg leading some ladies in a synchronized dance-off. In the end, it was a really great show. One of the things we’ve been trying to do is to take performance- based aspects of turntablism, combine them with party rocking DJ sets, and do the shows at live music “stage” venues. So we felt like we accomplished something big with the success of the LA show.

Plus we got a chance to run into our friends The Pase Rock, Z-Trip, GLC, Natural, Karriem Riggins, Jason Stewart from Cinespace, DJ Pubes, Mike from Obey, Joi Starr, Ben and Teal from Biz 3 and more. And of course the best thing about performing in LA? Hitting up the late night taco truck after load-out.

The next day we had our Turntable Lab in-store (this was to be done AFTER sneaker shopping of course.) The LA Lab, which is quickly turning into a place “to be seen”, was packed and we quickly got to business. It’s always fun doing these chill, low-key events. I got a chance to poly with James Blu Jemz and see my man DJ AM aka Iced Down Medallions (who I’ve known since we were about 10 years old). Lupe Fiasco and his crew came through, as did Eli 173 and the Brown Babies LA posse. Aside from a faulty left turntable (?!?) everything went off without a hitch. Trizzle signed some autographs and the Lab staff stayed vigilant watching over all of us. We then departed to beautiful San Diego, set to a soundtrack of Above The Law, early Thin Lizzy and Linda Lewis’ “Old Smokey.”

SD was a last minute addition to our schedule. We were all pretty exhausted by now but A-Trak was particularly anxious to get there—you see, the dude has a pretty healthy obsession with the movie Anchorman, so much so that not only have we watched the DVD several times in our van, but also somehow dialogue from the film has been appropriated into our stage show. I think A-Trak wanted to test out our witty repartee in the Mecca. The show was okay. My man Cros One put it together. He does a lot of good events down there. There’s something I just don’t get about San Diegoans or San Diegoites, or whatever they’re called. A gang of them will come out to the club and spin on their heads during the warm-up set, and then leave halfway through A-Trak’s set. Also, there was one group of kids who, while Ayres and I were spinning, couldn’t stop staring at A-Trak while he was just sitting on the floor reorganizing his records. Poor dude had to hide behind the turntables. I’ve named this breed “turntable zombies.”

I guess that’s the thing about a lot of these smaller markets. One never knows what you’re going to get. Case in point: just as San Diego was kind of tepid, we headed east into the desert to Tempe and that ended up being one of the best shows of the entire tour. After eating at a place called the Chuck Box and then going to the internet café to get our MySpace game in check (crucial) we went and ripped the roof off of the Big Fish Pub, a venue that’s in a little strip mall.

One of the things about the show that we have is that we put the same amount of energy into the smaller stages as we do the big ones. And with the smaller markets, the folks that come out are always super appreciative, and that energy goes a long way.

So us three dudes were super focused, so much so that at the end of the night I graced the crowd with my rendition of Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love” and it went over in a major way. I’m inspired! And now that we’re heading to Texas, I’m going to have to step my rap game up son. Big things in the 2006! Holler Black!

Posted: May 27, 2006
Rubbing The Road: We Love LA (And Other Cities Too)