Around the World with A-Trak: New Years in Australia

ATAus06Jan2011Sydney1099

Storytime! I went to Australia for a two week tour around the New Year and it was an action-packed adventure. I was thinking of recounting it all in iambic pentameter for dramatic purposes, but I couldn’t even come up with one lousy stanza. So here is the story as I’d normally tell it.


I spent the Christmas holidays in New York and had a flight on the 27th to kick off the tour. Slight problem: on December 27th New York was hit with a massive blizzard, allegedly the 4th funkiest in all its history, or something like that. Even as a Canadian I was impressed. 20 inches of snow, serious winds, all things that are not friendly to air travel. My brother was also going to Australia for a tour at the same time as me, although we weren’t doing the same shows. His flight was earlier than mine and luckily he made it out just before the storm hit. My flight was canceled. Then every flight was canceled… for many days ahead. It suddenly got very grim. Literally 1,000 flights got nixed that day in the New York region. I was informed that the only way I could make it out to Australia, aside from waiting 3 days and missing a bunch of shows, was to take a train to Washington DC the next morning, since it wasn’t hit by the storm, and fly out of there. I accepted.

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Thus my departure was pushed back by a day, so instead of getting to Australia the day before my first show to rest and get used to the time zone, I was now arriving on the day of action. I took a very early train to DC, allowing some time for snow delays as we left Gotham. I made the excellent decision of listening to the first 3 Mobb Deep albums in consecutive order during my travels, which was very wise, I must say. I flew from DC to LA. I remember getting to the gate at LAX, boarding the Melbourne flight and having the following thoughts: 1) whoa, it’s nighttime, I’ve already been traveling for a full day and I’m still in America; 2) but can you believe it, I’m actually boarding a flight to Australia, finally; and 3) hey, how come no one told me this plane was making a stop in Sydney before Melbourne??? And just like that, I flew across the Pacific and walked off the plane in Sydney. This is when the delirium started setting in. And to be honest, it never really went away for the rest of the tour. I went to find the Star Alliance lounge and partook in a little bird bath. Then I flew to Melbourne. But that wasn’t the end of the road yet. I was actually headed to Hobart, Tasmania, where the first show was scheduled. At the Melbourne airport I had a very cruel 5 hour layover. The only semblance of a silver lining was stumbling upon a wine tasting at one of the gates. Finally I got on that last plane and arrived in Hobart, exactly 40 hours after leaving New York.

I was playing Falls Festival, which I actually played 2 years ago when I did a similar tour at the same time of year which was also chronicled pon di blog and also started with tremendous travel woes. The first show was alright, I was in such a daze that I don’t remember much of it, just that it was surprisingly cold for what was supposed to be summer. The next morning I really felt like crap-o-la. Our bodies are just not designed for that kind of wear-and-tear. It was also December 31st and that weirded me out—I did not feel like it was New Year’s Eve at all! That night’s show was in Lorne, a beach town 2 hours outside of Melbourne. So we flew to Melbourne and a driver took us to Lorne. That drive was so beautiful along the coast, it single-handedly turned my mood around and I was now in great spirits. Still, ringing in the new year felt strange that night. It was a great show, the huge crowd was a real pleasure to play for, so much so that I even extended my set. But while we were celebrating in Australia, it was still just the morning back home. So you want to send your wishes to all your friends, but if you do they’re like “uh dude it’s not New Year’s yet”. In fact my phone stopped working when I got to the festival, so I couldn’t even write to my friends who were in Australia! When the clock struck midnight, Joan Jett was performing on the main stage. She actually did the countdown twice, I’m not sure if the first one was a false alarm or if she was trying to get the crowd more riled up, but whatever it was, it also added to the strangeness of the evening.

On the morning of the 1st, we made our way to Sydney for Field Day festival. The Chromeo guys were actually on the same flight as me, except they took a helicopter to get to the airport. That’s when it started sinking in that we were all on the most insane travel routings imaginable. Field Day is always a great gig. That’s typically where all the DJs and bands who are out in Australia at the same time get to reconvene for the first time. I had 2 sets that day: a very rare Duck Sauce performance, as well as a solo “hip hop set” on another stage. Duck Sauce was recently certified Platinum out there so they presented us with our plaques on camera. We brought out the giant inflatable duck. After those 2 sets, my proverbial tank was on Empty.

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POSTED January 31, 2011 2:00PM IN AROUND THE WORLD WITH A-TRAK Comments (4) TAGS: , , ,

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