MENU GP on tour in Australia

GP on tour in Australia

March 8, 2010

So GP just sent me this summary of his Aussie/NZ tour, rambled in his own inimitable style with little or no attention paid to punctuation. Thanks. Didn’t send me a picture so I found this rather nice one of a kangaroo. Pimp beach too – wonder if GP went there?

Last day today in Adelaide. Bizarre but fascinating town full of spiders and mad cab drivers… last time I was here was 15 years ago. I bumped into Carl Cox that day and played in The Synagogue which has now been renamed The Church… he was playing somewhere else in town that night and took all the people with him – I remember playing to about 15 crystal meths freaks…(possibly the worst gig of my life…)

No clubs tonight though – just my second night at Womad… my Australian agent/ tour manager/ promoter… James reckons last night was my best performance of the tour… I don’t… but then again he drank all my rider… again!

I’m really looking forward to coming home now though – I think 20 days is my limit before I start really missing my family and friends – skype is cool but in the end the human touch evades… strangely enough I keep wanting to go to Normandy for some reason – maybe cos all my wines are there – but the calm and chill of the place is calling me more than ever… its a place I can truly relax and breath the air.

Anyway, it’s been a great tour – made some fantastic new friends – almost missed 3 flights – and the shows have all been memorable which is a first in OZ for me. Starting off in Jakarta where I was picked up as I got off the plane – thought I was getting busted by plain clothes… loved the vibe of the city there – got well looked after and tempted by Bali before remembering that I was booked into some plush guest houses on Waihike… (see Cian’s blog)

Auckland’s been missing from my last couple of trips out here and I was determined to return – specially
after hearing so many great tracks from the likes of Julian Dyne and Electric Wire Hustle recently – I did a thing
on gig day for Red Bull where my close friend Wendy Douglas ( now resident here) threw a few random
questions at me to a group of around 30 music types… I don’t normally do these things but there you go, it
was cool… and the British Council who’d helped get me out there asked so why not… it was good to chat to a few of the local agitators but didn’t quite realize that the Serato staff were in the house when I made my slightly
old school comments about their technology! Haha.

The gig was great even though the monitors weren’t and the older crowd may have been a little
miffed when I kicked off with half an hour of Pangea, Scuba, Kode9 and Mala but if they stayed they certainly
got the full spectrum – which is the most challenging thing I have to do as a DJ – how do I keep people who want to hear me play Samba and Rare Groove enticed when I also need to drop everything from Cumbia to techno – maybe I should do separate gigs for different styles!

I don’t know – it certainly makes for ‘eclectic’ sets which I feel people are generally getting more into these days.
The following morning I made my trip to the excellent Conch Records for coffee and to pick up more local tunes as
well as the new Numero release – all funk gospel – heavy – actually left it real tight for my flight to Perth – thank
God for my ‘gold’ card!

Perth’s a 7 hour flight back the way I’d come – so watch minus 5 – and it was tight but got out just in time to go straight to my gig in Fremantle supporting Fat Freddy’s Drop – it was a perfect setting – outdoors and 90 mins to get the crowd hyped… took a moment to settle but in the end I more or less had em! Osunlade’s ‘Break It Down’ sounded particularly good as the sun was setting… Fat Freddy’s were superb – I’d seen them last year in Sydney and thought they were good but here they were at their best… and the slow housey Basic Channel ish stuff took it to new heights – I was really impressed and ended up drinking too many alcoholic variations backstage to celebrate Fitchie’s birthday…

Just in time to get depressed during the Stoke match as Aaron Ramsey got lynched… I was mad and so emotional – specially when Cesc stepped up to make it 2 – 1… the whole hotel must have woken up!

I moved to Perth the next day where I saw an extraordinary performance from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – how good have they got?? It was great to meet ‘em and talk about their dad Philip Cohran and suggested they do a version of ‘The Minstrel’ on a future release… Hopefully they’ll be in Sete for the WF in July.

Sydney next – I love this town – don’t know why but it’s got everything – they say Melbourne’s more cultural etc but whether you’re in Surry Hills or Kings Cross or the City, this place has so much to offer… I met up with a brilliant character called Toon while I was here – we did his radio show on Eastside radio, he gave me some killer tracks from an old Australian artist called Charles Hull and we had an exceptional meal at Rockpool where they have one of the most remarkable wine lists ever – it was phenomenal – I took advantage of the tour of the cellar to dream about the 1946 Romanee Conti!

I also went to the Martin (OZ magazine) Sharp exhibition which was eye opening – specially the fascination he has with the Lunar Park tragedy in the 70′s when 7 people died in the Ghost Train and the ‘cover up’ that followed… I did other radio shows including FBI Radio and a show with Hugh on a station I can’t remember apart from the fact
that the next presenter was having a nervous breakdown preparing for her show that followed ours!

Yeh some great days off – even made it to Bondai for a quick swim and of course returned to some cool little stores for my music hit – Budgen’s book store a particular fave where I picked up the spoken word album that Bluey from Incognito’s dad had recorded in Mauritius back in the day – Bluey had always said his dad was a poet and bingo – I find the record – deep!!!

I got to do a few runs and also saw a great Nina Simone tribute concert at the Opera House – her daughter Simone, Liz Wright, Patti Austin and the highlight Dianne Reeves doing a terrific job of celebrating the music of one of the true greats… yeh, Sydney was dope and my gig was a success too – it was on the university campus in the Manning Hall but even though that sounded odd it really worked as they had a great sound and of course I had the pleasure of playing with Antibalas hot from their success on Broadway doing the Fela play – they were killer and I played either side – early doors old school retro type set and afterwards a straight up throwdown -
800 people came out on a Thursday which was amazing and not a student amongst em! Lots of expats – but the right sort – I even had Gordon from Scotland turn up with a bag of rare Ozzy Jazz for sale – I love it when a man with a bag full of vinyl oddities approaches me in a club….it was great to see Steve Spacek and Katalyst in the house too – they gave me their new project which is called Space Invadas – watch for a track called ‘Imaginist’ – I’ll play it this week on the radio…

And then it was the place I’ve never had a great gig – they’ve been alright but never out of this world… would it change this time….no, not really! The day started badly as after the Sydney show I ended up at some bloke called Jimmy the Hand’s house – don’t ask! Well I soon got out but it was too late to make my am flight so took the 4pm instead – it meant missing Ennio Styles’ radio show (but I did it by phone…) and it meant not getting much time before playing at the Esplanade in St Kilda – unfortunately the venue wasn’t the best – a bit like playing a free gig at a Walkabouts’ in Camden so there were a fair amount of pissed up idiots , however there were some great people there too thank God and once I’d got over the venue and the last of the ‘wanderers’ had gone home it made the last hour really good – thanks to Ennio for the CD he passed me too… I met an old friend and ‘Brownswood’ legend John Bailey who looked a new man since I last saw him in 2009… he was ‘buff’ having gone from sloppy drinker/clubber to 5 days a week personal trainer – clear eyed renaissance man – he actually inspired me, although not enough to get up early the next morning and run round the Melbourne formula 1 circuit! Instead we ended up in northside records marvelling over their Polish jazz section… yeh deep, whilst drinking a picolo coffee of course – I also purchased a copy of the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra album – not a bad little effort! And then we got lost on the way to the airport, just made it and then got stuck on the runway as the most violent thunderstorm in a century attacked Melbourne – lemon-sized hailstones – the plane was
shaking so hard at take off I thought we were doomed and we weren’t even airbound!

Finally I made it into Adelaide for the final sprint – 2 nights at Womadelaide – incredible but English weather meant I couldn’t wear my snazzy Cuban white slip ons….oh well! Nikodemus was there, the Hypnotics were there and I met Francis Falceto from the Ethiopiques compilation series which made my day – well almost… the best bit was on the second night having a couple of thousand jumping around to Orchestra Polyrhythmo and then
spotting Carl Cox in the crowd and playing his remix of ‘Arrox con Pollo’ from the new Havana Cultura Remixed CD – the place went berzerk…such an amazing moment I had to rewind, get down in the crowd and bury Carl with my love…! A brilliant way to end a fantastic 20 days…

Cheers – GP

GP’s 3 Biggest Tunes of the Tour

1 – GP’s Havana Cultura Band – Rezando [Michel Cleis Remix] (Brownswood CDR]
2 – Jay Electronica – Exhibit C (Decon)
3 – Scuba – You Got Me [Hot Flush Promo)