MENU GP down under Pt.2 // courtesy of Huwston

GP down under Pt.2 // courtesy of Huwston

March 15, 2010

It’s been just over 12 months since Gilles Peterson last DJed in Australia. His last tour featured Public Enemy sound-checking over one of his sets at one of the legs which wasn’t ideal but we did a cheeky Wednesday session that more than made up for it, which I got to DJ at and give him a record he’d later go on to play on Radio 1 and help the band I was looking after get an international deal. Gilles came in to do my radio show ‘Soul Glow’ on www.2ser.com and I was really surprised that we could get that much natter in and it still sounded fresh and punchy when I listened to it back. You tread a very fine line when you put two music nerds in a room with a microphone and a transistor but the content was great and following on from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble chatting earlier in the program about Damon Albarn, I think it was a pretty inclusive discussion. You can be the judge by streaming or downloading the episode HERE. (My mic was pretty hot so excuse the odd pops.)

On Thursday night a very packed Manning Bar filed in early with an extraordinary number of walk-ups. Gilles took to the decks just after 9pm and began smashing it right away, explaining to the crowd that those who enjoyed his ‘Jazz Juice’ compilation when they were in University would get their fill but to keep up with the new stuff that was coming after the band. I had to bounce half way through Antibalas’ set which was building up to something special, and apparently a few hundred people stuck around to hear GP doing the dubstep, tech and beat stuff at the end of the night. This is the set I really wanted to hear but knew I was getting a few good doses coming my way at our next stop, which was Adelaide.

Gilles played in Melbourne the night after which had I had heard mixed reports from him on. All props to the promoters and agents who aren’t always able to afford the luxury of choosing their audience. I guess it’s like when
I was a single man, I would sit through what they call ‘electro house’ or ‘blog house’ if I wanted to chat up a nice girl, and maybe it’s the same thing for hipsters having to ‘endure’ Latin records! For any Australian readers, it’s interesting to note that all of the problems Sydney’s music scene endured at the turn of the century (venues closing down, liquor licensing red tape, increase in popularity of commercial music) now seems to be dumping down on Melbourne.

Narrowly missing a hectic hail storm in Melbourne,

Gilles arrived in Adelaide for a quick nap before we headed out to WOMADelaide festival to see Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. I think Brass Bands are like my classical music because I was nearly in tears several times thanks to the power of their music. It was great to see those guys throughout the weekend really interacting with the crowd and making themselves very familiar to Adelaidians.

We were actually rolling pretty deep for this leg of the tour with Nickodemus, The Bamboos, Dexter, Jamie Bennet and even our preferred Sydney stylist Phil Gallo all in tow. WOMAD is very much a family festival and it was a family affair with Jamie hooking me up a cheeky gig on the Saturday night and with Gilles off to play with Nicko in Miami soon. Also included in the lineup were Mahmoud Ahmed (touring as Ethiopiques) and some other very fine acts. I missed Gilles’ first set but after a nervous start to the evening (rained out stages, timetable clashes etc) it was apparently ridiculously good. After that he got straight back to the hotel to watch Arsenal bruising Burnley whilst the rest of us got a chance to sample the Adelaide nightlife at a mixed African-Sudanese style bar called ‘Casablah-blahs’ which we were all calling ‘Chicky Wah Wahs’ or something that sounded like Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’. I tried to pick up this girl but she wasn’t having it, I think she was too stoned (boom tish).

Over Yum Cha the next morning we discussed how some performers can work in one city and not in another. It’s odd that just 900 kilometres away a musical landscape can be so different and a guy like DJ X (we no name names) can smash it in Adelaide but can’t get arrested in Sydney. After a pretty damned good Yum Cha (the food in Adelaide is soooooo cheap) we made our way in to the festival, missing The Skatalites but instead getting a bit of a drink on and watching Dexter’s Polynesian Krump and drumming crew Grllla Step get all Lil’ Jon on the crowd, who actually loved it. The guy’s a turntable genius, easily mixing records from Panama with Detroit bangers and several drummers on top. I also really enjoyed The Armada who used to be this band I liked in my long-hair days called the Tea Party. I think old mate even covers for Jim Morrison when The Doors do reunion shows. Jim can’t make those shows anymore.

Another tear inducing moment nearly ensued when Mahmoud Ahmed busted out the Ethiopiques thing around 8 o clock on stage 1.

This guy was note perfect with so much energy to boot. The band were incredible but I think their complex time signatures really fucked up the crowd. In my whiteboy awesome-ness, I nearly fell over several times trying to bust out to their sick grooves. I don’t think the guy from Hypnotic who plays the horn that wraps around him was too impressed, but I was in to my 4th bottle of cheap champagne (sparkling white, in fact) and I have no rhythm which I make no excuses for.

Knowing what we did from the night before, we knew Gilles was in for another big night and apparently the second set was more freestyle than the night before. The crowd of course loved it and really gave it their all. I was rather enthusiastic and nearly fell off the stage taking photos but thank God for backstage passes is all I can say. Highlight records of the set would include new stuff by Mala, that version of ‘I Believe in Miracles’ and two joints off the upcoming Havana Cultura remix record. I’m super envious of anyone who can open a set with Ron Basejam and not get bottled. Good onya, Gilles!

No doubt we’ll see the man grace our fair shores in another year’s time but until then I’ll be updating you with all things happening down south until then. Things to look out for in the mean time are the Electric Wire Hustle album, Raah Project remix 10” and The Bamboos album “4” which is out in about a month. Saving the best till last, big ups to Niche Productions in particular James Browning but of course Zarina and Ben in the office for all doing their bit to make this another successful Brownswood invasion. If you’d like to get in touch, hit me at knowfoowl@hotmail.com – this is Huwston, signing off!

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