LEVELHEADED is pleased to present the online US tour diary of DJ Vadim's Russian Percussion Crew. Check this page every week during the entirety of the US tour for a new entry.

Week 1: 02.12.03 - 02.21.03
Week 2: 02.21.03 - 02.27.03
Week 3: 02.27.03 - 03.06.03
Week 4: 03.06.03 - 03.12.03
Week 5: 03.13.03 - 03.19.03
Week 6: 03.20.03 - 03.26.03
Week 7: 03.27.03 - 04.02.03
Week 8: 04.03.03 - 04.09.03
Week 9:
04.10.03 - 04.16.03


03.13.03 - 03.19.03

This is the tour Diary of Vadim, Yarah Bravo, First Rate & Gez.

Location: USA and Canada now!

Welcome to the 5th installment of our weekly diary during our North American tour.  This week is perhaps the most bizarre week of the tour. We have the most incredible shows, we have the most incredible vibes,  we buy amazing records and even have time for a nice Indian curry...

And also the biggest low of the tour... The war began and we heard about Rachel Corrie...

Thursday, March, 13th - San Diego, CA

Dear Diary,

We reluctantly departed beautiful warm Phoenix sunshine and drove into the desert towards San Diego through some spectacular dunes, cactus country and some very peculiar valleys covered in huge rocks... We saw the Mexican border and were very tempted to go across to see life there - well First rate wanted to check the girls and booze out actually! Anyway we got to San Diego and we rocked it for the 4th time. Real cool city. Our opening act were very amusing . They played a live set in which they totally destroyed computers on stage in some bizarre San Diego ritual of self computerization music concrete stylee... very funny.

Friday, March, 14th - Los Angeles, CA

‘L.A L.A - Big city of dreams , everything in L.A ain’t always what it seems...

Los Angeles......

We were all looking forward to coming here. I’ve played here about 6 times before. But never really had a chance to check out the city, except for a little jaunt up on Melrose. The rest of the crew had never been here and were extremely excited to see the stars in the pavement up on Hollywood blvd and the hand prints outside Mann’s Chinese theatre. Well actually Yarah was more interested in meeting Freestyle Fellowship’ than anything else.  Yarah and Firsrate had a stroll down Hollywood Blvd took some photos, checked Jimi Hendrix’s star, Aretha Franklin etc...They reckon they saw Elvis and Marilyn Monroe...?? yeah yeah.. We were hoping Al Pacino and Robert Deniro were gonna come down to our show but they obviously had better things to do...

We played at a club called The Temple Bar in Santa Monica. They have had a lot of very talented artists play in this venue before, like Blackalicious, J5, Yuseef Lateef, Antibalis, Fred Wesley, Cody Chesnut, QuestLove and even some beatboxing tapdancing local hero! SO we were all a little over awed by the company we were in especially when people started to come in and we met film producers, that producer this producer....etc...people from Black Eyed Peas came down, and wall to wall mc’s...I guess that's LA - everybody is somebody. Even the waitress was one of the singers for Blackalicious and the door security guy was a reggae producer and an actor...Dj Nobody was spinning before us, and he had some Friends’ with him also. Well after all the nerves we had before the show, especially Yarah since she always wanted to rock a show in LA and Frisco cause her favorite MC’s are from here... the show actually went AMAZING, it was off the hook, Great response and standing ovation at the end and a sold out capacity crowd. with a huge queue of people standing outside waiting to get in .. The best show i have ever done in LA and in USA for that matter.  After the show we got our drink on, Yarah and First rate were hitting the cocktails, and at the end of the night they were partying like  crazy, the atmosphere was off the hook. First rate was trying to get it on with the waitresses, but with no luck...We chilled out with our good friend Rakaa from Dilated peoples.

And we finished the night with celebrating by having a potato knish at 4 am  from a local deli!  We are still on a high from that show...

Saturday, March, 15th - San Francisco, CA (Bay area baby!)

After some amazing weather we were greeted by horrendous rain storm in the morning of LA - what the fuck. Its not supposed to rain here! Only in London right? Well Rakaa Iriscience came over to the hotel and we chilled a bit. We are always bumping into each other at funny places around the world like airports, motorway services....so it was good to have a second in a more normal place like the Motel 6 lobby!!!

We were all still amped by the LA show so by the time we arrived in Frisco it was quite late and we had to rush our soundcheck cause they had already opened the doors.... We were all a little skeptical about the show cause they didn’t seem to have done much promotion - no flyers, posters etc so we were expecting it to be a wack turnout. And to be honest we didn’t think it could be as good as Los Angeles anyway. But word of mouth is sometimes a miracle, and to our amazement we packed the place once again with over 400 people going bananas and a long queue of people waiting to get in, and they all made more noise than LA - impossible?? we thought so,  but they were even better. Wow - it must be something in the air in Cali (apart from smog!)

J boogie opened for us with his dubtronic science orchestra which was ‘hella’ cool too. Yarah kept talking about this MC and that MC who were at the show, but to be honest I didn’t know who half of them were. But then Yarah is a bay area hiphop freak.  We chilled with Dj Anna who’s a super cool lady, and just had a great San Francisco vibe.

First Rate tried to get it on with the sound girl, he did manage to score a kiss.

After our show we were on a sweet high,  and we wanted to party some more. We tried to go to another party - ‘Uprising’ near Cesar Chavez/17th street area but the bouncer was a real nasty asshole and refused us entry even tho' we were all on Rasta Q tip’s and j boogies guest list.  So please boycott them.

Sunday, March, 16th - San Francisco, CA
Off day / Travel day

The weather was great and we started our day with some delicious Spanish omelet. Then we went down to Haight street where all the good shops are - Amoebas/ groove merchant/ ...plus endless funky clothes shops and shoe shops... We were all really excited, And Yarah was telling us all about her  crazy experiences when she was out in the Bay area 3 years ago with her crew B-o-B.

Gez went to Harputts (Famous Shoe store) on filmore and went buckwild over the old school Adidas. The people in the store realized Gez was such a freak and decided to let him see the secret backroom for collectors only, he was drooling all over the place. Even tight wad Firstrate (who the previous day refused to buy a book for $1 cause he thought that was too expensive!) bought a pair of wicked shell toes with which he proceeded to spill all his Wendy’s take away salad over.

Me and Yarah went crazy in Ameoba Records which is the dopest largest independent record store on the west-coast. With hard to find records and out-of-print records. And we bought loads of goodies. In Ameobas we also met OD (producer of freestyle fellowship) and (mc) Busdriver. Who are both wicked.

To celebrate a great weekend we all went for a an Indian curry. You see in England, Curry sundays are almost religious, and it was a sunday, and man we wanted to celebrate everything... We found a great spot on haight st and ate ourselves to the point of exploding!  

We were suppose to leave San Francisco at 4 pm but we were having so much fun so we didn’t leave untill 8:30 pm.  But that was cool cause we didn’t have a show in the evening. Though we had to drive till very very late...

Monday, March, 17th - Portland, OR

I was woken up this morning by my dad ringing me at 5 am (1pm London time) saying that the bailiffs from the UK tax office (inland revenue) were at my house right then and wanted to impound my possessions for not paying a supposed tax bill.... well that woke me up!!! Its a bit difficult sorting stuff out like this in the middle of the night a continent apart and there is no way anyone is going to start removing our studio or sofa...great wake up call hey!!

We solved the problem a couple of hours later, when they admitted they had made a mistake. Geez, they almost gave me a heart attack.

Portland is the Spot for finding records - djangos and some other sneaky peaky spots are really good.  I have bought so much stuff from here in the past so i was looking forward to coming here for the 4/5th time... And Yes I did buy more records plus a lot of Noam Chomsky books, and the Miles Davis Biography which I was reading in the beginning of the tour, but it got lost some where along the way.

The tension is growing, Big Brother Bush Monkey made a speech announcing that he will attack Iraq within hours. It made us sick to the stomach. All the marching, all the protesting against the war, useless?? Are we all just being ignored?? How can the government of the UK and US go to war without the majority of its citizens supporting and backing it?

We really did not feel like doing the show in Portland that evening, we had a lot of things on our mind. But we did the show anyway of course, and it did us good, the response was beautiful. And we met some really nice people.

Though some idiot through a beer-can at Firstrate when he was doing a Dj routine at the end of the night.  And someone stole Yarah’s trucker cap which she was given in New York by a fan...so that sucked also! And some drunk bird (‘Round here we call them birds not bitches’ the streets!!!) spilled a drink all over the merchandise table while screaming ‘sign my tits’...what’s up with some people...hey...

Tuesday, March, 18th - Seattle, WA

Before driving to Seattle we got some breakfast at ‘Whole Foods’, that’s the best supermarket we have found out here. All organic, and the choice of food is great. Salads, sushi, lentil soups etc... I wish we had that in London where we live!

Gez wanted to visit the Adidas original store (as if he didn’t have enough shoes already) cause there’s only 2 like this one in the world, one in Nuremberg /Germany and one in Portland/US. But we got the the wrong directions and ended up at the Nike Outlet store, which we piss all over. And  unfortunately we did not have enough time to look for the real spot, so we got on the road to Seattle. And Gez shed a tear...

The Seattle show was probably the strangest and most emotional show we have ever done.  Before the show Dj Vital (the opening DJ) came backstage and he told us a  very touching and hurting story. He told us about his good friend Rachel Corrie. She was an American citizen who was murdered 2 days previously after being run over by an bulldozer while she was trying to stop it from tearing down a building in Rafah, Palestine. The Bulldozer ignored her outcry and ran over her - twice. She was protesting against the occupation, the inhuman, insulting, humiliating and degrading conditions put on the Palestinians.

While Dj Vital was telling us this story he was crying, it was a very emotional moment and we started crying as well. He told us that Rachel Corrie was a big Ninja Tune fan, and a big fan of my music, and if she would’ve been there tonight she would’ve stood at the front dancing. This was very real!

At the back of the club all her friends  had made a shrine laid out to her with letters, flowers , photo’s.... And it almost felt like we were about to do a show for a funeral audience, since everyone in that room seemed to know her. We started the show with a minute of silence and Yarah said a few words. Later in the show Yarah invited Dj Vital on stage to share a few words with the audience. He spoke a painful heartfelt message and at the end of the show there was a lot of people very emotional and tearful. We dedicated the show and the rest of our tour to Rachel Corrie and all other Freedom Fighters’ who are no longer with us. And the show ended up being a celebration of her life and what she stood for. If you would like to read her story check out http://www.michaelmoore.com/

Wednesday, March, 19th - Victoria, Canada

The war started 5 pm Pacific time. We all had a very bad feeling. ‘It has begun’. We were at least glad that we were going to Canada.

The promoter from Seattle and Victoria had also got us unduly worried about the border crossing from USA to Canada. On TV they were saying that the border checks and crossings all across USA were more stringent, longer cues etc but we managed to go through smoothly, don’t ask us how?  We still arrived too late at our ferry crossing so we had to wait there 3 hours for the next ferry but we finally arrived in Victoria, very late.  We did  a quick soundcheck, and then we went next door to a really nice restaurant for some food. The service was so so slow, and we were starving. When the food finally arrived it was time to go on stage. We took the food in a doggie bag...and stepped on stage. The crowd was wicked, the show went great and the people showed us much love.  We were all happy that the first Canadian show went down like this... and we slept like babies...

Continuing our mission
— Vadim , Yarah, First Rate and Gez....




Enter your e-mail address below for a chance to win a copy of Dinky's Black Cabaret from Carpark records.!

Limit one entry per person.