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.
Welcome to the 8th Diary. It's the 2nd to last week and we're getting
sleepy! But we have some great shows to cheer us up. And we meet
some great people.
04.03.03 - 04.09.03
Thursday, April, 3rd - Chicago
After a bit of a lie-in after coming back from the Funk club the
night before and watching some late night movies, our 2nd day in
Chicago included more record shopping in North Clark and Belmont!
We can never buy enough. We were suppose to hook up with DJ white
lightening in the day but he was feeling a little tipsy plus he
had to do an early show in north Chi town. Yarah went to look for
presents for her relatives and more hats. Gez and Girthy AKA First
Rate chilled at our hotel and watched movies all day. The show was
at the 'Empty Bottle' which is a pretty cool spot. We had invited
a lot of friends over and notably the Molemen family and Galapagos
4 plus people from Frontline so we were all looking forward to the
show. Though there was a torrential rain storm going on outside.
And we thought people weren't gonna turn up because of the weather.
(we have had so much bad weather on this tour!)
Anyway after everything we had a great time and the show rocked
pretty well. At the end Adad performed his track 'Danny glover'
which is one of our favorite tracks at the moment. Well after all
the handshaking and after hours drinks, we headed to the studio
with Adad and some of the Frontline posse to listen to some music
(Eulorhythmics) and record some stuff. Yarah went of with Galapagos
4 and First Rate tagged along hoping there would some ladies at
They wanted to record some stuff, but I guess everyone was knackered.
We all met back at the hotel in the morning....not knowing where
we were... aaaaaaaah
Friday, April, 4th - Cleveland
We were here a year ago but played in a strange venue called the
'Beach Land'. We had actually done quite a bit of press for this
city and cause last year went pretty well we were looking forward
to coming here aging. The venue was cool and they were having Mr
lif, Akrobatic, Jungle Bros, Black Sheep, El- P and Beans all come
and perform here so we were quite amped. Unfortunately the crowd
didnt live up to our hopes. Quite a few people turned up but the
crowd was totally dead. I mean there were a few music lovers there
but in general we couldn't work out what was up with the crowd.
Very strange and for us, one of the worst shows we have done in
USA apart from Boulder (CO) in terms of response and crowd participation.
A few people told us that this is the way it is here but its disappointing
flying 7 hours and driving 24000 km (15000 miles around USA /Canada)
to get a mediocre response like we are some amateurs from Hicks
I think part of the problem in North America is:
1). there isn't such a thing as a "Promoter" or it isn't
that common at least. Like a club will book a show and do a combined
add for the months shows and perhaps a small write up in some mag.
But no flyers or posters.... so the average person, unless he reads
that ONE free newspaper ain't gonna know we are in town even if
he goes to his local spot to buy tunes.
2). Hip hop in USA and to a certain extent Canada is over-saturated.
People don't give a shit about it cause its everywhere. in fact
i would say in 2003 hip hop in USA is more about wearing the right
clothes, saying the right slang and having Lugz and not Puma's on
your feet, etc than the musical content/ lyrics/ style/ originality/
creativity. I think if you asked the average hip hop consumer who
was the world DMC DJ champion or ITF champion they wouldn't know,
or name the battle of the year break dance champion, or know the
best beatboxer or even know any of the Scribble jam freestyle winners????
It's not even knowing exactly but even having a faint idea. A bit
like say a supposed tennis fan not knowing any of the competitions,
skills, winners, past champions, venues, key players etc... but
still claiming they love tennis cause they wear Nike!!! you feel
Saturday, April, 5th - Detroit
After last night we were all a little down on what tonight might
be like. All we knew about Detroit was that this is/was motor city
and now Ford and GM have moved leaving mass unemployment, depression,
closures, run down buildings and that genaral rugged feeling. And
of course Slum, Jay Dee, D12 and Eminem plus booty tech techno represent
Detroit. We had to do the tourist thing when we drove in and that
was to see '8 mile road'. Not actually much to look at but a mass
of petrol stations, car workshops and shops etc plus a whole lotta
of ghetto ass stuff!!!
DJ graffiti opened up for us with a medley of blackmoon, bucktown
stuff after which we really did raise the house on fire. Excellent
show , great responce and the total opposite to yesterday. There
were quite a few heads in the place including some female MCs from
the Anomalies crew. Yarah got of talking to MC Invincible, who she
reckons is a killer MC.... hope they'll collab on something. That
be great. And there were some people from the recently released
CD - the Detroit Experiment (its pretty fresh - check it out). The
after party was at the local hip hop shop - The wax museum!! Really
nice spot, with a good hiphop selection...
Sunday, April, 6th - Pittsburgh
We are all feeling crap now. really tired and drained, headaches,
pains and a general feeling of being well run down. Welcome to the
life of a cosmic gypsie. I think for the past 2 weeks we have been
getting maximum 5 hours sleep average per night and that really
isn't enough. Its even harder to walk on stage and be all smiley
and amped and ready to rip when you actually feel like going to
sleep. More now then ever are we really are relying on the response
of the crowd. The more they give, literally the more we give...
The 'Rex' where we played was an old theatre/cinema type affair
with the seating still there so it was a little strange at first
with everyone sitting down when we came in like we were some classical
group. funny eh!!. Anyway, our man J-sands and the Lone Catalysts
opened up for us and they are hella cool. Lone to the Cata, Cata
to the Lyst what what what!!! Well First rate got everyone to jump
out of their seats and come to the front which was cool cause then
they got really into it. Its strange how a crowd of 140 people in
Pittsburgh make more noise than 200 in Cleveland? It was great.
Monday, April, 7th - Buffalo
Hummus, falafel and fresh donuts for breakfast. ummmn! Followed
by a sprinty around a local out-let prime mega plex affair. We see
these every so often on the inter state roads. Great bargains to
be found all round. Gez bought some shorts (though it was 30°
outside) and tried to sniff out more Adidas shell toe's though was
unsuccessful this time. Yarah bought more hats, perfume and went
crazy looking in all the shoe shops . First Rate ate some salad
and i went buckwild in the Timberland shop again. How are we going
to be able to bring all this stuff home?
We played in Buffalo last year and this was one of the best shows
on that tour so we were all looking forward to playing here. This
time 12 months on we were greeted with yet another snow storm, ice
and freezing conditions... great!!! the venue also changed at the
last minute cause of that Rhode Island fire incident and Great White
concert. It was a proper live venue but way too big for us on a
Monday night in the middle of a snow storm so even though we had
a good turnout - actually amazing 200 strong crowd, they still jingled
around too much inside. Baby stepz opened up for us again and they
were nice. First Rate got confused and called them Baby g1eez!
Tuesday, April, 8th - Peterborough
Another new spot for this tour but very familiar weather. And
to be honest right about now we need a little more sunshine in our
lives! After a sleep-in at the promoters house in buffalo via a
late breakfast brunch, we made it to the land of maple leaves. Peterborough
is a tiny little town like 1 hour outside Toronto. Its even colder
here.! The show went ok but the crowd wasn't the biggest. The sound
system was wack and the engineer kept pissing off so loads of feedback
Wednesday, April, 9th - Toronto
straight after the Peterborough show we drove to Toronto, so we
arrived at around 5 am all thoroughly knackered. sleep-in till 4pm
and watch tv. We played in Toronto last year with Anti pop consortium
which went really well so we were all looking forward to here also.
At the moment they have the SARS problem which has been diagnosed
in loads of places worldwide with a few outbreaks here so quite
a few Americans were like ' yo, u gotta cancel that shit, we ain't
trying to fuck with that shit...' But nothing stops the Russian
percussion, War, weather, illness, broken down cars, terrorist attacks
(a bomb went off in Tel Aviv the same day in a club down the road
from where we were playing) so SARS wasn't going to stop us.
Sixtoo was opening for us and he was hella cool as a person and
did a nice set including visuals and some live MPC work.... Our
show was off the hook, packed venue, great people...and just over
all GOOD!! Prevail from Swollen Members came down to chill...we
were just reminiscing telling old tour stories. Toronto rocks...and
so did we...
--The Underground Secret Society of Rhythm