Big Village: Big Things Volume 2 Tour
Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney
14th September 2012
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
5th October 2012
Gearins Hotel, Katoomba (not Toowoomba)
6th October 2012
I want this to read like a personal journal for those of you that wanted to go but couldn't, I want you to feel like you were there and you wrote this. I want this to read like a love letter for all of those that have continued to share these experiences with me: to those that are always by my side (you know who you are), to those that I now recognise in the crowd night by night, and to those on stage in this crew that have never been anything but nice to me, and have always taken the time out to talk to me, and encourage me to ask the questions which will help define their point of view. (And put up with me when I'm embarrassingly drunk too.) I want this to read like a postcard for all of those who haven't had the pleasure of experiencing this music yet. Cause it says “Wish you were here,” in big bold print. The photo on the front alone will be enough to make you want to dive in, but my colourful prose will catch you on the hook and sink you for sure.
First a little background info, this album/ tour is truly a family affair. Not only is the whole crew involved but it's almost like the emcees drew names out of a hat to see who got to work with who this time. Although there's some familiar combinations- Loose Change, Daily Meds, Reverse Polarities, True Vibenation, etc. There are also some new, not yet seen before combinations (ie. Jeswon & P Smurf, Klue & Billie Rose, Mute MC & Verbaleyes, and Tuka & Loose Change, Billie Rose & Reverse Polarities). And the highlight of it all, is the posse track where absolutely everyone gets to throw down a verse. That's 16 clowns squeezed onto an itty bitty stage for a BIG finale.
My favourite song off the Big Things Volume 2 album, as I'm sure a couple people can attest to, was immediately “Lingua Franca.” The song is a collab by Mute MC (Reverse Polarities) and Verbaleyes (True Vibenation). Lyrically, this song spoke to me more than any other has in recent times. It communicates how music is the only absolutely universal language. It has the ability to bring the people of every culture and background to the understanding that we are all just one people. It's basically everything that hip hop as a culture attempts to express.
On the night of the 13th August, a special day on it's own, I partook in a particularly special event, we did a video shoot for “Lingua Franca.” We may have lacked the representation from all cultures of the world that we had wanted to showcase in the video, but we all came with an earnest desire to make something out of nothing and to give this song the energy and communal feeling that it deserves. I'm pretty sure we succeeded, although I've yet to see the video. I did get to rap to the camera though, and I met Damon finally, after hearing so much about how awesome he is, but that's a whole other story.
This was my first time at the Oxford Arts Factory and I can see now why it's such a popular venue. It's intimate without being too small, it gives the feeling of being in a theatre (velvet curtain and all) without any seats to get in the way of dancing. Immediately upon entering you could tell this was a hip hop gig. Not like a 360 show which I've talked about before, or Illy which I went to recently, where the vibe just felt a bit off. Here, it was like there was something in the air, a highly contagious airborne allergen that did the opposite of making you sick, in fact as soon as you caught it you felt energised, alive, and connected to all the people around you. It was like arriving home, and although most of the people there were strangers, they were all people that I wanted to know. My eyes were sparkling as I looked around. I was on a drug but I wasn't. I was on the edge and about to jump.
Reverse Polarities was on now and I went straight to the front of the stage as if we had assigned seats and I had to take my place. Mikoen, P-Smurf, and Mute MC said their hellos to me from the stage not like an artist communicating to a fan, but like we were here together and we were sharing something. A couple of songs into the set, everyone except P-Smurf mysteriously disappeared from the stage, then out popped Jeswon to perform what is most likely my second favourite song on the album, although it's a close call. Lately it's only lyrics with a message that really do it for me, Evolutionary Cells was a stand out from the first listen. As far as lyrics and subject matter this song is right where I'm at. It is time for evolution, come on people lets do this. BIG of course came on soon after and I couldn't stop myself jumping around to this insane beat. It's probably the catchiest song on the album, and with Billie Rose joining them, they became Reverse Polarities- Daily Meds hyphenated like a beautiful marriage of sound.
|Ellesquire and Tuka|
The Newcastle show was a little bit of a disappointment. I don't know if we were just a bit put off from the start by one very strange coincidence, a chance meeting. But the whole night certainly had a very different feel to it. After the super high energy of the Sydney show, this one felt a bit strained and a little bit awkward. But that just goes to show how every show, even though it's exactly the same, can have a completely different feel just depending on the crowd. The performers feed off the crowd's energy and give back whatever they get magnified tenfold. A disinterested crowd will always get a slightly disinterested performer, but when it's on, it's on.
|How to sleep in a car. Where are her legs??|
Anyway not to say that the Newcastle performance was anything less than awesome. But compared to what we had already seen and what was to come, it definitely lacked energy and crowd participation.
Getting to the Blue Mountains was painful. This was the same day we left Newcastle, drove back to Sydney and then off again to Katoomba. Of course we were late again, and the rain was so heavy as we turned onto the highway that lead into the mountains that we almost had to pull over. Lucky it wasn't a tad colder or we would have been blanketed with snow. I'm sitting in the back of the car with the rain bucketing down on us, completely covering the front windscreen. Kath is trying to drive but we can barely see a metre ahead and I'm just thinking to myself. “Why the FUCK are we doing this??” We parked down the side of the building so we could smash a few drinks before we went in and we could hear BIG just barely coming through the wall, of course we missed the whole beginning of the show AGAIN! We made a sneaky side entrance so as not to attract too much attention. The room felt old but friendly and comfortable. Small town vibe, everyone was friendly. There was so many familiar faces in the crowd. And then all the hassle of getting there, sleeping in the car the night before, the whole day of driving, everything was worth it. We had made home again.
It felt so good to get out of Sydney for a little while. I moved down from North Queensland about 8 months ago, chasing some excitement, something happening. I certainly found what I was looking for, but I realised that I haven't left the city since about March (except to go to Canberra, which doesn't really count cause it's a shithole, sorry) and it was so relaxing just to chill somewhere were people aren't always rushing to get to the next thing. The small town vibe is definitely a needed break for the mind.
This show was much smaller than the Sydney one, and it started off slow, even by the time we got there the crowd was a bit sparse. But I think what we got to in the end of that show exceeds where we were at in the Sydney show. I felt like all of us together were building and building up to the last moment. The ultimate push and pull, the energy flying. I think because we had already seen the show a couple of times now, we weren't particularly focused on each set like we had been, but that meant that we had plenty of time to connect with friends. And it gave us the ability to throw all of our spare energy into that last all important moment, in the last song. And it paid off. That end result that I try to describe? It can't be mimicked or faked, it can only be felt deep inside. And if you know what I mean then you know now, or else you have a new aspiration to achieve. This hip hop thing is slowly killing me. And letting me breathe. If you don't know what I mean, then get onto this thing.
I'd say we're pretty close to starting our own society, yeah? Big Village.
(you'll see me rep that in the street)
I think you'll find all your needs will be taken care of here.
Check it out, Tuka's 2nd solo album "Feedback Loop" will be released this Friday, 26th October!