Sex, Drugs & Hip Hop: Berlin

Transportation can be very cheap in Germany.  On the weekends, one can take the ‘Schönes Wochenende’ ticket (translates to ‘Beautiful Weekend’) to anywhere in Germany.  The ticket is 44 euros and up to 5 people can ride on one ticket BUT you can only take local transport.  We started in Antwerp and only 7 transfers and 14 hours later, we were in Berlin!

500ml of beer = $0.60.  Cheaper than water and just as plentiful.

We hung out by remnants of the old Berlin wall by the spree, drinking beers with Tim and trying to come up with a name for his solo project.  (‘The Anxious Anus’ and ‘Gooch Parachute’ were amongst the forerunners.)

The next day, Tim and I played a secret show at a new venue in Wedding.  Tim played first, followed by me; our shows went really well.  The crowd was great and the sound wasn’t bad.  Then SPT went onstage, but before he could finish his set, the police were called and he had to end his set mid-song.  LEX, the British hip hop headliner didn’t even get to set foot onstage.  We were all pretty bummed about not getting to see LEX perform, but had to heed the strict Berlin sound laws, which forbade loud music after 10pm.

Robert and I met in Berlin, so we felt right at home staying at his old room-mates’ place.  We did laundry! We showered!  We slept really well!  I played ping pong for the first time ever against Simon and Jo who are seasoned professionals, and I kicked their asses!! (Well, I won once out of thirty matches…)

1 Berlin show down, 2 more to go…

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Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop: Tour Diary Part V

Robert’s sense of direction is quite impeccable, without it, I’d be lost. One forgets to prepare for getting lost. Not Robert though. We got on the wrong tram at the Antwerp train station, the most beautiful train station I’ve ever seen. But we still made it to the venue with time to spare.
De Audio Plant is an old, multi-storey carpentry workshop converted into art studios, bars and venues. It’s really cool.
Warra showed us around. He renovated the spaces to look like they’ve been around forever, with old, used tiles he found online, wooden panels stained chestnut brown and bars made of doors. I met an old friend Kay. She showed us the silk-screening studio and books she bound and printed with her students.
De Audio Plant offers a vegan dinner to the public, and I was the after-dinner entertainment.
Warra set up microphones around the stage to record the show. The sound was impeccable, with high-quality speakers hand-made by a friend of the venue.
A corner of the huge attic was quartered off by felt blankets, making a cozy room for us to sleep in.
We rose early for a long train-ride to Berlin… (14 hours)
Instant coffee, appelsap, brood and ham.

Note: I will be performing at Parc Fringe, Pop Showcase!
Saturday, June 20th
Parc des Amériques (Corner Rachel & St. Laurent)

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dress is filling up

dress is filling up


Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop: Tour Diary Part IV

Mons’ train station has massive concrete steps that lead to nowhere and look like they were made for giants with invisible houses.  We walked down streets with red brick walls that reminded Robert of England.

Miss Év lives in a 4-storey slim and beautiful house with a crazy chien named Justin, two cats that hate him and one fish that doesn’t care.

She made us quiche.

We walked to Bateau Ivres, a tall building that usually houses heavy music.  The soundcheck was… well… interesting.  My instruments sounded so different, I couldn’t recognize them.  The board must’ve been e.q.ed for metal / punk bands and the soundman couldn’t picture how my music should sound like.  The “ping!” on my keyboard sounded like a PRRAHH!” and he couldn’t do a thing about it.  All well, the show must go on.

Feeling down, I left the venue for French fries and cola.  The venue began to fill. Two friends came all the way from Brussels to see the show.  I got really nervous.  The venue was full to the brim, I put on a brave face and went onstage.

I played my set as best I could, feeling defeated on the inside but smiling on the outside.  The crowd slowly got into the music and my fears and sadness subsided.  They all managed to come together for a group hug.  Maybe they were noise-metal fans and liked the way my music sounded?

After the show, many people congratulated me and complimented my performance, which made me very happy. I talked to an inspiring organic farmer who left his job and the city to live off the land.  I joked with a charming guy who was high on acid, we acted like robots.  The booker gave us samples of several fine Belgian beers and we spent the night tasting all of them.

The next day, Miss Év took us on a tour on Mons.  Nude people painted in different colours wandered the city and seemed to follow us as we walked about.

A metal monkey you touch for good luck, waffles, crepes, the cathedral, a look-out with a view of rooftops and smokestacks, a beer cocktail, La Chouffe beer on a terrasse.

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Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop: Tour Diary Part III

Gent is one of my favouritest cities ever in the whole world. We had a day off, so I decided to take Robert there. After flying to Brussels, we boarded a train to Gent, to commence what should’ve been a 1 hour journey. The train stopped and an announcement crunched over the speakers:
“Technical difficulties, please leave the train and go to platform three,”
Everybody got off the train and got on the one waiting at platform three. After everyone took their seats, another announcement came on:
“Looks like the technical issues have been resolved, so you can go back to the train on platform one. Don’t worry, the train will wait for you.”
So women scooped up their babies and elderly people eased off the train with their walkers and headed back towards platform one.
As we walked up the stairs to platform one, the train left!
It just. Fuckin. Left.
“Godverdomme!” I heard people exclaim. (“Goddammit!” in Flemish.)
So everyone started to trek back (again) to the train on platform three. Robert and I boarded the train, but some people (like those mothers and elderly people I described) took a little longer to get to the train.
“This is not fair!” one passenger exclaimed to the conductor, “Those poor people!”
And I faintly heard an announcement over the loud speaker that resembled something like “SUCKERRRRRRRS!!”

So, with all the kerfuffle, it ended up taking us 4 hours instead of 1 to get to Gent.
But no matter, it was worth it.
There’s a castle in the centre of Gent, a canal, medieval architecture, tiny doors for our tiny ancestors and lots of photo ops. We happily walked around the city in awe.

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Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop: Tour Diary Part II

We walked along a street shouldered by sex and döner shops.  We stopped to drink cafés in cups the size of thimbles.  We entered Le Fiacre, a legendary venue and met the three members of Met.H.ode, the trip hop band and Miss Rock the booker, a girl who likes to party, works very hard and has a big heart.

Carrot quiche, salad, local wine, conversations about French hip hop and La Haine…

The sound was wonderful, the crowd was really fun and after the show, we all went back to Miss Rock’s house.

We drank bottle after bottle of vodka, ordered from a delivery service and the night faded into day.  The sun was shining and we were still drinking.   It was 10am and the room was spinning.  I upchucked once….twice….thrice and went to sleep.

We got up in time for dinner at La Taupinière with Miss Rock and her boyfriend.  We ate duck hearts for the first time (which give one magical duck powers) and glass after glass after glass of Irish coffee.  We got hyper.  We got silly.

We went to a concert, then to a bar to meet more of Miss Rock’s friends.  But when someone decided to order delivery vodka, I had to call it a night.  I couldn’t look the bottle in the eye without getting queasy.  So I distracted myself by cuddling Miss Rock’s pet rat, Chat.

After 3 nights of no sleep, we wandered Bordeaux looking (and smelling) like zombies.

Le mirroir, chocolatines, les jardins botaniques, deux petits cafés…

We met more of Miss Rock’s friends, drank beer but forced ourselves to leave before the night blurred away.

That’s when we walked through a closet and into Narnia… our couchsurfing host’s house.  An immense, white stone staircase, a grand piano, grilled duck thighs, strawberries, whipped cream, cheeses, almond cakes and, bien sûr, wine.

Sleep. Shower.  And a gracious lift to the airport.  On to the next shows in Belgium.

Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop

We watched ‘Big Eyes’ on the plane and cried whilst drinking wine.
The bored-looking customs officer asked “Going?”
-“Toulouse,” we responded.
“You’re going TO LOSE!? Ahahahaha!” STAMP!

My second tour of Europe this year had begun. 7 shows booked through France, Belgium and Germany.

We took the tram through sunny Toulouse. Saturated magenta roses were in bloom everywhere and we could smell their perfume.

That night, sleepy and jet-lagged we retired to our bedroom in Cy’s basement. All the roomies were out, the house was empty and we began to, you know, do what married people do. In the middle of a compromising position, we suddenly heard someone trying to rattle open our window.
“Eeek! What was that!?”
-“Must be a pervert!” I said.
“Could be a burglar!”
Robert grabbed a tiny, wimpy-looking garden hoe for protection. He ran about the house, turning on lights in every room. Suddenly, we heard thumping on the garage door.
“Someone’s trying to get in! First we’ll call Cy, then we’ll call the police,” said Robert in a panicked voice.
Robert shone a flashlight through the front window to see who was there. BOOM went the window. We jumped back in alarm and shone the flashlight again. A brown cat threw its body at the window, like a bird crashing into glass. It must’ve been chasing the lights as they went on around the house.
“A cat burglar! Ahahaha!” We went back to bed, relieved.

The Rose Béton Festival in Toulouse celebrates urban art, like graffiti and hip hop. They invited me to perform at Les Musicophages and paid for my flight to Europe, which made me feel pretty good. My performance was to be part of a showcase for female artists. After a smooth sound-check, I performed in the big white room, while people danced or watched the performance from the sidewalk through large windows. Before the tour, I bought a white dress so audience members could draw and sign it after every show on the tour.
After the show, lovely ladies drew on my dress. We ate quiche, pizza, cake, drank wine and laughed.

Fellow musician Krista Muir was also on tour and staying at Cy’s. We all went to the market together, bought the most delicious saucisson, goat cheese, baguette and strawberries. We sat by a fountain to eat while the sun seared the clouds away with its laser eye.
That evening, we all went to a festival Cy helped organize called ‘Indélébile’, for independent book publishers. It takes place at La Chapelle, a church converted into a space for exhibitions and concerts.

The next day, we packed and boarded a train to Bordeaux.

This is the first instalment of an 8-part-blog, posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Part 2 will be posted Wednesday, June 10th

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I’m on tour in the land of tiny countries celebrating the release of my new single ‘TAKE YOU BACK’ You can download it for free! Right here, right now!

MAY 14- MUSICOPHAGES, Toulouse (G!RLZ Showcase, 19:00, 6 Rue de la bourse)

MAY 16- LE FIACRE (+ Met.H.Ode), Bordeaux (21:30, 42 rue de Cheverus)

MAY 21- BATEAU IVRE, Mons (22:30, Rue de Nimy 1)

MAY 23- DE AUDIO PLANT, Antwerp (Emiel Lemineurstraat 33)

MAY 26- SECRET SHOW WITH SPECIAL GUESTS- I can’t tell you where it is, but its in Berlin

MAY 29- FREUDENREICH, Berlin w/ SPT (Sonnenallee 67)

MAY 30- GELEGENHEITEN, Berlin CYBORG festival (Weserstraße 50)