Egon is reporting again from the Madlib Medicine Show in Europe, with DJs Madlib & J Rocc and Freddie Gibbs on the mic. Madlib & Freddie Gibbs were out for a two festival shows earlier in Fall, but now roll with J Rocc on a 6-city tour.
Part 1: Berlin & Frankfurt…
Woke up woozy, wishing it was from more of the ‘86 Margaux or the ‘58 La Mission Haut Brion as the ‘73 Latour wasn’t doing it. Of course the kind cat pouring us those wines – on the house – didn’t open the ‘19 Margaux “house” wine and we didn’t trip: Marcelino, “pao e vinho,” our erstwhile promoter, had too much good German stuff at his flat, where earlier Madlib had shot the cover for France’s Modzik Magazine’s December issue. Five in the morning it ended. Madlib and Lambo lost the battle trying to find bratwurst, but found kebabs. J.Rocc found one in front of his door the next morning. All fine though – Marcelino picked up Lambo and I and brought us to the best bratwurst in Mainz. Can I have two? Hangover gone. Madlib slept it off – show night. Train to Frankfurt – damn, could it be any longer? Claudia schools me on what the kids are listening to; looking at the iPod and damn do I feel out of touch. Ever hear of Can? No? Neu? Kraftwerk? Still, super company, Marcelino knows how to pick them. Meet Schiko at the club – congratulate him on the charmingly bizarre Mayer Hawthorne shot he took that probably did as much for the guy as his music. Shopping at the Carhartt store. “Ten pieces total, and only one coat.” For all five of us? “No, only four.” Sorry Lambo. Gibbs – cold. Madlib – beats him to the coat. Situation awkward avoided when store manager allows everyone ten pieces. Lambo works his magic silently and leaves with a full bag. I leave looking collegiate. Hey, Claudia, what are we listening to? Upstairs to the club, through the growing throng of people crowding the corridor. Fire hazard. Back down to fetch some McDonalds for the crew with Joan. Myself, thinking that the finger food Paula laid out backstage looks mighty fine. Back, hey Marcelino where’s the wine key? Great rieslings. Not too much tonight. Tough crowd, but not for Gibbs. He almost drop kicks a scrawny fan who looks like he’s anticipating enjoying it. Five am, we leave Freddie at the bratwurst stand – warm in his new Carhartt coat. You going to be ok? “Yeah man, I got this.” “Sillllllvveerrr Laaaaaaake” (see our previous Berlin report for that phrase’s origin) in J.Rocc’s ear all the way back to Mainz. Sorry J. Driver turns up the radio, trying to drown it out. Not working. Dropped off at the wrong hotel. Go up the road man. On the left. Oh you don’t speak English? Out of the car, where the fuck is the banner. “I need more money, you made me drive farther.” Oh, so you DO speak English. Right.
Late. Oh so very late. Will we make it to the airport on time? Sad goodbyes on the train to Marcelino and Paula, it’s like we’ve known each other for years. Or at least a couple months. What a great start. How can Berlin top this? Three hours later, Rob picks us up in a rented VW bus. Damn man, nice tunes. Oddisee’s latest, old school euro-jazz comps. Max Whitefield in the car. You got Roy Brooks? Rob: “On Imhotep?” Max: “The one on Muse with the blue cover?” Man, I like this so far. Dinner at some Jamaican fusion joint. Already seeing more of the city than last time. Silllverrrr Laaaaaake! I’ll take the spicy pork. Tasty. Damn it’s overdone. So overdone. Like it would have been cooked on Mad Men if Mad Men was filmed in Jamaica. Irie. Club looking great. There’s Christian, the show’s promoter – and OG Berlin vinyl slinger – telling us that he hopes he got the wine right. Waitasec, three bottles of ‘04 premier cru Volnay? Really? Good champagne and reisling. Proper stemware? Jesus, this is too good to be true. Toasts all around. Doesn’t take long till the place is packed. Lots of smoke. Uve! Sillverrr Laaaaaaake! Come on man, have some wine. Closed quarters in the dressing room: artist request. Bajka not feeling this too much. Everyone else seems to understand. A bit of drama. All good. Where’s that burg? J onstage and it’s sounding good. Getting loose. No “Apache.” No “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved.” A bit of blip-hop and one helluva remix/edit of Dilla’s “Fuck The Police.” Madlib psychs them out. Minimal synth to German Krautrock. Annexus Quam’s first album on Ohr wins. I need that one. Sorry for yelling at you J. You were right – no need to worry about Madlib, he’s doing just fine. You too, Expo, it was mainly the cat next to you that was acting the fool. Freddie handles the hecklers. Fuck the police. A hundred times. They’re feeling this. It’s too fucking smoky here. I’m a weakling, this is Berlin. Christian is just too cool. Why can’t every promoter be so enthusiastic and kind? Apologies for us missing the Embryo/Madlib gig he booked a couple years ago but, you know, he’s ok with it all. Where the hell can I find a 24-hour laundromat. Rob brings us to the best 24 hour hamburger stand in the city. Is that Billy Wooten playing on your speakers? It is! Excitable Brasilian cats hanging about. “You need to stay off the wine Madlib, you’re slipping.” So says the Brasiliero holding up the hamburger stand at 4 am. Keep it moving dude.