After the show on Thursday night, I told my aunt Helen and uncle Richard that Jeff and I would meet them for lunch or dinner or something on Friday. I found out that they were staying in a hotel right next to Victoria station, which was perfect because we could take the rail right there. They told us to call them when we got up, which of course was later then expected, but the nights just kept getting short and shorter.
I had to make sure I had everything together for that evenings show at Native Tongue. There was suppose to be a soundcheck at 6:30pm, but Tim wasn’t sure if he could make it. So if the drums can’t make it then it’s kind of pointless to have a soundcheck. That night’s line up was the blaKbüshe quartet. Well it was actually a quintet including Jeff, Tim, Hannabiell, LyricL and I. LyricL was a welcome last minute addition. I still wasn’t sure if the rest of the horns could make it. Scott was coming from a studio session and Max had a gig, but they said they would try so I was keeping hope alive.
Before leaving the house that day I got a call from Adam Rock. He told me that the owner of the Mau Mau Bar had really loved my show on Thursday night and wanted to know if I was free to play on Saturday back at the Mau Mau! Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever been asked back for a command performance in a matter of days! I was totally flattered, but I had to tell him I couldn’t because I was scheduled to play on Saturday night at the Heart & Soul charity fundraiser in Brixton. That was show #2 that I had to turn down. Just one more confirmation that next time I need to stay in town a lot longer.
Sometime in the afternoon, Jeff and I got our things together and headed on the walk to Kent House station to head to Victoria. We weren’t waiting too long before the train arrived. When we got to Victoria station my aunt & uncle’s hotel was literally next door. It was actually almost in the same building as the station. We walked around to the hotel entrance and went in. The front desk clerk called my aunt down to come get us and soon she was there to take us upstairs. The hotel was really nice, but I can see why she had to come get us because it was a maze.
By the time we got to the hotel I knew that I wasn’t going to do an actual soundcheck, but I still wanted to go down to the club and talk to the folks, explain my setup and just let them see my face. So Jeff and I chatted with my aunt & uncle for a while, had a little wine and chilled until it was time to go to the club. I mapped out the route and headed there. We jumped on the Circle Line at Victoria and headed it Barbican where the club is.
When we got to the club, Tristan was cool that we weren't going to check. There were other bands waiting so that probably helped them a bit with the flow of things not to have to check one band. I wasn’t so concerned because I had a smaller set up for the night. I knew at that point that Max and Scott wouldn’t be able to make it so we were back to the small crew. I wasn’t stressed about the evening and Chris, the soundman, seemed cool with everything so Jeff and I headed back to the hotel to have dinner with my aunt & uncle.
My aunt wanted to have fish & chips, in London, before heading home. So she asked the concierge where we should go and he gave her the name of a spot he knew not to far from the hotel, on the other side of Victoria station. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it reminded me of the seafood spots in New England or on City Island in the Bronx where you can get fried seafood and only fried seafood and lots of it. LOL! You know the joints I’m talking about. Everything is fried. If you are looking for something else then you are in the wrong place. HA!
Anyway, we go there, check the menu and order. They had all kinds of fish to be fried on the menu. I think I got the haddock and was good to go. When they came out with those plates of fish & chips I would have thought I was back in America because those portions were huge! Much larger than I expected. I knew I couldn’t eat it all since I had to sing shortly, but I enjoyed what I could.
It was my aunt and uncle’s last day in London. They said they had a great time even though their stay was short. They had taken the train from Paris to London as I did, which they enjoyed as well and they got to see some sights near the hotel. This was their first trip to Europe so it was just amazing for them. I remember my aunt talking about Buckingham Palace and how seeing it made her think of her history lessons from school. I know exactly what she meant. I think that’s how I felt when I saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You know it’s there, but it’s a whole other thing to see it for yourself. Everyone should travel. I’ll say it again for all you American’s reading this blog. EVERYONE SHOULD TRAVEL! There is so much out there to see. Get yourself a passport and get out of wherever you are. This world is so much bigger than your commute to work and home everyday and your trip to the supermarket and church on the weekend. It’s huge people. Get out there. Stop letting your issues with “people” keep you home, or your financial “issues” keep you from going anywhere. We have money for what we WANT to have money for. Nuff said.
After dinner we went back to the hotel only to find out that the people of Egypt had won their fight and gotten Mubarack out of office! What a night! It was an amazing sight to see.
I changed my clothes at the hotel because I had seen the bathroom at the club before I left and I knew that was not going to work. I did my makeup and got all of my things together. Jeff and I said farewell to my aunt & uncle and headed back to the Circle Line to head back to the club.
Native Tongue reminds me of some of the smaller rock clubs that exist in New York. They are underground, dark, and often have lots of beer spilled on the floor or something sticky like that. Luckily Native Tongue did not have the beer soaked floor, but it is your typical “indie” rock club. I had played a Native Tongue event when I was in London in 2007. Back then they were doing their things at a spot called Edwards Hammersmith. It was upstairs from a restaurant called Edwards I believe. I knew that it was going to be a spot where there were more white people than people of color, but that was the point. That night at Edwards no one knew who I was, but folks were very cool to me and I met a great girl named Rhiannon who I have kept in touch with ever since.
Now Native Tongue has their own spot in EC1 and it is actually a cool little spot. As I said, it ain’t real swanky, but it is rock & roll. This difference between last time and this is that people came out to see me.
I was so excited to see some of my Michfest crew! What?? Michfest in London? Yes indeed. Last year in Michigan I met two sistas named Michelle and Yvonne. I told Michelle last year on the land that I wanted to go back to London and at that time she had an event she was doing so she said if I got there I could come through. So when I knew I was coming back to London I reached out, but by that time she wasn’t doing her event anymore. That was cool because it would be great to see her either way. Well low and behold, Michelle and Yvonne were in the house. Also Jeff’s friend Kelli came through and LyricL’s friend Arek came and Abdul from our Cargo hang on Monday night come through.
As I said, that night was the quintet. I really loved that setup. It was bass (me), drums (Tim), guitar/bass (Jeff), trombone (Hannabiell) and vocals/emcee (LyricL). That trombone really set it off. It also felt good to be on bass with the electric set because usually I’ll play bass with the acoustic set. It felt like a move forward for me on the bass front.
We did a short set that night. The songs for the evening (in no particular order) were blaK Girls (original version), Give it to Me, I Am American, Can’t Blame a Tree, Box and Go Head & Rise.
|We Got the Glow!|
|The Force if with me|
CLICK HERE to see the VIDEO from that night!
[The sounds is not the best, but I wanted to share the glow in action. :-D]
It was another amazing show and as you can see from the photos that my girl Michelle took we were glowing. LOL! I had such a good time doing that set. It was another amazing night. Many of the people who were there for the earlier bands stayed to hear us. I have to admit that I love making people think twice about the assumptions that they make about me before I even open my mouth. If you don’t know what I’m saying I’ll break it down. Basically when “folks” see me and my band setting up they often make an assumption about what kind of music we are going to play. Basically, we are black so we must be playing R&B or something of that sort. So when that doesn’t quite happen then they are intrigued for lack of a better term so they hang out and end up having a great time.
When the show was over Tristan, who owns the club, told me to give him more notice as to when I’m coming back to London so he could build a night around me. Now that’s what’s up! So I have to get back soon. Honestly I’m already hatching a plan.
We hung out for a bit and chatted with the folks who came out. This one young white guy who had a few, kept telling me about how much he didn't like R&B and how much his sister does, but how we made him rethink his position on R&B. I think what we really did was make him rethink his assumptions of black people in music. Score one for the team. Lol!
That night Tim was kind enough to give Jeff and I a ride home. Just one more blessing. That was the last night that I saw Tim during my trip. I really love that guy. He’s just such good people and so professional. If Matsu (my drummer here in NY) can’t be with me in Europe then it is Tim all day. Thanks Tim!
Yes indeed another day is down in London Town. There was still one more show to go and Jeff and I vowed to try and see one damn sight on Saturday before we had to be at the radio show in Brixton. Until tomorrow…