Cage and EL-P in London
Cage en EL-P gaven een exclusieve show in Londen. Buitenland of niet HIJS ging bijna vanzelfsprekend een kijkje nemen in de stad van gekke politieagenten, de towerbridge en veel hiphop.
It all started when I read on the Def Jux website that Cage and El-P would be coming over to London to do a show. There were 6 days to go, so I had to be quick with booking the flight. Telling my partner in crime Warhead about the situation, he was a bit hesitant in the beginning but ended up wanting it more than me, so we immediately booked our flights and started waiting for the big day.
This was not going to be easy. I had to travel from the wonderful town of Middelburg to Rotterdam, and then to Eindhoven the next day. All by train and we all know that the NS is everything BUT on time these days. Warhead would have to make a somewhat similar trip, but from Utrecht-Rotterdam-Eindhoven. We were really in for something, because War had never flown before and I didn’t know if this guy was going to flip out when he got on the airplane, so this was definitely going to be an experience.
Meeting up in Rotterdam the night before, we hit some bars and argued over how Buck 65’s career is going further away from rap every day. Trying to hit on some girls after a few more beers and not doing so well, we started heading back home. The plan was to get enough rest for what could possibly be one of the longest days of our lives (no hotel, two flights, finding the venue, etc etc). I could hear Mr.Warhead snoring in the living room, but it was a different story for me. Getting only three hours of sleep, I knew that my head would be a mess the next day.
So getting up around 5:00am we headed outside towards Rotterdam Central with the sky still dark. Getting on the train towards Eindhoven, something not so surprising at all happened, the train stopped in the middle of nowhere. Now luckily, we took an early train because we knew this would happen, but when the train just stood there for around 20 minutes, things were beginning to get hectic. These cheap charter flights couldn’t care less if you made your flight or not, so we really had to be there on time. Luckily we made it to Eindhoven, but now a new stress came our way. The bus to the airport wasn’t leaving for another 10 minutes which meant we were really cutting it close. Luckily we made it, even though getting on a different airplane and going to Antalya (the check in counter next to ours) did seem doable for a second…
The airplane flight to London was a short one, and I immediately noticed the strong security that was occupying the area. Quite understandable, since the bomb incidents happened less than a week ago, but it was also possible to see that the people were uptight. We saw an American tourist getting kicked off the bus because he refused to put his bag in the space on the bottom. Crazy shit.
Setting foot in London, the first thing we decided to do was hit up the famous Piccadilly Circus. No, this place is not filled with lions and clowns, but more of fashionable stores and the huge Virgin records building. Not really impressed by their collection, we decided to check out the London Bridge. Not really knowing where it was and deciding to walk (since the weather was so beautiful), we asked a cop where this historical bridge would be. “Oi mate, it’s a 15 minute walk that way” was the reply we got but after 45 minutes of walking and not being near it, we got slightly ticked off. But check the pictures, we look hot!
Finding the venue was not too difficult, even though we had to talk to cops once again:
“Uhmm hello, do you know where this is?” (showing the flyer)..
- “Hmm no, what is it?”
“93 Feet East.. It’s a club”
- “Clubs aren’t open now, you can’t go clubbin’ at this hour mate”
“I know, but we want to check out a show”
- “what show?”
- “oi? Who’s rappin’? Slim Shady?”
Arriving at the nice venue which hosted names such as Atmosphere, Large Pro, and Clouddead in the past, we sat down for a while and later on completed our interviews with Cage and El-P (soon to be online!). Deciding to roam the streets of London a bit more, we saw a guy carry some sort of dead animal on his back on his way to the butcher shop. Very hygienic I must say. We were also offered to buy some bootleg DVD’s by a small Chinese woman, but we smiled and said no (although the one with the horses did seem interesting, ha, just kidding, it was all Hollywood crap).
Finally, it was show time. We had been up since 5am, traveled with airplanes, walked for kilometers, got lost at times, but none of that mattered now. DJ Big Wiz started doing some crazy shit on his turntables while starting us off with Eric B and Rakim. The London crowd was already jumping wildly, and when Cage took the stage opening up with “Good Morning NY” the people really started feeling the vibe. Cage has changed drastically, but in a very positive way. He doesn’t look like an MC, has stopped wearing “urban” gear, and is much more down to earth now (especially during the interview).
Storming the stage with El-P, the two underground legends mixed in a dope setlist which switched off between Cage’s new record, Movies for the Blind, Company Flow, and Fantastic Damage bangers. It was nice to see the two MC’s knowing each other’s lyrics almost perfectly, and therefore executing the back vocals even stronger. When “Deep Space 9mm” started being pumped out of the speakers, the whole venue went berserk, and I felt many pushes and elbows to my sides.
The ultimate “Holy God this is the best show I’ve seen in my life” moment came when the music faded, the death-like bassline started kicking in, and Cage said into his microphone:
“There was me, Alex.. and three of my mens,,
All supposed to meet at Korova Milk Bar
The Korova Milk Bar couldn’t afford it’s liquor license, so.”
and we knew that this place was going to lift off the ground!! “AGAINST THE MACHINE LIKE RAGE, BITCHES SAY I HATE YOU CAGE!” and I found myself on the other side of the venue in a mere 5 second time span. The place was jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow, and it was beautiful to see.
The craziness continued with tracks such as “Vital Nerve” and “Fantastic Damage.” The girls in the venue were getting just as wild as the guys, and it was one big mess. El-P hit us with a new track off his album entitled “Drive Drive Drive” which talked about driving. Very different from his previous work, it had more of a clean sound to it. Maybe El-P is done with his crazy bleeps (as we can hear from his production for Cage and C-Rayz Walz), but I highly doubt it. Make sure you check out the El-P interview to be published soon, because we have the world premiere to the title of the record.
DJ Big Wiz showed immense turntable skills and it worked very well with the Cage and El-P set. Other Cage bangers like “Too Much” and “Teenage Death” entered our ears, but also the newer and more mature work like “Scenester” and the chaotically-melodic “Hell’s Winter” was executed with finesse. Cage is back, he has cleaned up, and he is doper than ever. Props to the man.
The show was unfortunately over and I was sweating like a pig. My sides were hurting, but I had one hell of a time. The moshpits that took place that evening would even make the toughest Slipknot fan proud. We heard new El-P material, finally got to see Cage live, re-lived our favorite El-P tracks, and had an all-round great day. Next stop: Hiphop Kemp in the Czech Republic.
Hoogtepunt: Every damn second of the show.
Dieptepunt: I wish it lasted 3 hours.
Bezoekers: Full house
Damage: 10 Pounds