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Music: Europe Gets Ill

Local Hip Hop artist Ill Poetic tours Europe and lives to tell about it

By ill poetic · May 14th, 2008 · Music
  Ill Poetic
Dale M. Johnson

Ill Poetic

Editor's Note: Late last year, local MC/producer Ill Poetic followed up a Midwest tour with a three-and-a-half-week jaunt in Europe. The tour (also featuring artists like Pharoahe Monch, Necro and OC) took the local Hip Hop artist to Germany, Romania, Switzerland and other countries. Below are excerpts from his trip blogs/diaries.

Day 1
This trip had a crazy lead-up. I had to drive to Chicago to get my passport two days before I left, which wasn't fun.

My mom drove me to the Dayton airport. I got luggage checked in and eventually got seated. I was finally prepared fly all the way to ... Cincinnati. (There) I had to switch planes and re-prepare to fly all the way to ... Frankfurt, Germany.

The on-flight movie was License to Wed, so I got plenty of sleep.

I landed at 9:15 a.m. Friday morning and caught a train headed to Zurich, Switzerland (the first show date). It sounds so easy, but it's not. My ticket and my schedule had two different transfer points, so of course I got off at the wrong one. I finally found my way back on a train headed to Zurich, but I don't know how.

All the while, mind you, I've had to pee for a few hours and I'm carrying all my luggage and a huge Tupperware container full of merchandise. Once I got to the Zurich train station/mall, I was supposed to meet the DJ/tour manager, Manuu. Couldn't find him, so I wandered around aimlessly while fashionable Swiss teens were (possibly) laughing at me because I was walking around with a Tupperware container. I felt like Elaine in the Korean nail salon on Seinfeld.

Eventually I found a restroom, but it costs to get in. So I had to exchange my Euros for Francs ('cause everyone has to be different) and then finally pee. Eventually, I caught a cab to the venue, which was thankfully (just) up the street.

Additional thoughts: Computer keyboards in Europe switch the "y" and "z" around, so I keep typing "mzspace.com" and I still can't find the @ sign.

Fuck. Also, gas stations sell porn -- real shit -- right next to US Weekly and People. It's cool. And German.

Show 2 (Beil, Switzerland)
Man, I slept in the hotel 'til sound check. Me, Manuu, Lamonte (OC's manager), Stress and Reef (my DJ) headed up to the venue. It looked like a bomb shelter with graffiti all over it, inside and out. After sound check, we headed back to the hotel just in time to see Amy Winehouse split performing on the European MTV awards.

Around 11 p.m. we headed back to the venue with everyone. Packed crowd, like 1,000 people, but way more reserved as far as reaction. We found out later this is just how people there act at shows. Zurich was definitely more energetic.

This is the first set of shows I've done where it feels like, "Damn, this is some big shit. This is the type of concert I go to Bogart's in Cinci and pay 20 bucks for, only I'm part of it." Mind blowing.

It's so cool because this feels like personal success. This is the type of shit I had dreams about doing one day ... and it happened. I'm still kind of numb to everything, just trying to breathe it in every time I get the chance.

Additional quotes: "Brad Pitt, he is nothing! He is chicken man!!" Our tour manager's mom said this about American male celebrities. (She digs George Clooney, though).

"What is this, monkey brains? You want me to eat some fuckin' monkey brains? Cuz I'll do it," Reef said this about the delicacies at a Thai restaurant down the street from the office we're staying at.

Show 6 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Everyone's a little homesick. We're at the half point of the tour, so everyone's re-adjusting. Personally, my sleep patterns are all fucked up.

The thing about touring is, time only matters for sound checks and shows. Nothing else. I've pretty much been on the road (a month and half) and it all feels like a long day that gets light and dark.

The hotel we're in is next-level shit. This is the future. There's a moat around the hotel. Inside looks like The Jetsons.

The show with Necro was fuckin crazy. This was the first show that felt like it coulda been in the Jay-Z backstage movie ... like, real shit. We hung out with Danish porn stars. That was cool.

After leaving the fly hotel in Copenhagen, we headed to this spot called Christiana. I've never seen anything like it. Christiana is in its own village and society, nearly separate from Copenhagen. It's kind of a commune -- graffiti everywhere, kids running around, dogs everywhere, open air drug market, skateboard ramp in a shack that looks like where 2Pac and Dre stood in the "California Love" video, muddy paths, etc. Surreal.

Eventually we get to the slightly less fancy hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Six people, one room. We watched the 30 Rock DVD all night. Good shit.

Random thoughts: Me and Reef smoked hash out of a human skull. (That's a lie, kinda. Well, the skull part.) Peanut butter tastes weird here. Holland is amazing looking. The women in Copenhagen? Yeeeessssss. German porn is disturbing.

Last Show (Munster, Germany)
All right, I'm at the airport, which means this is my last Europe blog.

The last few days have been fuckin' insane. Good insane. Just insane.

Reef, Stress and E flew out with Manuu to Bucharest, Romania. I couldn't make it out there unfortunately, so me and Dirk (the other tour manager) headed to Munster a couple days early.

Went to this joint called the Go Go dance club. Packed. Good Hip Hop. Women. Dancing. Drinks. (Out) 'til like 5 in the morning.

No hangover!!! Yes.

We chilled at the venue that housed our last show for a couple days. Partied with the owner. I found out my last name, Gmeiner, is German for either "meaner," "common" or, in the 13th century, "mayor" or "leader." That was interesting.

Munster was our last show of the tour. We rocked with Necro again. Him and his camp, cool as hell. Nice to see them again. The show was packed. Fuckin' killed it.

This might be my favorite show of the tour. The crowd was so into the set. They were going crazy for an a cappella. Might be my favorite crowd of the tour.

Afterward, Stress spun an afterparty 'til about 3 in the morning. Then we all eventually passed out.

I wanted to catch an early flight home today to catch the (Cincinnati Entertainment Awards), but it didn't work out. Ehhh.

So, if I win, my "thank yous" go like this: God, Lance Dickerson for making me use more cowbell, Tina Fey. I had to edit the list down, or I'll forget people.

(PS: I didn't win.) ©

For more of ILL POETIC's European tour diary, go to myspace.com/illpoetic.



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