So last week what I would say has been the highlight of my musical career and journey happened. Inspired Flight opened for Thievery Corporation at House of Blues in San Diego, and the way it all played out was just incredible. It’s a little strange to think of the experience as the highlight of my career so far because there have been so many other epic experiences over the past year, but it’s kind of like each new one outdoes the previous, and I feel so blessed (I am so blessed) to be having so many wonderful things happen that all challenge each other as the coolest thing I’ve ever done so far with music. Since Inspired Flight got picked up and represented by Madison House as a booking agency about a year ago we have opened for Bonobo, played a number of amazing music festivals, played a bunch of shows with Beats Antique, I’ve met and kicked it with Inspectah Deck, we’ve done a handful of tours, flown and played shows out of state, played with Emancipator, and now opened for Thievery Corporation. There has been even more cool stuff that has happened I’m not remembering or am not mentioning right now, but these are the highlights all in contention for highlight of my career. I suppose in each one’s own way they are all a tie for the coolest thing I’ve experienced so far on my musical path, but here is what happened just over a week ago to make me say I feel like the Thievery Corporation show takes the cake.
I got a call on Wednesday, 9/14, saying that we got to open for Thievery Corporation on the upcoming Sunday, 9/18, for their make-up show at House of Blues since the original one was the night of the crazy, historical blackout that worked San Diego. Funny enough the blackout caused a bunch of huge pains in my ass, but all the while the cards were lining up, unbeknown to me, to allow iF to get this show. Funny how things work out sometimes… So we get this epic show to just fall into our lap out of the blue, and it’s super short notice, and just super crazy and exciting. By the way, if for some reason you aren’t familiar with Thievery Corporation let me just say that they rule super hard, and are hugely successful and famous for what they do, and playing with them is kind of a big deal, and a great honor. Anywho, Sunday rolls around and we show up at the venue, get all set up, do a good, thorough sound check, and then we wait for the big moment! And…..and…..and……..there is nobody at all in the venue : ( It’s well past doors and the place is empty, and I was kind of confused and a little bummed when someone on HOB staff explains that there was a gnarly flood in the room right next to the room with all of the electrical for the entire venue/restaurant, and that the show was possibly going to be called off till the next day, and that they weren’t letting anybody in until they got this flood resolved. This was very bizarre news to say the least. What ended up happening is that they couldn’t get the flood controlled enough to risk putting on the show, and a long line of impatient and uninformed fans were told after an hour and a half of waiting past the original doors time that there was no show, and it was moved to the next night, Monday. This seemed like a bad thing to me at first, but iF was still getting to open the next night, and we were able to leave all of our stuff at the venue, set up on the stage and ready to go, so it wasn’t really so bad, and regardless it was just one of those things where you really just have to go with the flow and not care. Well, this second, crazy cancellation of the Thievery SD show totally sucked for their fans, which kind of bummed me out to see, but it ended up being so awesome for us for networking and just meeting new, cool people. We had chatted a lot and bro’d down pretty well with the MC Mr. Lif while waiting for word about the flood, and he ended up inviting us with him back to the hotel that the whole Thievery camp was staying at for drinks at the hotel bar. Sunday night ended up being a super chill night of great conversation, food, and drinks with a bunch of people from the Thievery band and crew, and it was so cool to hang out in a context that had nothing to do with playing a show together. What made this so cool, I must clarify, isn’t the fact that it was Thievery Corporation, rather it is the fact that everyone involved with Thievery Corporation is really genuine and super cool. If they were all dicks it wouldn’t have felt special just because it’s “Thievery Corporation.” But these are great people and we had good times.
Now for Monday, day of the actual show. This time getting to the venue was so chill because everything was set up, plus there wasn’t any of that anxiety of meeting everyone in the band. Instead it was like, “Hey, what’s up man? Good to see you again…” kind of a thing, which was cool. Then we played for a crowd more receptive to what we do than any other we have ever played for, with the exception of a rather enthusiastic and drunk crew at a house party we did in SD once who knew the words to every song and shouted them along with us (that was awesome). But this crowd was mainly people who had never heard us before, and they responded so positively and strongly to our set! Plus we were told by everyone we know who was there who has been following us since the beginning that it was the best performance we had ever done by far. I have no idea why this would be, but if it’s true then that’s awesome, because Thievery Corporation watched us play our best show we ever did. If there was ever a time to be on point, this Monday night was it. And it was so cool that much of Thievery Corp. actually checked out at least part of our set, instead of not caring and totally ignoring us as the opener. Then, after we played, we were shown a lot of love and respect by the whole Thievery band and camp! It was so rad… Then Thievery Corp. played an incredible show that we got to watch alongside them from the sides of the stage, which in itself was such a treat; just non-stop awesomeness! It totally gets better though : ) After the show our singer that night, Erica Dee, and I set up a cipher on the street corner outside with Ras Puma and Lif, which Ras Puma had filmed and said would eventually make its way onto YouTube. Once it’s there I will add it to this blog post. But video or no video it was so much fun to have a random freestyle session together on the street all late at night. Good times! Then I had a lot of fun kicking it with everyone backstage for awhile, just shooting the shit and meeting more, new, cool people. As the night was winding down it was just about a third of the band left, a few of their friends, plus me and our merch guy, Kyle. Thievery wanted to go out to a bar so we all walked across downtown together to La Puerta, and then got the royal treatment by being let in even though the place was about to close and they weren’t letting anybody in anymore. We were told to go to the back, which was designated for Thievery, and then the staff proceeded to walk around with trays full of either mugs of cold beer with limes in them, or nice tequila shots in cool glasses with limes, all for free. It was definitely a trip for me, and the first time I’ve been part of anything like that. Lets just say that is definitely not how I roll, but there I was, and I was rolling with it, and it was great fun. I met even more cool, new people, and also got to bro down more with some of the band members I had been already hanging with a lot. When the bar finally closed all of the Thievery people got into cabs and took off back to the hotel, and Kyle and I walked back across the Gaslamp District to House of Blues, super high off life and the events of the night. I am still high off the whole two-night experience! So from all of that happening, plus Rob Garza, one of the main guys of Thievery Corporation’s core duo, telling us how much he liked our stuff and that he wanted a vinyl of ours (which we fully gave him), it was probably the highlight of my career so far. It may sound dorky, but I totally framed one of the show posters. I haven’t put it up yet for some reason, but I am looking forward to when I do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do that : )
Man, I just realized that this year isn’t even over yet. What amazing adventure lies ahead? What is it going to be that outdoes this one? Maybe Radiohead will want us to clean their swimming pool, or perhaps Damon Albarn will hear our album and beg us to play frisbee with him. Or maybe Paul McCartney will discover us and ask me to shave his balls. A man can dream, can’t I? Well, whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to it, and I trust it’s coming. I feel like this is all just the beginning, but even if it were all the end and I die tomorrow, or the Yellowstone caldera blows next Thursday, or whatever, it’s been so cool. Like, cooler than cool…like…ice cold…
Our stuff set up in front of Thievery Corporation’s stuff before the show.
Cool view of Thievery Corporation performing, looking right over the sitar case.