Me, “Possessed of what the French call an ‘I don’t know what'” (Photo by Jinni Lyons)

Tuesday night was the third run out of Excursions at Tamesis Dock. Part rap, jazz, hip hop and funk classics night on a boat, part hangout with music enthusiasts, and part marvel of musical and lyrical skill, it is even more than the sum of its parts.
Put together by frequent co-collaborators Rob Grundel and Dave Waller, it’s basically old school hip hop, jazz and funk and freestyle rhymes on a boat. But last night’s Excursions was something special.

Some highlights:

  • The mysterious Czech flute legend who showed up to play Sure Shot and jam along with the band 
  • DJ Chillex’s perfectly pitched bowtie-clad all-Beasties set 
  • Rob Grundel’s rendition of Gil-Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
  • Musical comedy wizards and friends Horse & Louis bringin out some old school rhymes
  • Dave Waller and Rhiannon Vivian’s version of ODB’s “Baby I got your money” 
  • Getting the chance to throw down Nobody’s Perfect, the first rap song that I’ve written in a long long time
  • Topping the night off with an epic freestyle battle that was won, as you might expect, by Abandoman‘s Rob Broderick. He definiteively proved that, as bad-ass as the Incredible Hulk is, he can’t fuck with Super Mario.

The whole thing was sweet as candy. The Tamesis Dock is perfectly suited for this kind of low-down funk-up. It feels a little bit like a friend’s basement, but more on the water. The standing room only crowd was right into it, and the band and MCs threw down like I’d not seen before. I got to rock Kick Push by Lupe Fiasco, and then a first outing of brand new ink-still-wet hip hop number, both of which were thrilling for me. And the final freestyle battle was epic.

But, even considering the level of talent, professionalism and slickness, Excursions maintained its vibe as a fun collaborative space. On what other nautical vessel would I get the opportunity to hang out with some of my favourite people, listen to and perform some of my favourite songs with an incredible live band?

This line from Nobody’s Perfect sums it up for me:

Only two things matter: an anchor and hope/
Don’t get wet or upset, set up and rock the boat

And that we did. That we did.