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   Now in our tenth calendar year
    PCR #505  (Vol. 10, No. 48)  This edition is for the week of November 23--29, 2009.

"Old Dogs"  by Mike Smith
Show Review: Renninger's Antique Extravaganza 2009  by ED Tucker
Utada’s Shot at the U.S. Market  by Jason Fetters
I Visit The Slaughterhouse  by John Miller
Like Father Like Son .... See You In Hell (you, Not Me) .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2 by Mike Smith
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Lampin at the 6th Borough by John Miller

I Visit the Slaughterhouse

Monday, November 16, 2009 started out just as any other. Exhausted from a weekend of mental abuse from the ol' lady, a bank account slowly being shredded to pieces and another early morning commute through rush hour traffic to my barely above minimum wage temp gig stuffing / folding boxes at the scar tissue removal gel factory. Yes, life was indeed a barrel of monkeys and I was beneath their feet getting stomped into the collection of wet feces that had accumulated near the bottom.

There was hope though, one shimmer of good still within arm's reach. The millennium's best rap group and a personal favorite of mine, Slaughterhouse, was coming to town as part of Tech N9nes K.O.D. Tour and not only was I finally going to get to see them perform live, my main man Kramer, a professional autograph seeker by trade had assured me that by the end of the evening we would be walking away with signed memorabilia and photos as well. Things were momentarily looking up.

Thankfully, the hierarchy at my job found it in their hearts and pocketbooks to allow a few of us to un- voluntarily take the afternoon off. They didn't have to ask twice and I didn't need clarification. I peeled out that piece quick, fast and in a hurry. After running a few afternoon errands I stopped by the crib for a few minutes to shower, shave, watch a Gianna Michael's movie, grab my camera then bounce downtown to the glorious State Theater on Central Ave.

Like a dummy I thought it would be a bright idea to park safely in the notoriously unsafe parking garage across from the recently foreclosed upon and barely surviving Baywalk complex. As a resident of St. Petersburg and expert on all things seven-two-seven I should have realized before indebting myself to parking garage fee's that the State Theater was a damn near ten minute walk away and has a abundance of parking nearby. No worries, I could use the exercise and it was nice to stroll through my city at dusk.

Rapper Joe Budden signing autographs.
Arriving at around 6:30 PM to the back alley way behind the State Theater I was greeted by Kramer who gave me the low down on who was where and what was what. By this time he had already received autographs from and photos with two of the four Slaughterhouse members, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz. Parked along the street were three tour buses, one of which was wrapped in graphics of Tech N9ne and the artist signed to his label. This bus seemed to be the central hub where everyone from rappers to roadies and anybody in between stopped to chill.

Before the boredom of waiting around for autographs could set in, some dreadlocked guy with a portable beat machine wondered by to tell us how cool he was and how he was going to sell beats to any rapper with a moment to hear his sales pitch. We listened attentively as he wowed us with tales of bullshit. Traveling back and fourth from New York to Miami, how he DJ's in nightclubs, so on and so fourth. Once he caught on that nobody was believing a thing he had to say, he just sort of wondered around until every rapper that would listen to him proceeded to laugh him off. When he finally caught the attention of rapper Joe Budden through the window of the tour bus, he was reduced to begging for an autograph. Then just sort of vanished after that.

Shortly there after rap legend Crooked I was spotted stepping out of the tour bus and heading towards the club, I approached him about a picture and he graciously agreed. Heck, he even insisted we walk over to a place with better lighting. When the first picture came out like crap he had no problem taking a second one. The highlight though was when he leaned in to tell me how awesome my Public Enemy shirt was.

Kramer and a friend of his decided they could no longer hang out sober so they headed somewhere to buy pot, another kid hanging around decided it was time for pizza and I was just sort of stuck loitering around by myself. Which was cool because it provided me with one of those unique fan moments you can only get when stepping out of the house and attending an event. Some college kid and I sparked up a conversation and come to find out he had driven all the way from Miami to see Slaughterhouse and get a photo he had taken with Joe Budden autographed. The kicker was that he had to be back in Miami by 6 AM to attend school. Now that's dedication.

Me with rapper Tech N9ne.
One by one fans casually milled around snapping photos of tour buses before eventually vanishing into the ether. By the time opening acts could be heard warming up the crowd, the appearance of curious fans seemed to drop off completely. Leaving just me, Kramer, his friend and some other kid to bug any celebrities that crossed our prescience. When the action started slowing to a stand still Kramer lit up a joint and the laughs rolled in. Before long someone grabbed a football from their car and a game of monkey in the middle broke out in the parking lot. Surprisingly I still got my hands, considering I haven't caught a football in nearly a decade I was quite pleased with myself. My knee's weren't so forgiving. Joe Buddens assistant even came out and throwed the pigskin around for a few. Good times.

Next thing I knew independent rap superstar Tech N9ne stepped out of his tour bus to happily snap a few photos. We were about to find out why he was so happy. The girl who we thought was his groupie came back to his tour bus with another groupie. This one more trashy then the last. We saw Tech N9ne probably four more times that night. Each time we were greeted by a peace sign and the sight of a different skeezoid limping off of the bus. Although not so much a fan, I have a lot of respect for this guy. He doesn't strive for mainstream success, stays independent to make the kind of music he wants, has a rabid cult following of devoted fans and tours constantly banging at least four chicks before each show (or so I'd assume). That is amazing.

Arriving in a beat up taxi cab was none other then Royce Da 5'9. Casual fans may remember Royce from his appearance on Eminems crappy mainstream debut The Slim Shady LP. He was featured on the albums best song Bad Meets Evil. Since then Royce has sort of stuck around independently until becoming one fourth of Slaughterhouse. He took pictures, signed autographs and gave us his personal email address to mail him some pictures.

With just minutes standing between him getting off the tour bus and taking the stage, Joe Budden, the guy we basically came to see, finally got off of the tour bus. He signed in a rush, followed by his assistant who was holding a laptop that was recording the action live on what I assume was Joe Budden TV. Unfortunately he was reluctant to snap a photo because of his rush to get on stage. Joell Ortiz on the other hand was more then happy to snap a photo (I missed him earlier). Just when we had given up on Joe he quietly agreed to a group shot, our mission was complete. Everything was signed, all photos were snapped and life was good. Slaughterhouse was about to take the stage.

Slaughterhouse on stage.
I said adios to Kramer and headed around to the entrance of the State Theater to purchase a ticket and see the show. When I got to the front I was interrogated by a security guard and felt up by a metal detector. Following what I think was a cavity search, I finally got to unload $25 on the counter and given a wrist band to enter the club. What sucked is that ten minutes later I realized that in my rush to get in the door it occurred to me that the muscle strapped bouncer at the entrance gave me the wrong change back. Damnit! Oh well, I was just in time to catch Slaughterhouse before all four members took to the stage.

Sadly their set only lasted roughly a half hour or so before being shuffled off the stage for Tech N9ne. But boy, what a half hour! I am a casual concert goer and attend as many shows as I can. So I know a good hip hop show when I see it. This was by far one of the most entertaining performances I have witnessed to date. Right up there with PE and KRS-One. A lot of guys show up with an attitude and do a half hours worth of show in two hours. These guys gave it everything they had and made the most of their limited set.

I left after Slaughterhouses performance, lacking any interest in seeing Tech N9ne. Though I do regret that decision because it would have been nice to stay longer and witness one of the most popular artist in the indie circuit. But the night wasn't so much about seeing a good concert, it was about me rediscovering who I am in spite of all the bullshit I have put myself through recently. At 26 years old I should be focused on career and family, but that's not who I am. Instead I was sweating it out in a dirty downtown alley getting high (second hand ofcourse) and playing football, laughing it up with friends and mingling with rappers, just where I belong. Life is to short to be taking lip service from ungrateful girlfriends or dreading the thought of having to slum for an hourly paycheck. Both of those things can be replaced, being a unique individual with the freedom to have the kind of random night I had cannot.

Pictures of the night in question are available @ my personal Myspace page. Check 'em out!

"Lampin' @ The 6th Burrough" is ©2009 by John Miller.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.