Sunday, August 9, 2009

European Tour Complete; Despite Predictions, Party Ben Survives

Not a lot of time here on Sunday afternoon in Paris to do a full update, especially considering the long stories that I could tell, but the Party Ben European Stimulus Tour 2009 concluded last night at La Lucha Libre here in Paris, on a wildly enjoyable note. Lucha Libre is a tiny little place with a basement, Paris-style, stone-vaulted-ceiling dance floor, and even with the crowd of about 100 or so, felt jam packed. It was also about 200 degrees down there, and by about an hour into my set, the button-up shirt I hadn't planned on wearing while DJing but had forgotten to change out of was completely soaked, and looked really disgusting. So, for I believe the second time on this tour, the shirt was removed, much to the (sarcastic?) approval of the crowd. I even threw it out to the audience. Gross, I know. But after the set, some guy presented it to me, nicely folded. France!

Many many thanks to Marco aka DJ Comar for arranging the party, and to the other DJs, PhatBastard, Gaston, and Gattino, plus all the awesome people who came out.

Amusingly, I guess someone linked to my earlier blog post about my "I can't seem to get a good French meal whenever I'm in France" curse over on the forums, so that's all anybody talked to me about. Someone would come up to me, and say hello, I really enjoyed your set, and I hear you have trouble getting good food in France? I hope you get to eat something nice." Again, I want to make clear that the food at Lucha Libre is great, it's just, you know, the same as I can get at any taqueria or, better yet, taco truck, in SF, so that's what the point was there.

Friday night of course I played with DJ Moule and Loo & Placido at the Festibaloche in Olargues, which turned out to be a tiny, minscule, medieval village in the semi-mountainous area of , and getting there required a 4-hour train from Barcelona (again, more on that trauma later), and then a 2-hour car ride from Montpellier up winding roads to the little village. Organizers had set up a stage in the village square in the center of town, a completely incongruous stack of speakers and lights amidst the 1000-year-old stone houses. I was added to the lineup late, since they didn't know I was in Europe, and they'd already booked Moule and L&P, so I did the "warmup" set, and while it was pretty much stand-around-and-drink time, 9:30-11 or so, it was still a lot of fun. Afterwards, despite my exhaustion, the organizers demanded I stay for their little afterparty, where some of the local DJs were playing amazing old vinyl on a couple record players, and of course knew all about the new cumbia scene and my friend Disco Shawn's label Bersa Discos. That guy is famous. Anyway, much love to all the Festibaloche guys, especially Romain for organizing it all and to my namesake Benjamin, who drove me to and from Montpellier, and despite insane beachgoing traffic on Saturday morning (and my nervous nail-biting freakouts) managed to get me to the airport in plenty of time. And was also a hilarious and sweet guy, although he did practically force me to drink about 10 beers more than I wanted to.

They also drank this thing down there called "Marquis Zed" which from what I could tell appeared to be some sort of combination of rose wine and a light fruity juice or some sort of lemonade. Delicious, and totally hangover central.

Again, apologies for the minimalist post without pictures -- the internet connection here at the Hotel Republique in Paris is glacially slow and I don't want to spend my last day here watching my Flickr uploader crawl along. Tomorrow, train to Frankfurt, then Tuesday, my marathon 4-flight insanity begins: Frankfurt-Toronto, Toronto-La Guardia, La Guardia-Washington D.C., Washington D.c. - San Francisco. If you have to ask, it has to do with the fact that I had a DJ gig in NYC on the way to Europe and it just wasn't possible to do a straightforward 3-leg trip for less than like $4000. Buying the SFO-NYC and NYC-Frankfurt legs separately, and allowing them to have a stop, made the whole combo cost about $680. Although after the 3rd stopover I may start to feel that my sanity would have been worth the extra 3 grand. We'll see.

Stay tuned for the Barcelona train story, you don't want to miss it, as well as my "winners and losers" of the tour, and the by-the-numbers breakdown of fascinating tour statistics. Now can anybody remind me where my apartment is?

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