Tales from the Road: Ryan I and Triple Crown in NOLA
by Ryan I
Anytime you leave the house at 3 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. flight you know it’s going to be a long day. But when you reach your destination, city time seems to stand still as an overwhelming excitement rushes over you. Bobby Hustle and I landed in the great city of New Orleans at 2 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and within minutes we were engulfed by the vibe the city brought us.
We began our 6-day journey by getting some Lebanese food and rolling through town with our new friend Joe-L of I & I Sound System, who was our host and tour guide. After a short tour through town we went to the first of three rehearsals with Bobby & The Heigher Heights Band. Bobby Hustle is a Reggae artist from Seattle that we have worked with for four years—both as his DJ and helping with his management. The band and Bobby instantly bonded with each other and we knew the show on Saturday was going to be a good one.
Following rehearsal we went to our first DJ show. While there weren’t many people at the club, the people that were there had a great time and we were able to play a ton of exclusive Blessed Coast material. Anytime we get to do that, whether it’s for five or 500 people, it’s a successful night.
The next morning I found the proper coffee spot and headed back to the house to get ready for the day. Joe-L asked if we wanted to head out for a tour on the bikes so we figured why not. We grabbed the video camera and after riding around the city for nearly five hours on bike we made our way back home. The feeling in New Orleans is truly amazing. Cool people everywhere and the music just never stops.
We got back home, headed to the second night of rehearsal then got ready for the second show. This night was with one of New Orleans’ top DJs, DJ T-Roy of Bayou International, at a spot called The Dragons Den. After being there for only a few minutes I quickly realized where the name came from. The only way to combat the amount of smoke in there was to light something ourselves so we sparked some of NOLA’s finest and began to run tunes.
After a strong set we brought Bobby on stage. New Orleans became an instant fan of his with people banging on the walls and flashing their lighters as Bobby sang hit songs like “Kush Morning,” and “Weed Like Mine.” At the end of the night both Blessed Coast and Bobby Hustle had new fans. Mission accomplished.
Thursday was the day Triple Crown joined us. After holding down Wild Out Wednesday in Bellingham he went straight to SeaTac airport and caught the 6 a.m. flight to NOLA. I think we will all agree that Frontier Airlines has to be one of the worst airlines ever after getting to the gate and realizing it’s $100 just to carry on your bag! Needless to say Triple was a little angry when he landed but nothing that some NOLA Ethiopian food couldn’t fix. After lunch we hit the last rehearsal and it flew by as we could tell Bobby and the band had really began to form a bond. Following rehearsal we went back home and got ready for what was to be the highlight show of the tour for us.
We walked into The Blue Nile at about 11 p.m. and T-Roy already had the place bubbling. The venue was packed and we could tell people were there not just to party but to hear some quality reggae music. We touched the stage just after midnight and I have to say this was one of the best performances we have ever done. I was on the mic and Triple Crown was on the turn tables. We kicked off our set with pure Blessed Coast exclusives as an introduction and within 15 minutes the crowd was rocking with us. It was pure lighters in the air and hands banging on the wall. The reception we received coming all the way from Washington was unbelievable. To be able to play the music we love for a crowd like that is a feeling that we often only dream about.
Following our set we brought Bobby Hustle on stage and it was pure forwards again (Reggae talk for the crowd loving every song). It’s been an amazing journey watching Bobby grow as an artist over the last few years. It’s as if all the hard work has paid off when we see a club full of 300-plus people with smiles on their faces singing along to his music. We wrapped up the show and walked out of the club with smiles on our own faces that seemed to stay for the rest of the tour.
Saturday was the big night, the night of the show with Bobby Hustle & The Heigher Heights Band. Before we hit the show we had to make a stop at Blaq n Milds studio. We had heard of Black n Mild & Black Bliggy Black, but knew we had to meet the NOLA bounce kings and try to collaborate on some music. After an hour or so we left their studios with some exclusive NOLA Bounce music that will be coming out in the near future!
The show with Bobby and the band was the final show of the week and couldn’t have been a better way to end the tour. Watching someone you have worked with for years come to the stage and own it with a full band is truly rewarding. To see how far he has come since our first show with him opening for Collie Buddz at the Callaloo has been a journey that I don’t think any of us would ask to change. After the show it was evident that Bobby Hustle & Blessed Coast had made a new home away from home in New Orleans.
Our last day in town was supposed to just be a day of rest but in the city of New Orleans rest seems to always take a backseat to music. After walking to the coffee shop and back we were greeted by a marching band gathering in the street in front of our house for what’s called a “2nd line.” I could write a whole story on that day alone but I will just say we joined the march with about 30 people, and hours and thousands of people later we were back in front of the house with the band and everyone who had joined in. The feeling of community and togetherness was one that I will never forget and felt like reason alone to move to that city. This street party provided the ideal scene for a music video so we called in the camera crew and began filming for a new song from Bobby Hustle called “Real Recognize Real.” Just when we thought our journey in New Orleans couldn’t get any better here we were with permission from the NOLA PD shooting a video in the streets with the entire city of New Orleans as the cast. Thank you New Orleans for six days that none of us will ever forget, and watch out for the new “Real Recognize Real,” starring some of the realest people we’ve ever met.
Catch Blessed Coast Sound every Wednesday at The Wild Buffalo for Wild Out Wednesday. See www.blessedcoast.com