Tales from the Road: No Sleep til Tour

by TRAVIS “HEIST” CONFER

photo of Mostafa and Heist, by CYBORG

Mostafa, Heist and Dextro embarked on a journey to 22 cities from Feb. 28 to March 26, 2016 for their own “No Sleep til Tour.” The three of them and a bunch of gear crammed into Dextro’s two door Tuscani and hit the ground running. Heist logged some of the more notable stories that transpired from their adventure.

March 2 – Corvallis, OR – Bombs Away
Bombs Away is pretty calm, medium sized pizza spot near the Oregon State University campus. After dark however, all the Beavers bumrush this place for a fat slice, a late night drink and a ruckus show. We played with a local named Nappy THC, who turned up the crowd with his raging crew of self proclaimed “hippy hoppers.” The show got so hype at one point that there was pepperoni slices being thrown across the room. People were there to bounce and go wild. The loudest crowd of the tour was this city! After the show, the sound guy backed into a car while we were loading our gear out…..yikes….crazy night.

March 5 – Reno, NV – Singers Social Club
Finally out of the NW!! Our first week of tour was done when we hit Reno and we were on a roll. When we showed up to the venue, another artist joked with us about how the guys from Washington brought the rain to the desert. Haven’t heard that one before! Haha. Reno is an insomniacs dream, it’s a 24-7 delight of gambling, shiny objects and booze. The venue did not close until there were no drinkers left, which just so happened to be 6:30 am. Dextro ran an enduarance trial of DJing on himself by playing tunes from 7pm-2:30am. Seven and a half hours straight….

March 10 – San Francisco, CA – The Showdown
At this point, this was our fourth California show and our second one in San Fran. We had gotten to cruise around the city before and check out Haight Ashbury and the Golden Gate Bridge, but this last SF show was in the Mission district. This chunk of town reminded me of Gotham City, man. You see everyday people but everyone had a grimy side to them. We watched a dude get irritated at a clerk in a pizza joint we went to before the show. He threw his chicken wings on the ground in front of the trashcan as he left in spite. When we finished eating, we cleared our table like normal routine and the clerk was shockingly grateful. I left shaking my head in humorous irony. The bar we played was shady and dark but lit up as soon as showtime hit though. It was a good turning point. That night had a great variety of MCs. Everything from Nerdcore to trance to boom bap and even some London style Grime by a guy named Cre8 from Brighton Beach in England. All those artist came to shine and bring some light to that cooky part of town. San Fran is special.

March 12 – Santa Ana, CA – Jasper’s Bar and Grill
This show was a fun one because the first half was 80’s rock bands and then next half was all us with the hard thumping rap tunes. Interesting dichotomy happening there. Met a few rappers from Figueroa area of LA who were really glad to see some new guys doing the boom bap thing. I was vibing to a guy named KBF3 who played that night. He had a Kendrick Lamar meets DJ Quik style going. It was hype.
Luckily, the next day we had off, so Dextro and I took the 40 minute drive to LA and checked it out. We made the whole route around, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Downtown, etc. It was a helluva feeling to cruise down Rodeo Drive listening to Travis Scott’s “Rodeo” album. Even had In-N-Out burger to add the cherry on top to a chill surreal day. It was a good end to the Cali section of the tour…..still running on very little sleep too…haha. Off to the Southwest!!

March 15 – Las Vegas, NV – The Artifice
Insomnia PART 2! Just like Reno, Vegas doesn’t rest. We played a sleek venue named the Artifice. It was set up like a New York jazz club. Subtle lighting and abstract art on the walls. Plus a smokey cigarette haze to add effect because Nevada doesn’t give a shit about your second-hand sensitivities. I was glad we had a wireless mic because the crowd was in a “sit-n-watch” mood there. People were stoked when they saw Mostafa and I moving around the whole bar during our sets. We got them moving after a couple tracks. It was a fun and relaxed performance.
I might have indulged in a bit of the herbs the locals were puffing and ended up wondering around the Strip in a psychedelic daze with Dextro after the show. Once realizing I wasn’t even close to having the right amount of cash to be comfortable on the New Strip, we decided to hit Old Vegas and explore with our new homie MC Lyfe. Oh, by this time it was 4am. After another 2 hours with a $12 Hennessy bottle and roulette tables we finally crashed on a hotel room floor for 3 hours and then jetted off to the next city….

March 17 – Phoenix, AZ – Tempe Tavern
St. Paddy’s Day fell on this day in sunny Arizona! The city was perfect for happy drunkards to stroll into a random rap show and see us perform. The show packed out and a really good band hosted by an MC named Prophetiko brought a groovy set to the green beer drinkers. I was excited to play there because my mom and brother flew out for that show. Also a couple of friends who used to live in B-Ham came through and showed love. It was a family affair that night!
After eating the best Mexican food of the whole tour, we crashed out at my brothers friends car shop. Got to lay our heads on air mattresses posted next to a beautifully restored 30’s Ford coupe and 50’s Chevy truck. We slept like we were in comas that night. Feeling fully recharged, we had breakfast with my family and hit the road east towards Texas.

March 19 – El Paso, TX – Creative Minds Productions
I really didn’t know what to expect from Texas. We heard a lot about it but we weren’t expecting much because SXSW festival was happening at the same time. It was crazy rolling into the city because Mexico was on the other side of the highway. Could’ve thrown a rock over there. We had our show at Creative Minds Solutions which was a privately owned warehouse on the edge of town. There was huge stage setup and the people poured in around it to see some new music. The place basically turned into a house show after a while. There were a couple weird acts before us though that could’ve killed the show but the crowd stayed patient and were pumped when they heard us start. About 150 people were partying while we were rocking.
I personally did the best show off my life there. El Paso inspired me to bring that energy back to the stage! We found out the owner Lobes had a studio in the back and we made a track the next day. I’m definitely going back there to play again.

March 24 – Albuquerque, NM – Blu Phoenix and Canvas
New Mexico was the most serene landscape I’ve seen in a while. Red mountains and blue skies everywhere. A cool MC named OG Willickers let us stay at his desert oasis home the night before. We felt the thin air and heat as I smoked a quick spliff before we hit the road for Albuquerque. We didn’t have time to stare off at the clouds, our schedule was packed that day. 2 shows, 1 day. GO, GO, GO!!

Our first show was an all ages early show at the Blu Phoenix. It was a dope venue and the crowd was full of true hip hop fans. The second show was at a bar called Canvas. They had artists painting as we played our second sets of the night. The whole SouthWest, but especially New Mexico, has a strong appreciation for art and music of all kinds. That place was full of creativity, I’m glad we got to add some tunes to the artists making their next masterpiece.

March 26 – Elko, NV – The G Spot Bar
LAST SHOW!!! We had just come from Denver and made a crazy drive through snow, rain and hale to get to North Nevada. This was an insanely wild end to the tour. We were ready to exert the last of our energy into that show. Plus, Elko is kind of a small town, so when a show goes down, people flock to it. 225 people showed up and were raging at the venue. Police kept doing walk throughs because the bar was getting too crazy. At one point a drunk lady got on stage during my set and poured beer on the ground while yelling “WATERFALL.” I never seen so many hands in the air before off of my music. I blew my voice out for that set and it was totally worth it. I got off stage exhausted, but I knew it was the end of tour and it was a success. It was one for the record books. The owners were saying they hadn’t seen a live energy on their stage like us in a long time.

We finished the show, packed up, got gas/smokes and immediately set off for Boise, ID to cut our drive back home in half. When we arrived in Boise, we passed out at a friends house. I fell asleep at 6:30am with the whole tour experience whirling through my head. It was a month filled with energy, respect, music, great food, new sights, long drives and most of all, NO SLEEP!

Check out the projects Mostafa, Dextro and Heist are involved in:
-Mostafa – Listen! Listen! Listen! Comp
-Heist – Fortuna Heights (prod. by Dextro) coming soon
-Dextro has major production featured on Pascal’s “Strangers” and Scotty Sensei’s “Kanji”

Published in the July 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine