Petrol (Antwerp), 21/03/2010.
I said it before, they just don’t make ’em like this anymore.
I can be very persistent if I have to. If I set my mind on something, it needs to be done and followed up in the way I imagined it. However, this blog taught me that some things you just cannot control, and although things might not work the first time, perhaps the second time they will. Or even the third. So. That’s why I decided to go for a triple Method Man in Antwerp. True, I already have some pretty nice shots from the man (Read: Double Trouble with Meth & Red). But, to keep this blog rolling, I needed to dot the i.
I really really love Method Man, he is my favorite Wu-Tang Clan member, if somebody has to give you lyrical pain, I wouldn’t mind Method Man to bring me the message. His voice is just something I can listen to for hours. I hope when he gets old, he gets a late night radio show telling his audience all his stories. I’m sure he got some pretty ones to tell. Imagine him being 65 and telling the new generation how things were done in his era…
So… I never had my personal moment with Method Man. I have a lazy, 2 second carshot (personal collection guys, sorry.) and yes, I have a pretty nice stage shot. But until today, I never succeeded in having Method Man 5 minutes to myself, explaining my blog and putting him against a wall for some (mug) shots. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess. So. it aint over till its over.
This is my story. (and I’m sticking to it.)
Method Man in Petrol, Antwerp.
Jules and I decided we wanted to finish this one. No compromises. No going home without a Polaroid. Thanks to our personal driver & grinder Rose we got there right on time. (I know, I know. We are working on that driving license. as. we. speak.) When we were leaving the car we could see the METHOD MAN tour bus parked next to the venue. When we entered Petrol, the venue was already totally packed. I was very curious. Ghent was already pretty wild and I wondered how Antwerp would welcome Method Man, Street-Life and Cilvaringz & Ledr P. We went straight for the left corner of the stage and ready for whatever the night would bring us.
Cilvaringz and Ledr P opened the show. The crowd was very perceptive of the two and although I didn’t know either of them, I thought they were doing a pretty good job. Personally, I was really amazed by Ledr P. The man with Palestine origin from Sweden has a very nice flow. And that Turn It Up track needs to get released! DAJUMN! (haha) By the time they finished up their set, the crowd was ready for the real deal. Me and Jules were pretty comfortable in our little left corner of the stage. I already went through the whole front row shit, with the water bottles flying over my head and Method Man throwing his very large body in the crowd. I don’t need another Jordan in my face, thank you. Been there, done that.
When Method Man and Street Life entered the stage, the crowd was ready for a wild ride. There is nothing like a Method Man stage entrance. With a black hoodie over his head, covering most of face except a blunt he held in his mouth, passing it smoothly to his hand, holding it like an old friend, dropping the first rhymes. You can’t point out your finger and say that Method Man doesn’t bring it to you raw, fast and hard. He told the audience that his voice was a bit off and he wasn’t feeling well, but I didn’t notice a thing to be honest. He gave Antwerp his all, spitting rhymes with the smoothest moves and grooves and added a stagedive from time to time.
I said it before, but Method Man is a great dancer. Even when he doesn’t dance, his body is an addition to every word he is saying. If you are wondering how to implicate word and movement, Method Man can teach you a thing or two.
You gotta stay frosty at a Method Man concert. You might end up doing some heavy weight lifting and stuff.
While (happily) enduring all the madness, both me and Jules were still working. We noticed besides quite some entourage from Silvaringz & Ledr P the exact same crew we saw at the Les Ardentes festival in Liège aka Toxcity. Same Dj, same tour manager and same roadie. There was no way in drawing their attention since they were too far back on the stage and we quickly decided not to draw the entourage card. We learned from former experiences they probably would not help us.
Method Man finished his set with ‘Da Rockwilder’ and seconds later he was off the stage. What to do now…? Making the right decision at this time is crucial. Are we aiming straight for the tour bus, before the venue was running empty and probably would crawl around the tour bus like a pack of wolves with resulting in Method Man probably jumping in that bus faster than lightning? Are we going to approach the same entourage again at the front of the venue selling Method Man & WU-goodies? We chose the first option. Important detail here is HOW.
To spare some time we decided to leave the venue through the emergency exit which Jules noticed was not locked, since someone opened it from time to time to cool off the heat that was dripping off the ceiling during the concert. Yes. I told you things were hot like fire. We looked at each other, pulled our driver by the hand, opened the door and in 1 second we found ourselves outside. All hyped up and honestly scared to death to get caught by a mean security we RAN towards the tour bus. Looked around and through the windows. Nobody was in there yet… With the entourage selling Wu-stuff in front, this meant that Method Man was probably by himself in the backstage lodges.
We turned around and saw a blue hazed entrance. I SWEAR to god, it was blue hazed by the lights and it was spooky as hell. We all looked at each other and knew what we had to do. While I see myself running through the door I hear Jules saying while walking in front of me: “We walk in this place like it is our damn living room, and Rose whispered behind me: “SELFCONFIDENCE”. We entered the blue hazed backstage with an attitude like we actually belonged there and we successfully passed by 3 people and suddenly ended up at an open backstage room with Method Man standing in the back. My god. It was on.
Jules signed me to knock the door to announce politely my (illegal) entrance and so I did. I knocked the door, Method Man looked up and I said: “Hi, sorry to disturb you, but can I please ask you something?” “Yes”, he replied, “enter.” Ok. What happened next was the worst Ouni blooper due to heavy nervousness EVER. Sometimes I am so nervous I can hardly speak english anymore. The room was completely silent and now was the time to do my elevator pitch and explain my blog in 2 minutes asking him for his possible cooperation. You would think by now I am a fucking pro in this, but believe me I could not speak a word, I was babbling some sentences and my hands were trembling because I was so damn nervous. My god, I was even stuttering. I mean, Method Man is a whole lotta man, he could easily be a NBA player and he was standing before me with his bare sweaty naked chest and was almost looking down on me. That’s how big he is. May I add that the man is in very good condition if you consider he is a 39-year-old father with a passionate love for sensimillia? Just sayin.
So while I was explaining my blog in stutter and awkwardness he kept his eyes at me, nodding and listening and talking to some other people in the room. It was very hard for me to keep his attention and to pronounce words at the same time obviously. While he was doing this all that at the same time, he took a white towel and folded it in two. Then he brought the towel to his mouth and put his teeth in it. Yes. This is a true story. He started to rip the tick towel (?!!) a little to the right side with his teeth. Then he continued with the left side, ending up with a big gap in the middle of the towel. All this while he was looking at me and I was trying to make sense.
Jules told me later she never saw this éver in her life. Me neither. Really, I was so nervous that I never noticed that he was actually doing exactly that. My brain obviously couldn’t handle it, since it was Jules who told me afterwards. She said: “I was eye balling right there and you were obviously on some very strange planet called NERVEWRECK while he was doing all that rìght in front of YOU.
Method Man ripping a towel with his teeth right in front of me. WTF. I finished my story and asked him if he would please pose for me. He said: “YES. Let’s do this. Fuck. I left my blunt on stage.” and asked someone to hand over a blunt asap. He took the towel and dragged it over his head. Raw personal styling by Method Man. Brought to you by teeth. Method Man is not afraid of posing. (I don’t think he is afraid of anything really) He gave me 2 poses. By the time we took the first one, I was so damn HOT, I needed to take off my sweater and jacket, because I was experiencing major heat flashes. Not kidding. I was SO nervous.
(yess. I got pussy on my shirt)
I asked him to wait out for the pictures to come through so he could give his opinion and agreement on them. He wasn’t feeling one of them, took it away and said: “this one is staying here, don’t like this.” For the last one I framed him up front.
3.2.1. Flashing Lights. Bingo.
While we were waiting out the last one, I managed to give him props on his role as Cheese in the baddest series HBO has ever done THE WIRE. Check his introduction in the series here. “Yessss”, he said, “for some reason I managed to survive as one of the last characters in the series”. I tried to say ‘incredible performance’ three times. Three times. Something between incroyable (french) and incredible (english) came out. Painful. Jules looked at me, very concerned and with some pity in her eyes. I was NOT having one of my smooth days. So the pictures finally came through and I showed them asking him: “Sooo… are these approved by you…?”
He looked at them, smiled and said: “This is me, all day every day, I’m cool with them. But do YOU approve?” I said: “If this is you all day every day, then I couldn’t be happier.” I shook his hand, thanked him for his patience and cooperation and handed him my card. “If you ever get bored on the tour bus and wonder where the hell those damn Polaroid pictures are, you can check it here.” He took my card and looked at it from back to front. He was intrigued by the arab calligraphy and I explained: “It’s my name in arab. you pronounce it: Al-Ouni.” Method Man smiled and said: ” Aaaal-Ouniiiiiiiii”. He kept saying it three times. Haha. Loved it! I explainded him, if he ever tours in Japan and wants to show off a cool word he can now just say my name. In japan UNI is a sea urchin and considered a delicatesse sushi you eat raw. How cool is that. I left him saying:” So next time you are in Japan, just say: “I like Ouniiiii”. He was feeling my joke. haha. Finally. Glad I got my shit together and actually y managed to have a true moment with the man.
When I left the backstage he was still looking at my card. Mission fucking accomplished. I’m leaving you with that one song Method Man didn’t perform, so I’ll hand it to you, because I love it that you stick to the end reading my final letters.
And because I love this song.
Special thanks to that Rose in the driver seat.