Dear Tour Diary

Antioquia | Honeymoon Express

June 2011 | Minneapolis, MN

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The first missive from the road delivered by Rachel Antony-Levine and Tomas Salcedo, the two newest members of Bay Area genre-busters Antioquia. The band is currently on tour, moving westward towards their Northern California home. Folks in Montana, Idaho and Utah still gotta chance to experience the mojo in person, and they shoot to East Coast in late July, too. Find tour date info here.

Rachel & Tomas - Newlyweds

I suppose we’re on a honeymoon.

We are, after all, traveling and meeting new people. We stay up until dawn almost every night, dancing unabashedly to the sounds of incredible musicians. There have been more than a couple instances of stealthy nudity.

Of course, the people we’re traveling with happen to be four dudes, all of which I can now identify by the smell of their farts. The incredible musicians we happen to be dancing to are the members of our favorite band, who have recently become our band-mates. And generally the clandestine nudity is more practical in nature than romantic, usually as the result of a 24-hour bus trip in unspeakable heat.

So no, it is not your traditional honeymoon. But that suits us just fine, because ever since we were invited to join (really, invited ourselves to join) Antioquia, we knew that life was about to get a lot more exciting and a lot less physically comfortable. After a week of wedding festivities that officially put us past the halfway point of our tour, I think it’s a great time to take stock of our crazy adventure thus far.

As I sit here in my ritualistic cheapness enjoying the generous Starbucks WiFi, downtown Minneapolis is a-bustle, I must say. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen buildings so big surrounded by people so cheery. Large courtyards form tidy little halos of splendid, contained nightlife. I walked by more than a few impressive plates of nachos being served to eager young professionals…on a TUESDAY! Now that’s my kind of town. Nachos and beer on a Tuesday, man.

Antioquia by Sophie Spinelle

It’s odd how normal this has become. Drive all day. Unload. Sound check. Find coffee shop (Starbucks if we’re playing downtown), and do Internet Things. Not too long ago my routine was quite different. Get up (in a bed, not a bus), cook a healthy breakfast while watching Democracy Now! with Tomas, drive to UMASS, go to the gym before class, come home and cook a meal with Tomas while periodically running through the apartment to attack our cat, Camille, with hugs and kisses, and on really exciting nights, watch an episode of The Wire before doing some homework and going to bed. We supplemented our daily routine with gratifying and not terribly demanding hobbies like West African drumming groups, yoga, meditation courses, working with various political organizations, attending protests and marches, biking and swimming in the summer, hitting up Whole Foods for free samples and nothing else, and just generally enjoying life and each other’s company. In our attic we would put together arrangements of Toots & The Maytals songs as well as Latin standards and some drumming arrangements.

It was a good life, and stable and healthy at that. However, though refreshing to both Tomas and I, we knew we didn’t want to stay that way. In a nutshell, we needed some excitement. That, of course, is why we planned to move to Chile after our wedding. Though both of us had pursued music in the past and had spent the last year focusing on other things, we were feeling the itch big time. We started having conversations about how easy it would be to start a band once we were in Chile, and how we might go about it.

Ok, I’ve just been informed that it’s time to go back to the venue, so I’ll have to finish this story later. Tonight is sure to be amazing, because every show with these guys is amazing. Stay tuned for more adventures on the Hornet Express.