The second missive from the road delivered by Rachel Antony-Levine and Tomas Salcedo, the two newest members of Bay Area genre-busters Antioquia. The band just hit the road again for a new East Coast tour, stopping tonight, Friday, July 22 at The Juggling Gypsy in Wilmington, NC and tomorrow, Saturday, July 23, at One Stop in Asheville, NC. Find tour date info here.
Adley and Craig have an obsession with jumping into cold water that borders on unhealthy. It’s not a macho thing, I don’t think. Craig claims he doesn’t ever feel alive the way he feels when he’s jumping into natural, ice-cold water. Accustomed as I now am to this very scenario, I was still alarmed to see Craig and Adley strip naked by the side of the snow-banked road just outside of Yosemite National Park and dive into what must have been the coldest water we’d encountered; there was still ice floating atop it. From the comfort of my comfy pants and sweatshirt, blanketed up in a sleeping bag on the loft inside the bus, I watched a shivering, dripping Craig come waddling back inside, too delirious to dry himself before collapsing beside me. “That was great!” he blurted, shoveling his way into some blankets.
The Antioquia obsession with getting naked and into water has led us to some amazing spots. Just outside of Boise we went to one of the most pristine, perfect camping spots by hot springs that I’ve ever seen. We swore to our hosts that we would not divulge the location (though I’m not even sure how we could since we were never told the name of the place…Idahoans really know how to keep a secret). In Montana, we visited Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, where we saw a moose. Oddly enough, the band saw a moose last year in the exact same spot. Clearly moose love Antioquia.
And while we’re on the subject of moose, allow me to share with you a fact that was questioned by the rest of the band but I assure you is completely true. You can make a perfectly grammatical sentence out of just the word “moose.” Like this: Moose moose moose. Better yet: Moose moose moose moose moose moose moose. As I write this I am being told by my computer that this is not only ungrammatical but also spelled wrong. Shows how much computers know. If this still doesn’t make sense to you, try considering that “moose” is a plural as well as single noun and a verb. If you don’t know the meaning, just look at the definition on Urban Dictionary – it’s not exactly a family-friendly definition but it IS grammatical. This also works with “fish” and “police.” Try it. Police police police. Fish fish fish. Fish fish fish fish fish fish fish. Anyway, it’s just an interesting fact from Rachel. No charge.
We’re on the last day of our early summer adventure today. Last night, we played an unexpected and fantastic show in Jackson Hole, WY that ended up taking us a good 20 hours out of our way but was completely worth it. Rarely, I’ve noticed, does the energy of the crowd correspond exactly to how well we play. For instance, one of the best shows we’ve played all tour, in my opinion, was for about four slightly uninterested bar regulars. On the other hand, we had a show where the venue was huge and mostly full and people were dancing non-stop, but we could barely hear each other, and thus it was harder to feel what we were playing. In any case, last night we had it all. Well over 200 people “going off!” as our fearless tour manager, Troutman would say, and we played a nearly pitch-perfect show. It probably has something to do with us reaching our end and finally reveling in all the work we’ve done to blend our new sound together. It felt good. Real good.
As tour comes to a close, it’s hard to believe that on March 24th, I had no idea I was about to join Antioquia. It started when Adley called Tomas to tell him that the tour might not happen because Maddy had just left the band. Tomas told me and I proceeded to freak out. “That’s awful!” I yelled. “Shit! What are they going to do? Furthermore, what are WE going to do about our wedding?” Tomas waited patiently for me to stop yelling before suggesting with a hint of a smirk that we drop everything and go out to California and join Antioquia.
I was silent for a while, figuring out the best way to tell Tomas he was crazy without hurting his feelings. Then, slowly, it started to settle in just how right he might be right about this. As soon I allowed myself to fully consider it, the excitement started to overwhelm me. Joining an incredible touring band of Antioquia’s caliber was, for both Tomas and I, a dream too good to be true.
I called up Adley, who answered his phone with his classic, “Hola! Raquel! Como estas?”
“Hey, Adley, I heard about Maddy leaving, and I’ve got a proposal for you.”
“Sure! What’s up?”
“Well, what if I sang for you guys?”
Adley was reliably enthusiastic and asked me to send him some samples of my music asap. I sent him three songs and within a couple hours Adley called me back.
“When can you get out here?”
I told him I would talk to my professors and get out as soon as I could. Luckily, when I told all of my professors about this opportunity they were incredibly supportive and allowed me to leave four weeks before the end of the semester as long as I did some additional work.
The next two weeks were insane. Tomas and I had to move out of our apartment, finish planning our wedding, and start learning Antioquia’s music. I was assigned two albums plus some extra songs and asked to write melodies and lyrics for several other songs. Our apartment turned into some kind of Antioquia factory. When either of us got home the other was practicing Antioquia’s music. We cooked dinner to the sounds of Antioquia, and when we weren’t actively practicing or listening, we were on the phone with the guys talking logistics. It was a crazy time.
And it didn’t get less crazy when I got to the Bay Area. Practice started the day after I arrived, and went almost every day after that. My first show was a week after my arrival. Luckily, Maddy played with us so that I could be weaned in, which gave the band a great way to publicly announce the transition, and for me to get my feet wet before having to swim. My first full show was May 5th, the first day of the tour.
Since then I’ve moved past the infatuation stage and on to a mature and deep love for the members of Antioquia. We’ve essentially compressed a year or two’s worth of experiences into seven weeks, and, I believe, become a family in the process. Tomas and I made it official of course, but how appropriate that Antioquia was there with us, that everyone that was at our wedding could celebrate our transition into the Antioquia family as well. The whole adventure feels very much like the beginning of an era that might later be known as some of the best years of our lives.