Community Records’ All People (Greg Rodrigue, Daniel “D-Ray” Ray, Robert Landry, and Zach Quinn) recently took their Fugazi-meets-Lee “Scratch” Perry sound to Brazil for some marinated shark, equine dumpster diving, and one unimpressed monkey. Wrapping it all up for us is Greg (channeling his best Anthony Bourdain) and D-Ray, who may have popped a fuse or two.
Before this trip, I had never been to South America. It was such an incredible opportunity to be able to go and participate in the independent music scene there. We were in Brazil for three weeks, with nine scheduled shows. This meant that not only would we have a decent amount of performances, we would also get the chance to relax and experience a bunch of new things. It was a bit of a “tourcation.”
Our performances were as follows: two shows in Goiânia, two shows in São Paulo, and one show each in Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Curitiba, Piracicaba, and Sorocaba. We performed all of our shows with Lisabi; they made the tour a reality. Lisabi has a sound similar to At The Drive In-meets-Tame Impala. The first show and our first full day there in Sorocaba was a rowdy house show that took place on my birthday (May 12). It was such a unique and rewarding experience to play our first of many rad shows in Brazil on my 28th birthday.
Everyday we ate twice as much food as we normally do in the states; it all tasted amazing and cost half as much. Lunch was typically a giant homemade meal of rice and beans with incredibly hot homemade hot sauce, fresh salad, and fresh juice. There was fresh juice and açaí bowls at a ton of places. Açaí would be served like cold ice cream, topped with fresh fruit and granola.
I ate shark on two occasions from a restaurant that mixes African cuisine with traditional Brazilian cuisine. The shark was marinated in spices and coconut oil, then sautéed in palm oil with onions and peppers. It was then served with two sides: black eyed peas with rice, and puréed shrimp served with herbs and spices. Most of the gas stations along the highway had amazing homemade lunch offerings and pastries that were out of this world. I also had corn juice. Sounds weird but it tastes like sweet milk; it’s great.
Getting to travel from city to city was one of the highlights of the trip. It is so gorgeous along the Brazilian countryside. Most of our drives were pretty long. Some trips were upwards of 12 to 14 hours, which was kind of grueling because we were 10 people split between two cars that were not very big. I loved that the highways were not overcrowded with billboards and rest stops with shopping centers. Instead, it was mostly just miles upon miles of mountains, sugar cane fields, and endless clouds. The sunsets and sunrises were absolutely beautiful: shades of blue, pink, purple, and gray.
It was truly inspiring and breathtaking stuff. After one rainstorm we even saw a double rainbow that seemed to stretch longer than our line of vision.
One of the funnier moments of the trip happened at 4 a.m. after our show in Rio. We were driving over to the house we were crashing at that night through the outskirts of the city, when I saw a horse in the street. I got Zach’s attention and we realized that the horse was unattended by any human beings. It didn’t have a saddle, and it was eating from a trash can. We labeled the horse “trash horse” and drove away dreaming and pondering as to what that horse’s life must be like.
Getting to tour Brazil was one of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities that I am so happy that we had the privilege to experience. I really hope that All People gets to tour there again in the future, and as far as I can tell, it seems likely that we will be welcomed back.
Our first introduction to the Brazilian punk scene was a rad house show in Sorocaba, Sao Paulo. As we wove our way through the neighborhood, we caught a glimpse of a wild monkey, crossing from “civilization” heading back into the woods. He crossed the street, stared at our cars, and gave us a look that seemed to say, “What the fuck are YOU doing here?”
The All People show at Festival Bananada in Goiânia (the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Goiás) was definitely my favorite part of the whole trip. It will forever be one of my top three musical performance experiences of all time. The venue was called Metropolis and the walls were decorated with huge DC Comic characters. This was our fourth or fifth day in Brazil and our second show, so things were still pretty foreign and expectations were all over the place with how shows would go. This was also our first experience with running a sound check with a pretty serious language barrier.
Festival Bananada is a multi-day, multi- venue festival that presents all sorts of acts, from the legendary Mudhoney to that band from New Orleans who was only playing because their Brazilian tour mates were on the bill. Therefore, I don’t think any of us expected over 150 people to show up to this place to see some mystery band from New Orleans… but they did. It was crazy. The place had filled up with people. Even the Australian band we had met, The Medics, came to see us.
We launched into our set a little after midnight with Superman on one side and a room full of people on the other and out in front. The crowd really seemed to dig the energy and more people started filing in from the back patio. We were in the crowd, being interactive and staring out at a bunch of smiling faces we had never seen before (and may never see again). Then in the middle of a song—in the middle of the set—the power went out on the whole block.
Without missing a beat, Rob kicked a different, more tribal groove on the drums. Everyone in the crowd started cheering and yelling. We yelled back, jumping up and down, until finally everyone was chanting together in rhythm. Zach had now put down his guitar and joined Rob on the drums. Greg traded his bass for a tambourine and told me to pick up my trombone. Energy flowed freely from person to person as we stepped into the crowd and they stepped onto the stage. We had become one hell of an improvised musical being, one that didn’t need words to communicate excitement or gratitude. For about seven minutes, everyone in the building communicated through rhythm, sound, and movements. It was one of the most profound human experiences of my entire life. Then the power came back on.