RSVP HERE: Combo Chimbita and Sun Ra Arkestra Play Knitting Factory + MORE (Holiday Edition)

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands. This week we’ve doubled up and listed the best shows from 12/20-New Years!

My favorite show of 2019 was Combo Chimbita at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio, so I’m so happy to be ending this year’s RSVP HERE column with an interview with them! The NYC-via-Colombia tropico-psychedlia meets cumbia rock band has a live set that takes you to another dimension of afro-futurism punk. Combo Chimbita consists of vocalist Carolina Oliveros, Prince of Queens on analog synths, Niño Lento on guitar and Dilemastronauta on a drum set that includes unique percussion instruments and crazy looking cymbals. Frontwoman Carolina Oliveros’ voice is so powerful it will make you cry and the way she plays the guacharaca is so intense it’s almost scary – I seriously thought she might slice someone’s head off. On their latest release Ahomale, which is a Yoruba word that means “adorer of ancestors,” Oliveros set out with the intent to connect with ancestral cosmology, a spirit that becomes animated in their live show.We spoke with the band about their Sun Ra Arkestra, music in Colombia, and inspirations behind their live show…

AF: What were some of your favorite cities you visited and shows you played while on the road in 2019?

Dilmeastronauta: LA, San Juan, NY

Niño Lento: San Juan, PR/Chicago/LA

Prince of Queens: This year we went to so many places! Playing in San Juan in January was amazing, LA, Chicago and Austin is always great for me – so many friends and the crowds are always amazing. One of my favorite shows was in Berlin for Día de los Muertos with Turbo Sonidero; that was an incredible party.

Carolina Oliveros: Berlín, Barcelona e Italia, LA, Chicago

AF: What are your favorite records to listen to while on the road?

D: SunRa “Nuclear War is a Mother Fucker,” Concha Buika “Don’t Explain”

NL: Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati), Lejos de Mi Amor (Polibio Mayorga)

PoQ: When you spend so much time on the road you listen to too much music sometimes… I like silence honestly! But I think always at some point during tour we hit that moment where we listen to classic rock and español and we all sing soda stereo really loud with the windows down.

CO: Me gusta mucho escuchar mucho afrobeats. Me pone alegre y contenta.

AF: What are the differences in the way the direction of music is going in Colombia vs the US?

D: Both cities offer something unique. I feel like NY provides me with access to witness more of the Caribbean diaspora music while Colombia offers its own roots plus, rock, metal etc.

PoQ: I think music in the US might be driven more by the diaspora and the immigrant experience. A lot of amazing music coming out from Colombia feels more focused on re-imagining and inspired by tradition and roots music. I think they are both super relevant and in many ways crossover.

CO: Se que colombia musicalmente en este momento es un gran referente, siento que se está haciendo mucha música que está conectada a las raíces.

AF: What are your favorite percussion instruments to use during your set?

D: Timbal!!!

PoQ: I don’t play it but the Carolina’s guacharaca is special.

AF: What is the inspiration behind the synth sounds you use?

PoQ: I love techno and sound design in general. I always try to approach synth playing more as a sound design tool than a traditional keyboard per se. I love analog sound and just unexpected freak out moments of synth.

AF: What are some of the biggest inspirations and influences on your live show? What are you looking forward to most about your show with Sun Ra Arkestra?

D: I look forward to witnessing the legacy of Sun Ra among the members of his band, their ability to improvise and to be colorful.

PoQ: Too many inspirations! I’m inspired by artists than transcend time and generations. Sun Ra Arkestra, los Wemblers, tabou combo, BIG sound on stage and full on rhythm. I’m not really a religious person but music is spiritual and powerful sound and stage presence can take you places far and deep. That’s what I am into. Honestly just meeting them and hearing them play. So much to learn and experience.

CO: Me gusta muchos lxs artistas que son únicxs y espontánexs y que proponen algo diferente en vivo, que no tienen miedo a explorar y dar creatividad para sus shows. James brown, Janis Joplin, mayra Andrade, La Lupe , celia cruz , concha buika. Tocar con Sun Ra será una de las experiencias más impactantes de mi carrera. Agradecida con tu interés de tocar con el combo .. sera una noche memorable, para ser feliz y hacer vibrar al público. Si quieren candela, candela le vamo a dar !!

AF: What are your plans for 2020 and the next decade?

D: I wanna tour in Latin America, it has become a dream I would like to fulfill.

PoQ: Travel to South America, write some new music and keep exploring, searching and interpreting those energies that keeps us together making music.

CO: Seguir poniendo sabor en el fogón. Haciendo beats poderosos , mucha letra que conecte y retumbe , muchos lugares para conquistar y mucha Alegría y nuevos amigxs

RSVP HERE for Combo Chimbita & Sun Ra Arkestra @ Knitting Factory on 12/28. All Ages / $25-$30

More great shows this week:

 2/20 Tall Juan (single release), Future Punks @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Surfbort, Bodega, Weeping Icon @ Market Hotel. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Dinowalrus, Clone, It’s Over @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/21 Varsity (NYC debut), Emily Reo, Winter, Lunarette @ Market Hotel. All Ages /$15 RSVP HERE

12/22-12/30 The 8 Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom. 18+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/27 Veda Rays, No Ice, The Due Diligence @ Alphaville. 21+/ $10 RSVP HERE

12/28 GWAR @ Warsaw. All Ages / $25 RSVP HERE

12/28 Death By Sheep Holiday Party: Deli Girls, Dreamcrusher, Grooming, & more @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/29 Deer Tick: Tick Tock @ Brooklyn Bowl. 21+ / $35 RSVP HERE

12/29 New Bomb Turks, The Atom Age, Spite Fuxxx @ Saint Vitus. 21+ / $25 RSVP HERE

12/20 Godcaster, Fantasy, Bug Fight, Water From Your Eyes @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Strokes, Mac DeMarco @ Barclays Center. All Ages RSVP HERE

12/31 Priests (last show before hiatus), Russian Baths, Anti Ivry-Block @ Rough Trade. 18+ $25 RSVP HERE

12/31 Wavves @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Gnarcissists, Native Sun, Max Pain and The Groovies, Sunflower Bean (DJ set) @ The Broadway. 21+ /$20 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Jesus Lizard @ Brooklyn Steel. 16+ / $65 RSVP HERE

12/31 Cloud Nothings, Field Mouse, Patio @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $35-$40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Rubblebucket, Guerrilla Toss @ White Eagle Hall. 21+ $25 RSVP HERE

CHECK THE SPREADSHEET: Attitude is Everything

Hello! Thank you for checking the monthly DIY tour guide. I play on tour with three Brooklyn-based bands and have been on the road for at least a week each month this year (aside from one). Going on tour is a goal of many bands and in today’s super connected world it is easier than ever to attain. While being relatively easier to logistically set up, it is still a challenging undertaking on your wallet and  personal and emotional health.

Touring can teach you who your friends are, how strong your relationship is and most importantly who you are. At best, it’s an incredibly fun and hilarious adventure, and at worst, a dehumanizing experience that shoots you straight into an existential crisis the moment you return home. In this monthly column, I will share my experiences and attempt to break down specific aspects of DIY touring so you can more easily hit the road yourself!

I was first introduced to Giantology, a two-piece garage band from Chicago at a show in Long Beach, CA. They’re an inspiring example of a band that just wanted to go on tour and did it. You don’t have to wait until you’re huge in your hometown, have a record on some label or even a booking agent. They were booking their first 3-month tour at the same time as they were writing their first songs. It was their bassist’s first tour ever. If you want to do it, the first step is having the attitude that it is not only possible, but with enough determination and organization it is something you can actually make happen in a matter of a few months.

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Giantology basically jumped straight into touring like a bunch of bosses.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks; the trick is to not let ’em get you down. In Mobile, Alabama I played in two bands to an audience of exactly one person. The co-singer/guitarist in Ex-Girlfriends got onto the floor and screamed her lungs out to the single middle-aged podcast host from Florida like he was the A&R rep of Universal Music or the editor of the Rolling Stone or something. Personally, I get very discouraged and slightly humiliated when no one shows up after you’ve driven half way across the country and you’ve already played at this exact bar twice before, but she did not give a fuck.

I also felt similarly bummed when I played for the first time in front of a sold out room with Kino Kimino in San Francisco at The Independent. There was one moment when all I had to do was play the riff from “So Fresh and So Clean” as a transition between songs. I messed up and felt like a biggest idiot. Whether you’re playing to one person or 1,000 people, it’s always going to be something.

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photo by Jose Berrio (

Here are some tips to keep your anxiety low, morale high, and generally give zero fucks when things get tough…

  1. Take care of yourself. It’s easy to drink cheaply and/or free every night on tour, but that’s the fastest way to get depressed or sick. You’re probably going to do it anyway, so always keep gummy vitamins on hand in the front of the van. Wellness Formula works in a few days for bad colds, but gives you really smelly burps. Oregano Oil also works, but might make your mouth numb for a few minutes.

Drummers: Bring sandals & hemorrhoid cream (to avoid blood-ass from eating too much gas station food). Take shoes off right after the show and put sandals on – your band mates will thank you.

Beauty Rest: Melatonin /Advil PM and ear plugs can regulate your sleep schedule when you’re trying to crash in bizarre places surrounded by kind (but likely drunk and loud) strangers who let you have their floor, futon, or doggie bed to rest on.

  1. Remember that you’re on the same team. No matter how close you are as friends, being in the same smelly van with the same few people to talk to for 24 hours a day will make you want to murder each other.

Your gear is going to malfunction, you’re probably going to get a cold or an engine mount in your 20 year old mini-van will break, and there’s a chance you’ll end up in the middle of the U.K. somewhere after calling 47 hotels and still end up sleeping in the van. All these things will make you even more on edge with only a few people in your immediate vicinity to take your frustrations out on. Be kind to each other…none of this shit matters. No matter what goes wrong, you’re basically married to the same dream and that is what will inevitably hold you together.

Pro tip: When a bandmate is having a temper tantrum, imagine them as an adorable five-year-old.

  1. Gratitude. Be thankful for everyone who plays, promotes, does sound, feeds you, buys merch, and puts you up. Even if only one person shows up to your show, be thankful that they did. The first time we played in Wilmington, NC only one person came to our show and then the next time we came through town, that one person (Travis of Deadly Lo-Fi) threw us the best show of that whole tour.

I appreciate the bassist in Sharkmuffin so much, because she always appreciates every person involved, and makes it a point to shout out each person in her social media posts after the show. This not only makes a difference the next time we come through town – it really helps you feel more honored to be there and that what you came to share in the first place was worth it when you take the time to feel thankful for everyone individually.

Check back the third Monday of every month for more tips from Tara’s touring life.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]