Okay, don’t shoot. I know this post is late AF. Yeah, yeah. BIM done passed, Antigua carnival come and gone, and Spicemas just wrapped up. Ah well! Life was happening and your girl wasn’t feeling the greatest. That extravagant recap I had planned for y’all…well, just say goodbye lol. But, have no fear! Unno have nuff time for me to spill the St. Lucia tea before you start planning for 2020. Anywho, I’ll try to hit all the key points below then leave you to watch a quick on de road video montage.
Ideally, I wanted to pick up my costume on Wednesday, but after a long day of travel, relaxing and eating are what I decided to do; it was a BESS decision. I decided to go on Thursday since I had absolutely nothing on my agenda.
As I mentioned in my IG stories, Xuvo had been on point with everything since they launched last fall, so I was interested to see how costume pick-up would be. If you don’t already know, I’m all about proper signage. I was thankful for the big Xuvo sign outside the venue which let me know I was in the right place. It was late Thursday afternoon when I arrived at the band house. It was far from packed, and there was probably less than a dozen people on the first level. We waited about 10 minutes before beginning the process, which wasn’t bad at all. Once registration was verified, I waited another five minutes before being allowed upstairs for the next phase. The staff was helpful and efficient. If I wasn’t the DIY diva that I am, I probably would have visited the on-site station for costume adjustments. If I didn’t agree to pick up costumes for meh friends and dem, I would have been out of there in 20 minutes tops.
I played backline in Xuvo’s Xu Jia section. I wasn’t a fan of the regular bra offering, and I certainly wasn’t paying for an upgrade, so I used one of my own wire bra bases and repurposed it with the decor from the original Xu Jia bra. The colors of the costume were beautiful and the costume was as advertised. I honestly got more than I expected. I didn’t realize there were so many attachments…a wonderful surprise! After a whole day on the road, not ONE gem fell off. Everything fit perfectly and was made pretty darn well.
Everything was gravy with Xuvo’s communication until we got closer to carnival Monday. There wasn’t any information inside our goodie bags about the starting point, starting time, logistics for lunch…none of that. No information was shared at the band house either. Sunday arrived, and nothing was posted on social media, no emails were sent, and I’m still waiting for a response to my question about the starting point. I was a tad disappointed. I understand that locals may be privy to road information from experience, but as a first time guest to the country for carnival, it would have been helpful to have this information ahead of time for planning purposes and peace of mind.
On Tuesday, I was even more annoyed because the start time was bumped up to 12:00 PM. The only way you’d see it was if you were stalking their IG stories. I’m not sure if the time switch was a Xuvo decision or an overall carnival decision that impacted all bands. Either way, I was bothered. Communication goes a long way. A lil notice beforehand about time and location for both days would have been super beneficial.
The Road Experience
Xuvo was truck number 5. My crew got out on the road around 12:15 PM. It took a little while for us to catch up with the band from the starting point, but it was nice to see the other bands as we chipped up. When we finally arrived, you know the first stop had to be the drinks truck. Question #1: Who TF were y’all protecting on this drinks truck? Obama?! Why was the counter top so blasted high?! That was overly annoying. Please, I’d like to request unno lower that height by at least 12 inches next year. See image below and notice the extended arms. Blasphemy.
Also…question #2: Wham to de ICE?! Can we not run out of ice before the sun sets next year please? That was disappointing. When I’m done killing my liver for the day I usually like to destroy lots of ice cold water or simply crunch on the ice chips to keep me hydrated. Not having any ice shortly after getting on the road on Monday was unacceptable.
Tuesday’s road experience was more painful in the beginning. Since the time was changed and we had already set logistics for our transportation, the band was already filled with stormers by the time we arrived. The line to get a drink was long AF and the bar staff wanted zero parts of their current situation. They were over it. Poor things were probably tired of serving us vagabonds and just wanted to buss a wine on somebody child. Unfortunately, they were filling our cups half way, not realizing that filling our cups up all the way meant that they wouldn’t have to see our limbs so frequently.
I know it seems like I have a lot of complaints, LOL, but it still was a really nice road experience. Overall, Xuvo did a great job for the first time as a band. The vibes were endless. Monday was a better experience for me, but Tuesday certainly had its perks towards the end of the road. I appreciated the movement of the trucks. There were no annoying stop-and-goes. You know, the kind where the whole band is idle for like 20 minutes with no explanation. There were some moments that could have been improved…like when the DJ tells the revellers that the truck is about to turn left… but then the truck turns right…TF? Or when some of the bar staff decides that they are no longer serving, while their colleagues are pouring liquor…where was the equity? Or, when no one wanted to inform the revellers about how and when to collect their meals. Again, communication.
And while we’re talking about food. Monday’s lunch was proper. But the cuisine kinda went downhill after that. I love a fresh order of hot fries and chicken just as much as the next food junkie, and I appreciate the desire to give us freshly made food while on the road. However, it lacked practicality. I really don’t want to wait 10 minutes for food with my arm extended against this high ass truck trying to be one of the chosen few who get a container. Just pass me a pre-made box of quality food and let me go ‘bout my business. Additionally, what was the point of me making a meal selection during registration if it wasn’t going to hold any weight on the day of? QTNA.
Was Xuvo my best road experience? No. I’m still waiting for some band to top my 100% sober experience with Peeny Wallie Mas during Jamaica Carnival 2017. But, like I said before, Xuvo did very well. I think the nonstop Dennery segment is what kept me grounded. Shout out to Xuvo for changing the game and having a live band on the road as well. It was a lovely added touch…but the timing has to be right. I still want to hear actual tracks for the majority of the road experience.
Would I play mas with Xuvo if I go next year? Probably not. I think they are going to have an even heavier following for 2020 and I’m honestly not going to be in the mood for it. I’d like to experience another SLU band to see what another organizations has to offer. Then again, after I visit a carnival for the first time, I don’t REALLY need to play mas on the return trip. I’ll see how the spirit moves me for 2020.