Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Homecoming in Ann Arbor

Ancient River at the 8 Ball Saloon

At the 8 Ball Saloon in Ann Arbor (Ancient River)

[Editor’s Note: This is the seventh part in an ongoing series chronicling Ancient River’s 2014 North American Tour. If you missed the first part or would like some background on the series, click here.]


We woke up at the Ttotals house well rested. The drive to Louisville, Kentucky was only two and-a-half hours, so we rolled down to Edley’s Bar-B-Que in east Nashville. Coincidentally, the kitchen manager was one of the other musicians from last night, and he gave us his recommendations on what to order. We were very impressed. Definitely go to Edley’s.

Afterwards we began the drive to Louisville. Once we got about 40 miles out, we encountered the worst traffic jam I’ve ever seen in my life. They funneled a four lane highway into a single lane. In over two hours of driving, we traveled two miles. There were cars going 50 mph on the shoulder and semi trucks driving halfway on the shoulder in an attempt to block them. We decided to take a random exit and go an alternate route to the venue. We finally arrived at 11:30 p.m. to a nearly empty venue. The locals had already played and were leaving. Along with the Ttotals, we were told there was only time for one of us to perform, so we decided to both play short sets. We left afterwards, having been in Louisville for a mere two hours or so. We drove past the KFC Yum center — whatever that is — and got a hotel to rest up.


Today was set to be a dream come true for me. We were playing in Ann Arbor, Michigan and half of my family lives in Michigan. I spent many months visiting Michigan throughout my life and to be able to come back and perform is a bucket list worthy accomplishment for me. Compared to yesterday, the drive was a breeze. I tend to stay in the moment and not get too excited about the future or the past. Despite knowing about this show for months, it didn’t really dawn on me emotionally until I was actually driving through Michigan catching a heavy dose of nostalgia. I don’t usually get nervous, but because of the people I knew would be there I was feeling a strange mix of anxiety and excitement.

Bloody Marys in Ann Arbor at the 8 Ball Saloon

Bloody Marys in Ann Arbor (Ancient River)

We played the 8 Ball Saloon, a basement bar with a dark and narrow hallway space for bands to play. A couple of my cousins came out, as did one of my closest friends in life, Olivia. The place had warm vibes and, there were already drunk people there at 8 p.m. In the time before we played, while Super Thing rocked the house (bass/drums Ann Arbor-based duo, check ’em out, shout out to Zach and Julian), James and I decided that the remainder of this blog will include a Bloody Mary section, as he has had one in nearly every city we’ve been and is becoming an expert.

Top five Bloody Marys thus far according to James : 1) The Foxhole in Columbus, Georgia; 2) Edley’s Barbecue in Nashville, Tennessee; 3) Zaza’s Pizza and Salads in Conway, Arkansas; 4) Siberia in New Orleans, Louisiana; 5) 8 Ball Saloon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The list is going to change as we continue our travels, and it’s going to be a heated battle for number one.

Relieved and feeling ecstatic after playing a great set, James and I began to pack up our gear. That’s when the crazies came out. There was a drunk artist who insisted on hugging us and telling us we were great people, a homeless singing drunk man making creepy advances toward the girls, and a relatively sane looking dude who would casually speak of kinky sexual exploits completely out of context in the middle of normal conversation. The top prize goes to one man by a landslide: “Not Kid Rock,” a drugged out guy in a hoodie and pajamas who freestyle rapped and sang at the top of his lungs for nearly two hours.

At one point, James brought out our handheld recorder and got a short clip of the guys rock voice. He then proceeded to connect it to the stereo in the truck and blast it with all the doors open. The shocked look on “Not Kid Rock’s” face was priceless, and I will never forget what ensued afterwards. He began to belt out a call and response to the recording of his own voice, flooding the stillness of the Ann Arbor streets with his voice and my hysterical laughter. We realized we needed to get out of there and got our night’s rest at Olivia’s place. In the words of my boo Erykah Badu, “what a day, what a day.”


AlexCordovaAlex Cordova (@theAncientRiver) is a guest contributor for Little Utopia.

Previously from Alex Cordova:
Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Friendly Locals in Memphis
Ancient River North American Tour 2014: New Gear, New Orleans, and an Interview in Little Rock
Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Getting Lost and Playing Vanderfest
Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Trying to Take It All In
Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Tagging in Knoxville

One response to “Ancient River North American Tour 2014: Homecoming in Ann Arbor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s