A week or so ago, I wrote an article about Boiler Room coming to Argentina.
Off the back of this, I chanced my arm like any good journalist and emailed the organizers with my article saying I wanted to cover the event. A few days later I get a message from some random dude named Javier on Facebook saying he’s the Boiler Room Buenos Aires producer and that I’m on the list for the event.
“Gracias Javier, te quierooooooo!” etc. etc.
Three days later, I make my way to a swanky apartment block in Palermo Chico to collect my ticket. I Instagram the shit out of it and remember to try be humble. I brush up on my DJ knowledge and plan what I’m going to wear.
The night arrives and I leave my house at 11.30 PM and get a taxi to a side-street off 9 de Julio Av. I’m expecting some dingy basement with degenerates shooting up outside, but no. Instead, I slide past some velvet rope into a fairly swanky lobby, say my name to the standard sexy-but-kinda-bitchy girls holding the list and am ushered through a metal detector and into the fanciest venue I’ve been to since Faena. The ceiling twinkles with stars (or tiny LEDs, but who counting), the music is banging and the the night is in full swing. I do a lap to check out the vibe, grab a beer and take it all in.
This is it.
I’m at Boiler Room.
So, you’re probably wondering what the hype is all about. Well, the key is in the VIP factor. If you buy a ticket to see an awesome DJ in a normal club environment and he/she lives up to expectations, chances are you’re gonna have a blast.
Boiler Room is no different, except that everyone is waaaaaaaaaaay more happy with themselves. You can almost see the atoms of smug swirling like an intoxicating brew, fueling the self-satisfaction of the “chosen ones”. Most people are buena onda though, so long live exclusivity… I suppose.
Then there’s the cameras, which add an extra layer of exhibitionism. Because what you don’t see from the live stream is the fact that there is an entire club on the other side of them, so the only reason you end up in front of them is by choice. This kind of divides the audience into those who want to be seen and those who are happy reveling in the safety of obscurity. The taped section was also guarded by a bouncer operating a strict “one out, one in” policy, so even getting into the “pit” was a bit of a mission.
But it made me wonder how much those being watched actually enjoyed themselves. I got the feeling that people weren’t getting off on the music so much as fulfilling some voyeuristic internet wish. Six hours of posing, trying to look suave, hoping the DJ acknowledges you as you lean in to high-five him on his mixing skills, nailing each carefully choreographed shoulder pop and maintaining the illusion that you’re having the best fucking time of your life must be exhausting. I’ve been to my fair share of gigs, festivals and concerts, and the fact is that the vibe is always better when everyone is collectively invested in seeing a particular performer play.
That’s why a lot of bands are a bit “meh” about playing festivals, because not everyone who goes is there to see them, so the energy can lack lustre. Such was the case with Boiler Room. Don’t get me wrong, the music was great, but the onda wasn’t there. It was probably off in the bathroom watching the live stream on it’s iPhone.
Here are a couple of other things I noted:
CRUTCHES ARE NOW A HIPSTER PROP
Shortly after I arrived, the DJ at the time, Ernesto Ferreyra, grabbed a crutch from some chick behind him and began pumping the air with it like it was some sort of medical dumbbell. Everyone clapped and wooped for the humble crutch that had unwittingly cemented its status as the new and unlikely Boiler Room hero. I later saw the crutch-bearer grooving unaided, clearly healed by the magical audio powers of the music. Maybe God really is a DJ.
SCRUNCHIES ARE BACK IN
Ugh, I was not expecting this. I thought scrunchies had died a quick and permanent death along with chokers and sticker books, never to rear their ugly heads again after 1999. But apparently not. Sad face.
A UNIFORM IS REQUIRED
I missed the memo on this, but thankfully it seemed to just have been applicable to the guys. Pretty much every dude was wearing the same thing – a black t-shirt and black jeans. There was a group of guys wearing striped business shirts lurking by the bar who looked like they had RSVP’d to the wrong party, but apart from that everyone else was abiding fiercely by the dress code. Either that or there’s some hipster cloning farm in Provincia that we don’t know about.
ARGENTINES ARE SMOKING HOT
Ok, I don’t want to massage any egos or compound any stereotypes. We know you’re hot, you know you’re hot, that’s why the rest of Latin America hates you. Still though, you’re fucking hot. Like, mega hot. I do not frequent boliches, I’m more of an asado and dive-bar kinda gal. So I had forgotten this fact. The men at this thing looked like clothed and living statues of Adonis, the women like they had all just come from a “hot girl” casting. Pick any two and put them together on a beach with some baby oil and you would have had an outtake from a Calvin Klein ad. No joke. The place was full of total babes.
BUENOS AIRES IS TINY AND EVERYONE KNOWS EACH OTHER
This has been my theory for quite a while, but Boiler Room confirmed it. I think it’s a question of demographics – people of a certain age and cultural leaning are all connected in some way, locals and ex-pats alike. However, considering the size of the city and the plethora of nightly activities to engage in, I was surprised at the amount of people I recognized at the event. Either I’ve got my finger in all the right pies, or the city is just one giant pie that everyone has their fingers in. I’d wager it’s the latter.
So there you have it. I could have told you about each acts’ set, but luckily Boiler Room have done that tedious work for me and you can watch it back from the archives when they put it up shortly. Trying to describe a live music event in writing when you can watch it is like masturbating next to two people having sex – you get the idea but it’s just not as good. So instead I’ve tried to fill in the blanks around actually being there in the room so you get a more complete picture.
To some extent, I have to admit that I feel slightly guilty about going, since my clubbing days are long gone and the technical wizardry that these guys have mastered is wasted on me. Hats off to Boiler Room though, the DJs seemed genuinely happy to be there and the line-up was really eclectic, which is a testament to the myriad of genres and talent circulating in Argentina. Also the MC’s at the Buenos Aires event were much less of a pain in the ass to watch than the ones in London, who interrupt the set every 10 minutes with a “Lets give it up for X, coming at you liiiiiiiiiiiiiiive from the Boiler Room” in a cockney accent. Twats.
All in all, if what you really care about are the tunes, just tune in from your house.
On the other hand, if just you wanna rub shoulders with Buenos Aires’ movers and shakers, hit up some fly joint in Palermo. It appears that this is in fact where they go.