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The Trastienda Club (featuring The National)

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When I discovered that The National, one of my favorite bands, was playing in Buenos Aires, I immediately went to their website and bought tickets. Only after the transaction was complete, did I look up the club, and my already dangerously-high levels of giddiness went off the charts. Not only was the Trastienda Club a small venue that guaranteed a great view, it was also just around the block from our San Telmo apartment.

La Trastienda Club

The Trastienda Club turned out to be everything I could have hoped for. We had seats on the upper floor with a perfect view of the stage. I couldn’t believe that The National were playing such a small club, but I was happy about it. Midway through their set, the singer told people to stand up and come towards the stage. He’d had enough with the seated, restrained atmosphere of the crowd. And it turns out that the Trastienda Club functions just as well for raucous concerts complete with stage-diving, as for more contemplative, sit-down affairs.

Trastienda basically means “back room”. The building was constructed as an industry warehouse back in the late 19th century, and converted for use as a music club in 1993. For the past 18 years, it’s been presenting top-quality rock, jazz, blues and traditional music to the eager Porteño populace.

As would be the case with any venue, our perception of Trastienda was influenced by the quality of the show we were taking in. The National absolutely brought the house down, and I can’t imagine a more awesome place to have seen them. If you’re interested in seeing a show, make sure to check out the Trastienda’s website. Tickets are always fairly priced, and you’d have a hard time finding a better place to see a show.

La Trastienda Club
Balcarce 460
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

The National in Concert
The National
Matt Berninger
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April 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm Comments (3)

Chancha via Circuito

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Before moving to Buenos Aires, we conducted a little research into the city’s music scene and stumbled upon an artist by the name of Chancha via Circuito. We were instantly hooked, and his music became our constant soundtrack for our final weeks in Savannah. Fresh and modern, but firmly rooted in tradition, it sounded exactly how we imagined Buenos Aires would be like. It made us anxious to arrive.

Rio Arriba Chancha

Given that we’d been listening to his music non-stop for a couple months, we were thrilled to be able to meet Chancha at ZZK Records’ studios. Pedro Canale is his real name, by the way. The alias pays respect to his daily 2-hour commute: the Chancha, or “the pig”, is the train which brings him into Buenos Aires, while the Circuito (the circular) takes him back home. Even while his new album Rio Arriba is being bandied about as one of the year’s best releases, Chancha still endures that crazy commute, which serves to underscore his refreshing modesty. He was genuinely surprised and excited that Jürgen and I listened to his music, and eager to explain the ideas that went into making it.

Pedro Canale

Rio Arriba, described by NPR as “pure genius“, has been an instant hit and is Chancha’s second album after 2008’s Rodante. Listening to his songs is an experience; a journey through the sounds of South America, from Argentina to the Andes and beyond. The lead track off Rio Arriba is a remix of Quimey Neuquen by the Patagonian artist Jose Larralde, which brings a hypnotic vibe to a style of music I’d never heard before. A lot of the album is like that: trancey beats on top of traditional drums, flutes and chants. It’s utterly unique, and works flawlessly.

When Chancha mentioned his April 1st show at Le Bar, a cool club in the middle of the microcenter, we immediately confirmed that we’d be there. The performance was awesome, and Chancha was entertaining to watch, hopping up and down behind his DJ setup, exhorting the crowd to dance and occasionally shouting out a wild “WHOO!” Paula Duró, a visual artist, was working alongside him, throwing paintings and gorgeous patterns onto the backdrop. The crowd was big, and everyone seemed to love the show. Occasionally, he’ll tour both Europe and the states, so if you find yourself with a chance to see him live, don’t pass it up!

Chancha Via Circuito’s Official Site
His music is available here: Amazon US, Amazon UK, iTunes

Chancha Via Circuito Concert
Chancha Cicruito
Underground Music Buenos Aires

Fri 4/8 @ Unsound Festival @ NYC, NY
Sat 4/9 @ Tormenta Tropical @ SF, CA
Sun 4/10 @ Atwater Crossing Courtyard, LA, CA
Fri 4/15 @ Peligrosa, Austin, TX
Sun 4/17 @ Communikey Festival, Boulder, CO
Tue 4/19 @ Team Tuesdays, Santa Fe, NM
Fri 4/22 @ Mundial de Musica (MdM) Festival, Chicago, IL
Sat 4/30 @ Round Corner Cantina, Pittsburgh, PA

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April 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm Comments (5)
The Trastienda Club (featuring The National)
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