Like most major cities, Buenos Aires features a wide array of shows and club nights just about every night of the week. The problem is that alarmingly few of these things are events many people want to (or should) attend. Unfortunately the Argentinian capital is plagued by a bevy of bland indie rock acts and awful club nights, a problem only magnified by the lack of quality foreign acts that make their way down here.
Argentina is pretty far from places like the United States and Europe, making Buenos Aires anything but an easy or automatic tour stop. The peso's weak exchange rate does not help matters either. With inflated travel expenses for artists and little pay available upon arrival, often times the only events that can afford to bring in quality foreign acts (especially smaller ones), are the large-scale festivals like PepsiMusic, PersonalFest and Creamfields. While these festivals might be great for fans of public drunkenness and large crowds, they are not exactly ideal places to see or hear a good musical performance.
Thankfully, this year the warming temperatures seem to be bringing more than just another season of overpriced and overcrowded festivals. A few acts are coming to Buenos Aires to play headlining shows in medium-sized venues, presumably for people interested more in their music than getting wasted in the sun.
Here is a roundup of some of the acts worth checking out.
Wednesday, September 12 at Teatro Opera
I don't love this Parisian band or their bossa nova covers of 80's pop tunes, but Porteños seem to love really fey cover versions of 80's classics, so I imagine this show will be packed.
The Juan Maclean
Thursday September 13 at Inrocks Club, Cocoliche
Reformed druggie makes good with interesting electro/disco/house on the esteemed DFA record label. Me likey.
Saturday, September 22 at Pacha
Normally clubs like Pacha are exactly the kind of places I would recommend avoiding like an STD, but German duo M.A.N.D.Y. make a stellar combination of house, electro, disco and techno while also running the excellent Get Physical record label.
Wednesday, October 3 at La Trastienda
This Arizona rock band (which oddly enough features a couple of Germans) has an amazing catalog that sounds like Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks updated for the 21st century. Influenced by everything from traditional Mexican folk music to old-school punk outfits like the Minutemen.
Friday, October 5 at Compass, Niceto Club
Granny-voiced harpist from San Francisco brings her delightfully odd songs to Buenos Aires' biggest indie club night. Local hipsters rejoice.
Sunday and Wednesday, November 4 and 7 at Teatro Gran Rex
You know who Bjork is. Apparently so does the rest of Buenos Aires, because both of these shows are sold out.
Here are some other foreign acts coming to Buenos Aires that you should do yourself a favor and not see. To further discourage attendance, no links have been included.
Thursday, October 11 at Luna Park
Does "bro rock" really need to be supported on an international level?
Saturday, October 13 at Parque Sarmiento
Buenos Aires has enough shitty trance music already. Do people really need to shell out $100 for some imported punchi punchi?
30 Seconds to Mars
Wednesday, October 24 at Estadio Pepsi Music
Jared Leto needs to be told that his Davey Havok impression is not fooling anybody.
Wednesday, October 24 at Luna Park
How can a band with such widespread acclaim be so uninteresting? Just stay home and listen to your Strokes and Franz Ferdinand CDs. Maybe some mid-90's britpop stuff too. I guarantee that will be better than this concert.
The Killers, Travis, Starsailor
Friday, November 2 at Estadio Velez Sarsfield
Someone should tell the Killers that just because they listened to some Bruce Springsteen records doesn't mean that they stopped sucking. Starsailor will probably be about as fun as watching paint dry. I feel bad for Travis.
Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2 at Estadio River Plate
Tickets start at 80 pesos but most seats are 300 pesos and above. When young people in Buenos Aires are often earning 1000-1500 pesos a month (and that is with a decent job), this concert starts to look like the musical equivalent of an IMF loan.