Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#26 Go Underground

I didn't mean to. It happened quite on accident. I found myself in an industrial part of Montevideo; the kind of place where everything is corrugated metal and a shade of grey. Where during the day you would hear machines cutting and welding and creating things from metal, wood, whatever is around to create something new or more likely fix whatever is broken. At night it is vacant and foreboding.

We were led to this place by a tiny kid from Mozambique(I know A. Where the hell is that? B. Who has ever met anyone from Mozambique outside Africa?). He was a ball of energy that everyone in the group was drawn to. Who wouldn't be? He had an infectious charisma and the turban-style headdress he was wearing pegged him as exotic(really interesting). We followed him out to this concert that he was going to. After a walking for about 20 minutes the Are We There Yet? question got quite popular. "Only two more blocks", he would say, but five minutes later it was another two blocks. This continued for about 5 more times, but it was obvious we weren't going to stop. We had enough beer in the tank to make walking 2+ miles not seem that bad.

Groups of 2-4 of what seemed like high-school aged people sat around smoking/drinking/talking. We could hear the force of the electric guitar pulsing through the door around which the groups were congregated. It was nothing fancy in fact it seemed like it tried hard rather hard not to be. This is the Underground. There were goths and hipsters, rock guys and hippies, and then there was us a little more mainstream(at least I am). We entered the door as a band screamed in Uruguayan English(It sounds very whiny) Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. They played well, but the singing was not my favorite they should stick to Spanish. Quickly I grew tired and we soon after left with the stamp the only mark that we had been there.

I had met a Uruguayan in the Plaza de la Independencia on the Day of the Dead while watching the Zombie Walk(that seems to be becoming increasingly common). We talked later on Facebook and she gave me her band's demo CD. Surprisingly it was actually good and reminds me a little bit of Nirvana. However, their sound is way more complicated than that. I still am trying to figure out how to describe it while I play it over and over on iTunes. Although their name Contraste (Contrast, yea I know obvious) so they try to combine different styles, which creates a completely new something I can't describe. Anyways the night after going Underground for the first time I was going to their concert. I checked Facebook that morning for the location. I looked down at my arm. Decibelios stared back at me on my pale outstretched arm. Facebook confirmed I was bound there again.

I got off work at 11 and rushed to the bus and got off in the industrial Cordón. The concert was supposed to start at 11; I got there at 11:45 nothing was happening. This is Uruguay I should have guessed. I met the Uruguayan and she introduced me around her circle of friends. Smoke wafted around as other groups smoked around us...waiting. We passed a bottle of Pilsen around...waiting. Finally the doors were opened and we joined the mass of humanity waiting(catch the theme here) to get in. Upon arriving I was greeted by a tribute to John Lennon that was actually well done and of course featured his best songs and my favorite "Imagine". After that a break between bands or as I saw it a good time to grab a couple liter bottles of Pilsen to pass around the group.

We ducked back inside and with clever label swapping brought Pilsen into a Patricia bar and continued the bottle passing as we enjoyed the pounding drums, the twang of the electric guitar, and the echoing bass. The lead singer twisted his face and body as he scream/sang the Spanish(much better than English for Uruguayans)lyrics. A great concert really.

We filed outside grabbed more bottles of Pilsen to pass around and talked animatedly outside the door that the music pulsed out of. More people arrived; discussions became about more than the usual small talk/surface topics. People who knew English arrived. Language was discussed then politics then anything that seem really interesting. It got really philosophical and it was 5AM. I love these discussions and was somewhat surprised they happen in the Underground.

The music pulsing, the bottles circling the group, the philosophical discussions, the jokes thrown in every now and then. This is the Underground. It doesn't matter the place(although it helps), it doesn't matter what you dress like or where you come from, and it doesn't matter what language you speak. We're all people and we all appreciate good music this is why you go to the Underground. This why I love the Underground. Why didn't I go there sooner?

Check out Contraste Uy on Facebook here

Or their demo here.

What do you think about the Underground music scene? What do you like about it? Where do you go to find the Underground? Please Comment Below.


  1. I'm Bruno, the Vocalist from Contraste. Thanks for the review, we really appreciate it! :D
    I hope you're having fun while staying here, anything you need, just call!
    Byes!!! Have fun :)

  2. No problem man, definitely enjoying my time here and that concert was one of the best nights out I've had here.

  3. I'm one of the English speakers. The guy.
    That was indeed quite a memorable night.
    I just gotta say, your writing is amazing! I loved that description of the Underground.

    Well, see you around!

  4. Ryan! Me re alegro de que te gustara todo :D
    Un placer haberte conocido, realmente!
    Y ahora hay que aprobechar estas noches de verano para ir a la rambla a tomar cerveza! Estate atento que te mando un mensaje y vas para ahí ;)