SXSW Entry #1: Dënver @ The North Door

by Giovanni Guillén

My Megabus ran late Wednesday and so I wasn't in Austin until 3pm. Not a big deal unless you account for the fact that I missed Empress of at the Pitchfork day show (Ugh). It was probably this early hiccup that convinced me to take things relatively leve on my first night. Not to mention that Mujeres were also denied entry to the U.S, thus canceling all of their south by dates (Ugh). With those two acts no longer an option, the CF itinerary had only one thing left and it sure as hell wasn't División Minúscula. Though their first showcase performance was actually Tuesday, sources tell us the show was plagued by sound problems and very little time on stage. So the stakes were high for this North Door performance. Pre-show vibes were weird. Never mind being awkwardly placed in a showcase with Porter and Division Minúscula (which I guess accounted for the $15 cover charge), or how the rest of the lineup read like a list of Latin acts not on Club Fonograma's radar, the music also sucked. Random salsa and old Shakira (rockera era... So the Divisón fans wouldn't disapprove).

As 8 o clock rolled around- Dënver was onstage putting final touches on their setup, a nervous sound guy approached them and did that thing where talking through someone else seems like a better idea instead of asking himself ("are they ready?") Weon, please. Remember that scene in Selena when she calms down damn-near all of Monterrey by just smiling? That was Mariana as "Medio loca (hasta el bikini me estorba)" started playing. Not even one song in and I was already near tears. Emotional as it was, Dënver wasn't here just to make us cry- it was to make us dance.

"Medio loca" then segued into "Los adolescentes," soon the whole front row was jumping up and down, most mouthing along as well (Niñas Mal fans?).  Seeing each of them assume their stage presence, further underlined by their outfits- Milton rocking a Fara Faucet shirt, and Mariana in a jeweled top- reminded me why Dënver have the most perfect dynamic of any band right now. She filling in as the pop star, he, the nerdy composer who dissimulates a rockstar mystique behind a guitar. But through each song which also included "Olas gigantes," "Revista de gimnasia," "Lo que quieras," they would trade roles; a dorkiness from Mariana would slip or Milton would bring out his best moves. On the breakdown to "Profundidad de campo," they shared a perfect choreographed moment that displayed them as true equals. The set closed out, of course, with "En medio de una fiesta" immediately after Milton- professed his love for disco as they came down and exited. Don't know about y'all - but I straight up took that as a quiet diss to all of the dude rock that would soon follow. Which by default makes it the most punk moment of the night.

Side note: though I was still at the venue for hours after I did not catch Porter or Division Minúscula, so I'm really just talking mess.

Side side note: my night pretty much ended around midnight, after unsuccessfully trying to enter a Kelis show. I spent the rest of the night walking up congress trying to recreate Lorelle Meets the Obsolte's "These Days" video.