Festival Buen Dia – Alternative Music in Buenos Aires

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buen-dia-planetario.jpgIf you’re looking for corn tortillas in Buenos Aires, good luck finding them. But if you’re looking for good new music, that’s a whole other story. The city is loaded with music venues of all sizes and it’s the site of several music festivals as well.

One such event is Festival Buen Dia, an annual gathering of alterno bands which took place Saturday, December 15 at the Planetarium in Palermo. The festival used to be held in Palermo Viejo but outgrew the neighborhood. This year’s line-up included Juana Molina, girl rockers Las Kellies, psychedelic jammers Banda de Turistas, and the reliable sounds of the well-dressed ensemble Rosal.

buen-dia-2.jpgThe event started at two and continued past midnight. Those who made it during daylight hours got plenty of sun on a beautiful spring day. Evening concertgoers had to deal with more severe elements like strong winds and a major drop in temperature. Vendors were also present along the paths leading up the Planetarium and sold your typical festival fare – t-shirts, knick-knacks, fluorescent stretch pants, etc.

My friend and I arrived in the early evening and caught most of Diosque, a four-man outfit playing upbeat tunes with an indie pop flair. Not bad. Next came Amadeo Pasa, my least favorite act of the bunch. The songs went from bad to worse with super cheesy keyboards sounding like the soundtrack to a really bad ‘80s movie.

A great DJ spun tunes in-between performances and got people moving but that dance momentum stopped when the mellow evening acts such as Coiffeur took the stage. Coiffeur is an earnest singer-songwriter who strummed his guitar and sang quiet songs that I think were about love and longing. He is definitely talented and a real pro too. His guitar mic gave out at one point mid-song and but he forged ahead, saying he’d continue on without.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrGVL1wEKzI] Rosal followed Coiffeur, and as usual, they performed a solid set. The group gets bonus points for changing the arrangement on one of their best known songs “Bombon” to mix things up. Rosal offered several well executed mini-guitar jams too. Solid.

The wind was whipping when it was Juana Molina’s turn at bat. She’s the best known of this year’s Festival Buen Dia groups and gets international airplay. The former actress has a magnificent, almost surreal voice rivaled only by the complicated set-up she needs to perform. She’s the only person on stage and uses loop pedals and whatnot to create the sound of a full band. Her dependence on technology has its drawbacks, however. One of her loop pedals broke mid-performance and she stopped her song outright. She continued on with others but seemed frustrated and testy that she’d have to do without the pedal.

juana-molina.jpgIt was after 10 at this point and really cold so we bid farewell to our buen dia. All-in-all it was a well executed event. There were annoying sound glitches for sure but nothing too horrific. It’s also refreshing to go to a show where, unlike in the States, there’s no police presence and no one searching your every nook and cranny for contraband or your own food and drink. Everyone was free to bring whatever they wanted to enjoy the event.

What Do You Think?