Saturday Afterhours: Guti at Eden Terrace Garden

Saturday Afterhours: Guti at Eden Terrace Garden

Eden Terrace Garden at Nocturnal
Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Better than: all of the crap commercial Latin house clogging Miami's ears.   

With its latest slew of notable underground techno bookings, Eden Terrace Garden at Nocturnal has garnered lots of press, so I figured I

should take a crack at reviewing at least one afterhours there. Last

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Saturday seemed opportune, since Guti, a

personal favorite, would be playing a set. However, let me clarify that

the last time I'd been at Nocturnal about two years ago, I promised

myself I wouldn't return.

Afterhours clubbing is definitely not my

thing. There's something about finding myself still up and partying at

daybreak, all strung-out and mindlessly bobbing away to a harsh

relentless kick drum beat, that makes me feel monstrous, like a vampire

recoiling from the first light of day.

Techno afterhours attract a

uniquely impervious breed of hedonistic partier, and I cringe when I

find myself surrounded by all these drugged-out freaks writhing

stoically in their oversized shades. It reminds me of the opening scene

from the movie Blade, where this poor chump finds himself nightmarishly

surrounded by nightclubbing vampires.

That said, I decided to make the best of this particular Sunday dawn afterhours, and approach the matter detachedly, professionally. I got there at 4 a.m. and the terrace was almost empty -- with just a few bodies moving around the dancefloor while fairly insipid, albeit loud percussive techno blasted out of the speakers.

One of the first things I noticed was how poor the acoustics are on the terrace. Can't really blame the owners, considering the particular design of this outdoor space. But the sound seems refracted by the haphazard placement of speakers. The opening DJ sets were commercially unremarkable at best.

Around 5:30 a.m. the terrace was considerably more packed, and there

was an immediate change of climate on the dancefloor as Guti kicked off

his live PA. Armed with laptop and MIDI hardware controller, he began

interweaving his signature Latin polyrhythms, jazzy harmonies and

bouncy bass as the dancing quotient grew.

While he was raised in the Argentina-by-way-of-Berlin school of minimal techno, there's often hardly anything resembling minimal or

techno in Guti's sound. Congas, bongos, claves, and timbales lead

intricate rhythms as salsa piano riffs and even brash mambo orchestral

samples accentuate the pulsating Afro-Latin

beat. The sleek stripped-down production, however, did away with all

the boisterous inessentials of traditional Carribean dance music,

keeping it minimal yet flavorful.

He put on a fine set, and I stuck

around long enough to enjoy it before heading home to escape the


Personal Bias: Reservations about afterhours clubbing aside, I'm a fan of Guti's music.

Random Detail:

No night amongst Miami afterhours' finest would be complete without

some douche bag meat head getting into a brawl and kicked out of the

club by bouncers. In this case it took four of them, and they first had

to tackle him on the floor and put a chokehold on him before dragging

him away.

By the way: if you missed Guti this time

around, be sure to catch at least one of his performances during WMC

week, preferably at White Room or Electric Pickle, where the superior

sound systems will do him justice.

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