When the night finally arrived, a crowd formed in front of a nondescript building on a block lined with locked up shops in an über urban part of town. A big "B," the only clear indication you'd arrived at Blondie, spotlighted some cigarette smokers on the curb. Three flights of stairs downward and a dark hallway later, the warm-up DJ was already drawing whistles from the crowd on the big sunken dance floor. Small, white boxes hung from the ceiling, like strung up sugar cubes, every so often flashing in technicolour.
When Hawtin's silhouette finally appeared onstage, everyone threw their hands up and roared with excitement. But when he went to play his first track, there was a technical problem. The problems seemed to really throw him off—even after he finally got going, his head shook during every transition. The smoothness expected from a figure like Hawtin just wasn't there.
Chilean crowds always have a relentless energy: whether the DJ is smashing it or train-wrecking, whether there are 5 or 5,000 people in the room, they're always whistling and swaying back and forth. Their commitment to the party borders on religious zeal, and saves the performer in any emergency. At Blondie, the Chileans saved Hawtin. Not every work by a famous author is superb, but his reputation guarantees his fans will buy the book. Although Hawtin's performance at Blondie was far less than perfect, he still received overwhelming thanks from a hyper-responsive crowd.
Mon / 8 Jul 2013
Terri Lee Harel