On Wednesday night, we went with Luz on a road excursion to see a tango orchestra in the barrio of Abasto. I hadn’t ever actually been to a tango show (inexcusable, I know), but I was assured that this was something different than your usual tango extravaganza. Was it ever.
We heard the singer was going to be fashionably late (of course) so our group sat around the table chatting and watching the converted gymnasium fill completely with people of all ages eager to see the show. The energy in the room grew palpably while we waited and waited and waited some more for the band to take the stage. The room was lit only by the thousands of reflections from the Fiat-sized disco ball spinning from the steel roof. Well after midnight, the room descended into complete darkness and the rabid crowd cheered at the top of its lungs. I had no idea what to expect.
Now I’ve seen my fair share of concerts, but nothing like this. Ever. The band came out…piano, cello, upright bass, 3 violins and 4 accordions coupled with dreadlocks, youth, and a great sense of theater. And they began. It was a crashing, gnashing, discordant cacophony of sound that caught me completely off-guard. I couldn’t tear my eyes off the band as they blasted through their first three songs with strobe lights and fog effects. It was loud, raw, and full of passion and all this without a vocalist. The singer finally appeared looking like a cross between Robert Smith (The Cure), Benicio del Toro, and Heath Ledger’s Joker. What a character. He was one of the most entertaining lead singers I’ve ever watched and he could certainly belt out the tunes. They played songs from the 1930’s with such presence and gusto that they seemed written for 2008. The accordion players were the highlight for me as they stretched and mashed their instruments over their knees to create beautiful, if jarring, waves of sound. I’ve got a lot to learn about Tango and its roots, but I do know that this group impressed me in a new way and made me hungry for more.
The Fernandez Fierro Tango Orchestra is an eye-popping spectacle that I can highly recommend to anyone wanting to see something different on a Wednesday night. They play every week at 764, Sánchez de Bustamante (Abasto) and it’d be a good to show up at 10:30 if you want a seat. Hasta luego…