After a very long day and an even longer night (augmented with wine and pisco), I woke up rather late today and felt groggy. I slept in, watched a bit of TV, surfed the net, and then finally took a serious look at the pile of dishes and leftovers in my fridge. I made a dent in the mango salsa and the ceviche, and then got to the work of cleaning dishes and relegating leftovers to various containers. I realized that I had forgotten to put out my “simple” salsa last night, so I had about 1L of salsa that I needed to eat in the coming days. That isn’t so much of a problem, except that bags of tortilla chips here run about 2.50€ per bag. Seriously. I think I’ll just use crackers or maybe potato chips.
Anyway, that was that. I spent most of the evening taking care of these domestic issues and then making a first attempt at blogging last night’s events. Most of my crew from last night was going to meet at Le Léopard Café and then maybe move onto the Rex club to see Mathias Tanzmann. I was feeling a bit too tired to go out clubbing (boy, was I wrong), but at least I could go to the café and catch up with everyone. Also, a friend that I had made in Berlin was possibly going to join us, so I was motivated to go out at least a little bit.
I hopped on a Vélib bike and made my way down to the Léopard café (this time without getting lost) and grabbed a pint. I was the only one there when I arrived, but after a few minutes the rest of the crew started materializing. We chatted about last night’s debauchery (“That pisco kicked my ass!”) and Fantômette’s sterling set (“She kicked my ass!”) and our sorry state this morning (“Ow, my ass!”).
A couple of pints later, Fantô and her girlfriend asked me if I was following them to the Rex. Feeling a bit sluggish, I said, “Meh, I dunno. I’m kinda tired and I spent so much money on last night’s food, I don’t think I can pay 14€ to in turn buy 10€ drinks.” Immediately, a handful of my friends piped up, offering their place on one of the guestlists or inviting me to be their “plus one.” (In the world of guestlists, you’re usually added as “Luis +1,” which means you’re can bring a companion.) Aww, shucks.
Well, I couldn’t turn down that sort of offer, especially considering that my friend from Berlin still hadn’t caught up with us. I wasn’t sure that she would make it to the Rex, but maybe…
Mathias Tanzmann @ Le Rex
We got to Le Rex pretty early, since our guestlist entries were all going to expire around 1h30. We arrived at 1h00, thinking that we were in good shape, but emerged from the subway station to find a massive, massive guest line. In fact, it was longer than the cash line. We all quietly cursed as we realized that there was a good chance of us being kept in line until the expiration of our guest list spots.
We got in line—me, Fantô, her girlfriend and an Australian couple we were hosting—and grumbled and debated whether we would pay full price to get in. I certainly wouldn’t.
A few minutes later, Fantô saw some people she knew a bit further up in line, so wandered over, said hello, and tried to seamlessly merge into the line. We still had a ways to go to get into the club, but we had probably shaved 15 minutes off of our wait. As we waited, a girl near the front of the line leaned over the stanchion and vomited on the pavement. Good luck getting into the club now, sister. Eww, you had spaghetti for dinner. Ugh, now everything smells like bile.
Then, a miracle. Fantô’s girlfriend pointed out a figure exiting from the doors of the Rex’s offices. It was Molly, one of the two DJs I had hung out with on the Rex’s float at the Techno Parade about a month ago. She’s also the person in charge of bookings at the club, so if there was anyone who could help us out, it would be her.
I called her name and she came over to exchange kisses with me. Thankfully, I didn’t even have to ask her for anything; she immediately said, “How many of you are there? Five? OK, one second.” She said a few words to the bouncer at the front, and the five of us were waved through (walking gingerly around that girl’s vomit). The doorperson (a.k.a. Mr. Peevish Listmaster) seemed to recognize me, shook my hand and asked me how I was doing, and then waved all five of us past the ticket booth without even asking who’s list we were on. This was quite different from the welcome I got the first few times I went to Le Rex back in 2006-07.
As lovely as it was to get ushered past the line, the really nice moment of the night came just a few seconds later. As we passed the ticket booth and started to head down the stairs, I got a call from my Franco-Berliner friend; she had caught up with us, and she was standing in from of the club. The lineup was still huge outside, so she was hoping I might be able to get her in. I walked back up the stairs and saw that the doorman had disappeared somewhere. I approached the bouncer and mustered something that I hoped was a mixture of friendly and respectful French:
“Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you. I have a friend who just arrived as we were going inside and I was wondering if she could come in with us. It’s not a question of guestlists or anything—she’ll pay full price at the booth—but I feel bad leaving her to wait in line while we’re inside.” I was ready to keep on talking, but he simply said, “Where is she?” I pointed her out, and he waved her in without comment. We thanked him profusely and headed in.
I suppose that I partially benefited from having traded kisses with a Rex employee just a few minutes before right in front of him, but the bouncer certainly didn’t have to say yes to me. He could’ve said that she needed to wait in line with everyone else and nobody would’ve faulted him for it.
Anyway, it seemed like the fates were determined for me to have a night out, despite my own fatigue.
The night itself was actually pretty uneventful after that (but not at all unpleasant). The opening DJ was D’Julz, whose selection was sounded more like a DJ set from the mid-90s than anything recent. It sounded too much like the sort of progressive house I was studiously avoiding in 1999.
Mathias Tanzmann came on at around 3h00 and put on a rather mixed set. The first 30 minutes of his set I found really disappointing: thumpy hard-house and noisy trance that made me think I was watching DJ Tiësto or Paul Oakenfold rather than a minimal techno DJ from Berlin. Things took a turn for the better for the next hour, though, as he shifted to a heavy-handed “minimal” techno sound. The set was still, overall, more coarse and noisy than I would’ve liked, but I definitely enjoyed myself.
The last half hour of his set was again pretty disappointing. By then, it was 5h00 and we were ready to head home. We sat down and waited until 5h30 so that my friend could catch the first métro of the morning, and then we headed out and made our separate ways home. I walked a few blocks and grabbed a Vélib bike to make my way home.