On a Wednesday night in Bogota, hundreds of Colombian youth line up to enter Club Las Vegas Nevada, a former strip club turned seedy teatro in the city’s Chapinero district. It’s a special night, a group of DJs from the USA have come and kids proudly display T-shirts and tattoos signifying their loyalty. This wouldn’t be unusual for an EDM event in the United States, but the difference is that these kids aren’t here to see Deadmau5 or Steve Aoki, they’re here for multiple varieties of balls-to-the-wall, slam-your-face-into-a-speaker, extreme-nosebleed hardcore techno.
Hardcore techno, also known as Gabber, was an early dance music staple that reached the apex of its popularity in the 1990s rave scene. Characterized by a wildly fluctuating tempo between 150-300 BPM, barrels of distortion and a generally evil vibe, hardcore techno disappeared as a main room attraction in the United States during the great rave depression of the early 2000s. It never truly died though, bolstered by a cult-like following throughout the world, it now thrives in new locales like Colombia. Disgruntled youth in the country’s capital of Bogota have rejected the more established house and techno sound in favor of high BPM sonic assaults, regularly filling nightclubs there for all night hardcore parties.