Poncho packs a punch

Poncho is led by Zuker, centre
Poncho is led by Zuker, centre

Are you ready for Poncho? was the first track Argentine DJ Zuker and his new band Poncho played late January at Mar del Plata’s Sobremonte Complex. Given that a power cut put an abrupt stop to their performance for a good 15 minutes, second time round we were chomping at the bit.

Just as the mix of clubbers skirting the age of 18 mixed with overly bleached blondes taking full advantage of free entry on Ladies’ Night had been lured to the outdoor stage, the power went down. Did a fuse frazzle, was it the over-exuberant smoke machine, or was it the inability to handle the enormous three-screen lights show behind the four-piece band? Would anyone be sacked later on for this electronic oversight?

Unlikely, if Zuker has anything to do with it, even though this is one of the first shows he has done live as Poncho, a project he is really excited about. The laid-back DJ who has been spinning discs since the 1980s (“I didn’t even know how to mix back then,” he admits) started the band about a year and a half ago with Leandro Lopatin and Fabian Picciano, and although they were aiming to release their first album in April, it came out last week.

So, the lights returned and the crowd wandered back. Poncho’s feel is very 80s, the vocals are morphed and reminiscent of Kraftwerk, and although some of the set must be pre-recorded, the need to produce live music, via percussion, guitar and keyboards while incorporating decks, comes across because the energy the band creates is infectious.

Is this electro rock? Is it indie electronica? Hard to define, Poncho took samples, such as Technotronic’s dance classic Pump Up The Jam and Guns ‘n Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine, and added such extreme bass it clarified why the electricity decided to take a break three minutes into the set.

Later that night, mainly because she turned up late, techno DJ Romina Cohn took to the decks and was accompanied by VJ Miss Toia. Appropriately on Ladies’ Night, young men in tight tops danced atop small cubed stages and although one young girl was carried out at 5.30am, the other 2,000 clubbers, many sporting sunglasses, took full advantage of Romina, Argentina’s best-known female DJ, until 8am.

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