The Mexican Club Music Sequence

Here in Mexico you have jazz, rock, rap, better ska than what’s in the states, and of course all the Latin music: cumbia originally from Columbia, salsa from Cuba and New York City, bachata, and homegrown Mexican music: banda, nortena, mariachi…

Unfortunately 9 out of 10 radio stations play the worst American pop/club hits. Same with your average nightclub – but that’s only part of the story.

The Mexican Club Music Sequence

There are different kinds of clubs in Mexico – like “rodeos,” which play banda music, usually live. Or you can go to a “baile” – a dance, where again there is probably live music. Then there are clubs for every music under the sun. I especially like the salsa places. Salsa live is amazing.

If you go out to the “antros” enough you will eventually be subjected to what I call the Mexican Club Music Sequence. Now, it isn’t hard to find a real DJ who is actually mixing music. There are plenty of great clubs in Mexico. However, the Mexican Club Music Sequence is always a dude with Virtual DJ on the laptop, playing this sequence:

1. Shitty American club hits:

You know, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez (“On the Floor” must be one of the worst rip-offs ever – she cut the melody in half and lost the changeup of “llorando se fue”). All that crap – I think they like it here even better than they do in the states, maybe because they can’t understand the incredibly trivial lyrics.

2. A little diversity

The club hits last for the first few hours, often past midnight. Once everyone starts getting drunk the DJ will finally throw in some Latin music, cumbia or salsa songs.

3. Latin dance party

There comes a point where the music is just straight up cumbia and salsa with the occassional bachata, banda, or (gasp!) reggaeton thrown in. People are dancing with partners, following the proper steps for each kind of music, all with booming bass and funky drumming.

4. I can’t believe my eyes

The Latin music lasts awhile. Then things slow down and the DJ makes an announcement. A dramatic shift happens. Couples separate, seated people enter the floor and others go to the bar. Everyone lines up.

Then the music starts: a cheesy-synthesizer Spanish version of Achy Breaky Heart! County line dancing! No shit. I’m not making this up. The first time I saw this I almost spilled my drink. What made it even crazier was looking over and seeing my friends in the line, right in step.

Every club, party, and wedding does the same two songs, Achy Breaky Heart – No Rompas Mas by Caballo Dorado in Mexico – and some instrumental, and the floor fills with everyone doing the same steps. Hands on hips and everything, like some redneck bar in Alabama. I can do it now; it’s quite easy. This is the time for everyone to get a chance to dance, apparently.

5. Late night

After the line dancing, the music can go in any direction – back to club hits, Latin music, but eventually, late at night, it goes straight to booming reggaeton and people start making out.

The Ice Bar in Mexico City (Condesa) – cool place but they played the sequence

Like I said, there’s no shortage of good DJs in Mexico. But if you go out long enough, you will eventually have this experience. The upside is that everybody has a great time and if you are in the State of Mexico, not Mexico City, the place will stay open until early morn.


About Ted Campbell

U.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at)

Posted on January 29, 2012, in Mexico, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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