We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


The fact that Tijuana has a techno-savvy, design-conscious leisure class was a surprise to most of the gringos who bought the Nortec Collective’s The Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 1 back at the turn of the century. After all, the border city isn’t a developing-world jewel like beachfront Rio or a global dance-music pit stop like Goa. It’s big, industrial, and dusty—faceless if not for its huge TV factories and pedestrian–friendly sin industry. The DJs of the loosely bound Nortec Collective don’t seem too concerned about overtly repping their town or with loudly crushing stereotypes, however. Their output—which is rooted in the coolness of house music but fully embraces tuba blasts, accordion noodling, and local percussion—is comfortably aware of its “hybrid culture” status, and the songs don’t overcomplicate the give-and-take between First World electronic beats and Latin World hooks. Take Collective member Bostich (Ramón Amor Amezcua), for instance—his grooves always seem to have a slightly sunny feel, as if the ennui of far-off ultramodern cities can’t taint his Tijuana. And the Collective’s flagship act, Fussible (Pepe Mogt and Melo Ruiz) isn’t afraid to get downright silly. The duo’s 2005 single “Tijuana Makes Me Happy” is ultimately apolitical—a straight-up pop song for a city that is very good at living in the moment. The Nortec Collective brings its sound at 7:30 p.m. to La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road NW. $20. (202) 944-6090. (Joe Warminsky)