Dance club

Here’s why heavy metal enthusiasts have been frequenting a Latin dance club in Los Angeles since the pandemic began

Club Bahia is a Los Angeles staple on Sunset Boulevard, known for its dancing and live Latin music on the weekends. Patrons come to the nightclub to dance to reggaeton, cumbi, and salsa. So, naturally, when you think of Club Bahia, the words “heavy metal music” don’t usually come to mind. But like many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that.

In 2018, Los Angeles resident Kim Galdamez created Metal Merchants Market to allow fans of Japanese heavy metal band Sabbat to congregate, socialize and meet the band. The “metal market” was such a success that Galdamez decided to continue organizing the events.

Galdamez recognized metal markets as a lucrative opportunity for the metal community — and the Los Angeles music community as a whole — to congregate, trade goods, and earn money. After the pandemic hit, Galdamez decided to turn his full attention to the metal markets — one of the few outdoor activities Angeleno’s heavy metal enthusiasts could safely enjoy. But the task turned out to be more difficult than Galdamez had originally imagined.

A week before his next metal market, the venue Galdamez had originally booked to host the event was canceled at the last minute, and Galdamez was at an impasse.

By a stroke of luck, Galdamez was driving on Sunset Boulevard when she saw the Club Bahia sign and a number to call for information.

Galdamez called the number and asked the club owner, “Can I use your parking lot?” The owner of Club Bahia replied: “I have two car parks. And the rest was history.

Now, about once a quarter, the metalheads head to Club Bahia to flood their floors and parking lots with stalls selling everything from vinyl records and band t-shirts to boar skulls and vertebrae. of deer.

And the event is rapidly gaining momentum. The first metals market in November last year had 25 sellers – already not too bad for a niche local market at the height of the pandemic. The most recent event hosted 50 vendors.

Galdamez thinks the popularity of the events has something to do with the desire for human connection during such an extended period of isolation.

“I think not having shows, a lot of people haven’t been able to interact with friends like they probably would every week,” she told LAist. “It’s nice to have different generations interact and have everyone in one place.”

Galdamez has hosted five ‘metal markets’ at Club Bahia since last November and each encounter is even better than the last.

As for Galdamez, Club Bahia may not have been her first venue choice, but it’s certainly the only venue she has eyes for now.

“I love him so much and he has such a great story,” she told LAist. “It’s hard for me to go to another place.”

Who knows? Perhaps the blending of these two subcultures will create a genre of music that will change the world. For our part, we would like to hear what cumbia heavy metal sounds like.