Eardrum-Tearing "Sound Walls" Are Hitting São Paulo's Nightlife

When the party starts, all the attention is turned to the real star: Megatron, a gigantic soundwall 13 feet high and 10 feet wide

Sound Wall at recent baile funk in the outskirts of São Paulo Folhapress

São Paulo

"Ladies and gentlemen, let the whoring begin."

The MC's announcement is the cue to start the music and make the partygoers feel the funk beats' vibration in their chests. It's about 1:00 AM, and the party happening in Caçapava, upstate São Paulo, is just embrasando - or warming up if you are a newbie in this universe 70 miles away from the capital.

However, the vibe is not the usual "girls in tight jeans making out with boys wearing baseball caps and sunglasses at night" type. When the party starts, all the attention is turned to the real star: Megatron, a massive sound wall 13 feet high and 10 feet wide, consisting of 110 loudspeakers piled one on top of another. The setup is accompanied by flashing LED lights that range from bright yellow to hot pink, from navy blue to light green, following the music beat.

The resulting mood is a mix between a school dance and a 1980s underground party, but with a music volume so aggressively high that it shakes one's clothes.

It's so strong that partygoers who are either not used to the sound or drunk enough to be unbothered need to step back a few dozen yards to avoid the feeling of the music piercing their eardrums.

Megatron is a reflection and evolution of a scene at least five years old, and that has been gaining momentum in São Paulo: the sound walls.

They are already showing up in São Paulo and surrounding towns, especially in funk carioca parties - both in closed functions or street parties that happen with no permit, that in turn often or bring issues with neighbors or the police.  

But the nightlife trend is bursting the ghetto parties’ bubble and hitting the mainstream: last year, Megatron starred an ad for fast-food chain Habib's and food delivery service iFood, which featured a version of "Só Quer Vrau" (MC MM), a funk carioca cover of popular Italian song "Bella Ciao."

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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