A Night at Spotify IRL, Where Playlists Came to Life

by Runi Cholid
7th March 2023
Spotify and MANUAL drew the night crowd to Senopati for Spotify IRL: Block Party, bringing three genres of Spotify playlists to life for a jazzy evening at Houma, a disco bash at Zodiac and a nostalgic sing-along at Duck Down Bar.

Like clockwork, a burst of energy weaves its way through the streets of Senopati as work ends on a Friday, looking to release the week’s worries. It’s an established routine that MANUAL and Spotify tapped into last Friday, 3 March with Spotify IRL: Block Party, where they took over three venues at the well-known nightlife strip and brought Spotify playlists to life.

To be fashionably late was surprisingly not on the card that evening. By 9 PM when the event kicked off, Houma was already abuzz with anticipation for saxophonist Tommy Pratomo. Even as tables filled up, the crowd continued to search for comfortable corners to stand in, unbothered by the arrangement. They nodded their heads to the rhythm while Tommy’s deft hands carried the tunes from Spotify’s “Jazz Anak Negeri” playlist—plus a few other recognisable jazz, soul and even R&B tracks including Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” and “Weak” by SWV.

With the VIP list and content creator Titan Tyra as host, one would easily find themselves brushing shoulders with famous faces. Some groups of friends took pictures to commemorate their night out; others chat quietly over a glass of Eastindies Gin-based Don’t you worry or the other two signature cocktails of the night, the chai-infused Tokyo Tonic and the rosy Billie’s Nightcap; while enthusiasts circled Tommy’s stage for sing-alongs—and a few even took over the mic and surprised other guests with their dulcet tones.

It would’ve been easy to spend the rest of the evening there, and many did, but the more energetic part of the crowd found themselves seeking other forms of excitement from the rest of the venues. Enjoying the clear sky—a welcomed break from the constant rain lately—they trickled out of Houma and walked the short distance to Zodiac for a night of disco.

Upon arrival, seeing the boldly fashionable crowd at the entrance of the club, one would immediately anticipate a different experience inside. Past security, architectural designer Library of Car had transformed Zodiac’s hallway into what looked like the inside of a disco ball, dominated with blue lights and holographic accents. Onto the dance floor, an otherworldly atmosphere had taken over.

At Zodiac, hosted by fashion influencer Kent Hadi, the darkness and the occasional strobing lights covered the bumping crowd in anonymity—a total 180 from Houma. There was hardly any space to navigate through as people lost themselves to dance and electronic tunes with the disco-inspired playlist “Lantai Dansa”, mixed and performed by DJs ffan, DISCOUTURE and PNNY that gave the occasion a retro-futuristic vibe.

There was a peculiar sense of freedom in becoming one with the faceless crowd, raising one’s hands to the beat and downing shots a friend brought over on a tray. The less extroverted, however, found themselves drawn outside where they chatted with friends on Zodiac’s steps while watching the passing crowd.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the strip, Duck Down Bar was unceasingly packed with those searching for early 2000s nostalgia; at one point, the line snaked up the stairs, past the SOHO building’s entrance and onto the sidewalk. Music collective Salon RnB was the main act, leading the live karaoke with the host, model Agnes Rahajeng. Together, they delivered hits from the “Terbaik 2000an” playlist and more, which got the audience singing along at the top of their lungs—who cares about hitting the right notes?

A trip to the younger days seemed to bring a collective joy to the crowd, and it removed any inhibitions of sharing intimacy and camaraderie with one another. Friends hugged, couples kissed and strangers laughed together while shouting Sheila on 7 lyrics to each other, even without any liquid courage.

The procession of events went well beyond midnight, which was expected. While most of the attendees seemed to stick to a venue and genre they liked best, quite a few found adventure from walking the line that connected the three venues and visiting each one. And when the party-goers woke up the next morning, they were probably glad that it was still Saturday.

Spotify IRL: Block Party was powered by Double Deer Lab.