You Should Be Dancing
You know, I really like ABBA. A strange thing for a mid-30-something male from Southwest Louisiana to say but, yeah… I really do like ABBA.
I’m sitting here watching the first rays of sun just start to creep from below the horizon after a night at the disco. Now, some 40 years after the fact, the scene/genre has remained a cultural and musical milestone in our lives, even to those such as myself who were just arriving, or some of us who weren’t even born as the Disco era itself was dying.
Despite the vitriol it received in its later days, it still has nostalgic affinity and a definite quirky charm that appeals to anyone looking to cut loose and have some shameless fun. Whether it’s the flashy fashions of the day, putting one’s best Travolta on the dance floor, or belting out some Bee Gees or Donna Summer, there is uninhibited silly fun if you’re willing to break out the polyester, slip on the platform shoes and go out and get some of it.
Disco was born in the early ‘70s with its heyday running from 1976 through 1979. Musically, it had a certain style of tempo, rhythm and structure that produced smash hits but also became a genre that was defined, deified and demonized by its driving dance beats, excessive flair and the penchant for a crazed, drug-fueled, sexy vibe that rolled through the American night clubs of that era. Club-goers explored, indulged, experimented and immersed themselves in music and dance, abandoning their own apprehensions and that of those around them. It was a bit of that latter interpretation of the theme that came through to me tonight.
As many of you may know, beloved local staple Cigar Club not only features live music three nights a week but has also been known, on occasion, to throw the varied shindig or two with the annual January Disco an easy favorite of the bunch.
The 2015 edition was complete with the mirror balls, swirling lights, custom cocktails and the sounds of K.C. and The Sunshine Band, Gloria Gaynor, ELO, Barry White, The O’Jay’s, Village People and all of the usual suspects that took you right back to ’78. Something in the sounds and style of the night found the normally quiet people talking and laughing and the shy ones out dancing. While the scene was certainly no Roxy nor Limelight nor the famed 54, it certainly was disco, and hardly a soul in attendance didn’t get swept up into it before the night was done.
What I felt that night was, in many ways, that same carefree and almost hedonistic impulse that fueled the discotheque scene–not the extreme behaviors that unfortunately became associated with the clubs and the demise of the Disco Era–but just that desire to cut loose and feel good. That’s what the music itself was about.
The songwriters weren’t trying to change the world with their lyrics or their craft, like Dylan, for example. They produced something commercial that consumers enjoyed and wanted more of.
So, whatever your scene is, whether it be Sinners at My Place, Oh Rhien ay Luna Live, Entrenched Defilement at Center Stage, D.J. Tyski at 3topia, The Kadillacs at The Isle, The Molly Ringwalds at Party By The Pool, or Reba McEntire at Coushatta, or if it is indeed ABBA playing on the jukebox at a crazy disco party, realize that it’s not what type of music you like that’s important. It’s finding the music that makes you feel that abandon and happiness and getting out there to the events so you experience it. Find the music that moves you and go be a part of it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Dancing Queen to listen to…
SOMETHING’S HAPPENING HERE…
January 30 – Bag Of Donuts – Luna Live
Admittedly, my favorite of such similarly themed bands in the region. Fun, fast-paced show from a group of New Orleanians that are capturing the flamboyant spirit of the Crescent City with big costumes and lights behind their set of “Superpop” that will smack you with hit after hit all night long. One of the most enjoyable acts I’ve had the pleasure of working with. GO SEE THEM!
February 6 – Joe Harmon and The Harmonics – Delta Down’s Gator Lounge
A former Platter singing your favorite classic soul and R&B hits backed by musicians hailing from Lil’ Alfred’s band. Not much more needs to be said. Soul and Swamp Pop fans… GO SEE THEM!
February 6th – Trigger Proof – Mikko Lounge at Coushatta
Baton Rouge-based Trigger Proof has been making their way back and forth across the Gulf Coast for a while now and delivers a great show with all of your classic and modern hits. Featuring former Soul Vacation chanteuse Katie Pilipauskas, TP gives all of you who aren’t going to see Joe Harmon at Delta an alternative. Very talented and entertaining. GO SEE THEM!
NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA, HEY HEY HEY, GOODBYE…
Stay tuned for stories, anecdotes, reviews criticisms and critiques on all things musical or entertaining in the months and issues to come. Until then, I’ll see you at the show!