Monday, April 23, 2007

Dancing in the City II

The Subway Soul Club on Saturday was a real throwback in every respect. The club itself, Rififi's is one of those places you might pass by if you weren't looking for it, despite the theatrical style marquis.

Walk in and it looks like a neighborhood bar, and--indeed--it has "Hi, neighbor!" prices like $3/pint for Pabst Blue Ribbon. Wander past the jean and t-shirt clad crowd to the back, and you get another soft surprise: a big, wooden-plank floored room--dark, but for a few stars on the ceiling and some blue lights--empty, but for two small tables, a couple of red velvet benches in the corner, a 10-foot wide movie screen, silently showing "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," and a little 2-turntable DJ booth. And here in this booth is where the magic happens.

The magic is the music--the greatest, most danceable soul music you've never heard (I recognized 3 songs over 2-1/2-plus hours). And they only play 45s!

With Hostess Lady Dawn, resident DJ Phast Phreddie The Boogaloo Omnibus, accompanied by DJ Miss Shingaling (who specializes in collecting suicidal ballads), and DJ Todd O-Phonic Todd, the night was non-stop dancing from 10:00:01 until 4 a.m. It's like going to a friend's house to listen to records, except there's 50 other people with you.

The DJs were very friendly, dancing whenever they weren't spinning vinyl (ah, I love that word!). Who every heard of dancing DJs? They really didn't have a choice, ultimately. Every time this reporter tried to sit down, a new song would come on and there'd be no choice but to dance again. The crowd was varied: oddly, the early crowd was in their 30s; and the later crowd was older! It was a lot of fun and happens again in a month!

P.S. Phast Phreddie also runs another monthly gig, "Wang Dang Doodle" (second Wednesday of the month at St. Jerome's Bar, located at 155 Rivington Street (between Clinton and Suffolk) in the Lower East Side). Last month's guest DJ was Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye. Guess who showed up? Ronnie Spector! And she sang! Next month's Wang Dang Doodle is May 9th: Mambo Madness! Guacamole made from the secret recipe of Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus!! Fiesta-like frivolity is assured!!

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