Tag: disco

REVIEW: Deep Ellum Scene of Party of Opposites

Los Amigos Invisibles

Los Amigos Invisibles

The clock on the wall at Trees in Deep Ellum may have been off by more than an hour, but everything happened right on time on a recent Thursday night in Dallas.  After an eclectic disc jockey set that shifted from Bob Marley tunes into 1990s house music, Los Amigos Invisibles turned the club into quite the syncretic party.

Los Amigos Invisibles didn’t begin its set with a bang; rather, the New York-based Venezuelan funk and disco act began in darkness with a simple hand-off from the DJ to the band’s keyboardist.  Layering in guitar, drums and a team of percussionists, Lost Amigos Invisibles took off with the audience and didn’t stop until the last song of their encore.

With a high-energy stage presence (and a guitarist with seriously high-energy hair), the band seamlessly ran the gamut of Latin American rhythms and European or American dance-pop.  Numbers such as “La que me Gusta,” the lead single from the group’s latest album, have a decidedly 1980s-in-Argentina feel, while the wild disco of “El Reino Animal” is a direct descendant of 1970s American disco.  From the unexpected reference to the surf rock standard “Misirlou” to the searing merengue finale, Los Amigos Invisibles had an excitable crowd dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

This was not the typical Latin pop or even rock en español concert. Los Amigos Invisibles leans quite a bit more toward straight-ahead funk and disco and away from the seductive grooves and melodies of other Latin fusion groups.  This is not to say that the band lacks romantic crooning or hip-shaking rhythms; those aspects are just blended in with the funky keyboard lines and disco-beat drumming.

Whether whistling in harmony, inciting the audience members to respond back to their calls or simply vamping in their unique blend of Latin music and funk, the band onstage had just as great of a time performing music as concertgoers did listening. Los Amigos Invisibles surely accomplished all that they had set out to do.

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REVIEW: Who Says Disco's Dead?

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Love the night life? Want to boogie?

Then you’ll love “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

The fab production spotlights one fun disco song after another. Beginning with “It’s Raining Men” sung by three high-strung divas and rolling on with such tunes as “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Go West” and “Boogie Wonderland,” this show is a bell-bottomed romp down memory lane, musically speaking. The thin plot focuses on a road trip through the Australian outback, but the story line is just a backdrop for the fun. It’s not Shakespeare because it doesn’t take itself nearly that seriously.

The musical numbers don’t so much steal the show as they are the show. The eye-catching co-stars are the costumes, which won a 2011 Tony Award, and they’re wild, colorful and silly.

Gender-bending performers take the stage, and they proved they could dance, they could sing and when the microphones messed up, they could ad lib a funny line or two. “Priscilla” offers plenty of comedy–some of it fairly raunchy–and the actors drop a few F-bombs so even if it’s a light comedy, it’s really not family fare.

But with “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Love the Nightlife” mixed with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and a few other choice hits, the show’s perfect for girls’ night out, disco dancers, platform shoe freaks and afro-loving guys. Be there before this happy Dallas Summer Musical presentation closes May 26, so you can shake your groove thing. Yeah, yeah.

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Definitely a Boogie Wonderland

Disco never died. Oh, it might have gone into hibernation for a while, but it’s very much alive.

I offer as evidence the Saturday night scene in Westlake where platform shoes, afros and shiny, polyester shirts were populating the Bear Creek Art Gala, held at First American Banquet Center. The disco group Le Freak, with its covers of the Bee Gees and KC and the Sunshine Band, headlined the party benefiting Young Artists of Texas, but the band’s giant afros weren’t enough to steal the spotlight.

The outfits pulled out of some back closet by the party-goers provided a good amount of entertainment. Halter tops, gold lame and a lot of shiny stuff became very popular. Dan Holmes, who proved he was loud enough to not need a microphone, topped his outfit with a particularly bad blonde wig, and I spotted at least one John Travolta-esque white suit in the crowd. A few of the ladies got their ’70s disco styles mixed up with their ’60s go-go ensembles. And some of them were short enough that one guy in attendance swears he can tell you what color one woman’s underwear was. Yikes. Or as John Denver would have said, “Far out, man.

As I averted my eyes from that Studio 54 replay so I could still gather my thoughts to write, I must say the night that slipped into the time warp provided more than one evening’s entertainment. The disco dancing, the local fare, the live auction, plus the bad hair and shiny outfits all were for a good cause–promoting the Lone Star State’s emerging artists.

To promote young, Texas artists, Jenny Tilbury founded YAT (www.yatgallery.org) five years ago, opening the YAT gallery in 2006. Plans include a gallery night from 6 to 9 p.m. June 9 at the gallery, 246 S. Main St., Keller. And for that, with our disco inspiration, shall we all Hustle on that Saturday Night for a Funkytown Celebration? Of course, I know there’ll be some Hot Stuff  there, and Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough art created by the young artists.

Maybe my disco headband is squeezing my brain, and I should stop now. I know I Will Survive because That’s the Way I Like It.

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