When I walked into the Meadowlark on Friday for Mile High Soul Club, I was greeted by the sight of a woman sporting a beehive that would've made Marge Simpson envious and a pair of folks who looked like Ringo Starr and Joan from Mad Men sipping drinks at the bar and illuminated by -- as touted -- the glow of a video projector playing cuts from '50s and '60s dance movies. Only a few people were filtering through the dim bar, and the members of Mile High Soul Club were nowhere to be seen. It was still pretty early -- 9:15, to be exact -- so it was more or less what I was expecting. But then a light bulb went off when I heard a Supremes song playing in the bar -- the party had moved to the patio.
When I ventured outside, the party was buzzing. All of the tables were already filled by early drinkers and the people who didn't stop going after happy hour. Everyone was blissfully ecstatic because it was Friday, and, well, because it's impossible not to be happy when the music is funky and the dance floor is jumping -- granted "jumping" might be a bit generous here as there were just two dancers that were cutting a rug at this point. Even so, what they lacked in numbers, the pair made up for with enthusiasm.
As promised when we spoke a few days earlier, I walked up to the DJ table to introduce myself and hand over my request. I couldn't decide what I wanted to hear, so the scrap of paper I handed Tyler Jacobson and DogBoy had four requests. "Don't judge me. I think I put too much Smokey Robinson on here," I said, apologizing. "Smokey Robinson is never the problem," said DogBoy with a laugh. "But why all of the slow jams? This is a dance party!" -- words that proved to be prophetic.
By 10:30, the dance floor was packed with the most colorful and diverse crowd I've ever experienced anywhere in the city: Professional swing dancers dressed like pinups mingled with partners dressed in bowling shirts. There was no shortage of slicked pompadours and even more beehives. There were older soul collectors, plenty of the young and hip
and everything in between, and everyone was dancing. If they weren't on the dance floor, they were dancing while conversing in circles of friends throughout the patio.
This is the first time the Mile High Soul Club guys were able to do the party outside, and you could tell they were excited, and their excitement was contagious. The crew played everything from the Temptations to Big Joe Turner. Everyone was making fast friends, sweating it out on the dance floor under the patio lights and cheering when the boys start spinning something they were waiting for.
I got adopted by a group of buzzed co-workers on the dance floor who told me multiple times that they would be back for this every month. A girl who looked like Rosie the Riveter grabbed me as I was going to get a drink and twirled me. I sat next to two guys who could have been rejects from the final Jersey Shore cast selection, and they couldn't stop marveling at the variety of babes in the room.
Tyler, DogBoy and Creeper Steve believe that everyone is drawn to classic soul in one way or another, and they're right. Whether people love it because of its era-spanning nostalgia or dance-ability, people at Meadowlark were feeling this music. We were all sharing the experience together, the moment, and it was clear that each one of us felt a strong connection, emotionally and physically, to what was being played. Needless to say, this is a party you don't want to miss.
The Mile High Soul Club monthly is going to be outside for the next few months for as long as the weather permits.
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