We Love Music: 80s Parties Revisited

Not long after I wrote an update on various dance parties focusing on 80s music last year, several of them closed down — or at the very least went on hiatus. A personal favorite party, called Kids in America, is no longer keeping everything moving on a Friday night at Dahlak. And the long running 80s Dance Party hosted its last Michael Jackson Thriller danceoff at Chief Ike’s — for now.

The remaining parties have experienced enough changes that it’s time to come running… “back from the past,” to borrow a phrase from the Information Society. I’m going to tackle these parties in the order in which you can see them chronologically.

Party: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The Scene: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is going surprisingly strong at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (1104 H St. NE) on every other Wednesday (or so). The first one of the year, two weeks ago, offered one of the largest crowds ever for a KKBB party that wasn’t a special event of some sort, suggesting the force is strong with this one. KKBB, named for a glammy goth song by UK band Specimen, specializes mostly in post-punk crowd-pleasers like the Psychedelic Furs, Modern English, Adam Ant, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and of course The Cure.

One half of the regular DJ team (The Machine) left last year, leaving Devolutionary to take over as the full-time DJ. Earlier this month, he was joined by the founding dj, DJ Kangal, who played really awesome stuff. Perhaps he’s going to guest regularly? This week, Devolutionary is joined by DJ Addambombb, a regular guest at KKBB and its parent party Spellbound. Hostess Lori Beth and the rest of the KKBB team are promising to make “a very special announcement” this week as well, so turn up to find out what it’s all about.

A personal favorite song I’m likely to hear: Did Kangal really play A-ha’s “The Swing of Things” last time? That’s why that guy needs to come back asap.

Your next chance to go: Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 9pm. KKBB happens every month on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Free admission.

Party: New Order/Duran Duran Dance Party

The Scene: The folks at FYM Productions like to stay busy. You can catch their 80s Mayhem parties (where you might hear anything that came out in the late ’70s to the early ’90s), their Cryfest parties (where you might hear anything by The Smiths or The Cure or related projects), or their Depeche Mode parties (where you will hear only… Depeche Mode) at the Black Cat (1811 14th NW). The latest effort from FYM is something a little different.

Once again, Steve EP, the Joe Cool of DC DJs, brings a mega party to the Cat’s mainstage. With New Order/Duran Duran, Steve EP and his crew bring together two bands that actually have very little to do with each other aside from their classic lineups releasing their debut albums in 1981.

While the party’s theme seems an odd marriage, it’s drawing a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd that follows FYM Productions. And it doesn’t completely come out of nowhere. FYM did this party once before in December 2006. I personally had a really great time at that last one and I’m really quite looking forward to this one. While New Order is ubiquitous at many DC dance nights, catching some Duran Duran, particularly an entire half an evening of Duran Duran, is much harder to come by in these parts.

A personal favorite song I’m likely to hear: I’m a big fan of Duran Duran and their new stuff is criminally underrated. I plan to dance like crazy to the likes of “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise” and “Girl Panic!” And like everyone else, I’ll be way too happy to hear “The Chauffeur” out in a club. On the New Order side, “Round and Round” is a personal favorite but I expect to dance more to “True Faith” and “Crystal.”

Your next chance to go: Friday, Jan. 25, at 9:30pm. Buy a ticket in advance! $10 admission.

Party: Synth Saturday

The Scene: Once upon a time, DJ Michael Scruggs started running a Thursday night party (then known as Synth Thursday) at French bistro Lyon Hall (3100 N. Washington Blvd, Arlington, Va.). Now, it seems, he’s moved to a bigger and better night of the week on Saturdays with Synth Saturday. Scruggs is promising a night of New Order, Thompson Twins, English Beat, Bauhaus, The Now, and XTC alongside some Minor Threat and Bad Brains.

Lyon Hall has a damn good beer selection and you can sit and eat a good meal before you go dance if you arrive early enough. What’s not to like?

A personal favorite song I’m likely to hear: Apparently, I would hear XTC’s “Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)” or “Senses Working Overtime” if I were to go?

Your next chance to go: Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9pm. Free admission.

Party: Right Round

The Scene: What more can I say? It’s at the Black Cat (1811 14th NW), which has become ground zero for good dance parties. It’s spun by DJ lil’e, who is in her 12th year of spinning Right Round, baby, Right Round, monthly. And she always spins this thing herself for four or five hours straight. It’s still very popular and lil’e generally is even more in demand at mainstream parties held at the 9:30 Club and Ram’s Head Live.

Right Round, named so for the popular song by Dead or Alive, brings the dancing with music like The Human League, The Go-Go’s, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Psychedelic Furs, Rick Springfield, Men at Work, They Might Be Giants, and a whole lot of others.

A personal favorite song I’m likely to hear: “Sound of the Crowd” by The Human League — I do so love it when someone has the good taste to explore more than one League song (that song always being “Don’t You Want Me,” of course).

Your next chance to go: Saturday, Feb. 16, at 9:30pm. Right Round consistently occurs on the third Saturday of every month backstage at the Black Cat for the foreseeable future. $7 admission.

Mickey reviews music shows. For recent reviews, visit Parklife DC.


2 thoughts on “We Love Music: 80s Parties Revisited

  1. Additionally, Cobalt has a weekly Tuesday night 80’s party called Flashback with DJ Jason Royce.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Robbie! I searched for other parties to mention but the Cobalt party initially came up as an all-around “retro party.”