So, every other year it seems I make sure that I go out Dancing for my Birthday. And in the Bay Area one of the finest Saturday Nights is Soul Night at the Mission District’s Elbo Room.
In a competitive scene catering to Northern Soul In San Francisco (Edinburgh Castle’s 1964 and The Knockout’s Oldies Night to give a shout out to a few) I don’t know what draws me every other year to this particular club and inspires me to dance for 3 hours til I’m sore to celebrate life.
Then I heard from a few other ears why this smacks somewhat of a former era:
There’s a healthy percentage of people that actually get their shirts pressed, their ties and nylons out, and do their hair. Just like going out used to be a special occasion, a chance to dress and impress (and some extension of validation of your outward presence and charisma) as if you yourself were as much of a star as those that you’d be dancing with.
Then there’s the influence of dancing to the Soul music itself. Being a Northern Soul Geek I normally spend the week after tying to remember in an alcohol influence haze what I had heard familiar and what I had heard anew.
A friend of mine noticed a lot of people treated it almost as a Pentecostal Church experience, which is almost as accurate as I can describe it. Albeit a more complex experience. The songs as diverse as everyones condition in the room, Joys and pain and financial woes and hitting your stride are detailed in lyrics compressed down to 3 minute time capsules on little vinyl 45s, dedicated to each of us and not some monotheistic deity.
Exhaulting our lives, for the people, by the people.
You can say this is basically any true club/rave/dance experience. Letting the rhythms (and hopefully) the words overtake you and inspire you to feel better about being alive.
I’m thankful I remember to do it every once in a while. I’m thankful for all of those who wrote the words, plucked guitars and beat out rhythm on the drum before I set foot into the world so I can continue to do so.