Rock & Roll Pizza Party
(Third Wednesday of the month)
Venue: The Biltmore
Music: Garage and punk
DJs: Kyle Scully, John Arnett and Ashley Marie
Cover: $7 for local bands, $8 for touring bands
Drink Specials: $3.75 PBR, $4.75 on feature draft
It seems obvious now, but the idea is actually totally ingenious. Jillian Mann has been a promoter for the Biltmore for two years now and entertained the idea of having her own night there. When given the go, she had to come up with something that would get people out on a Wednesday night. What better than the best music and free food? “We thought of naming it Hot Lunch and having free hot dogs,” said Mann, but then the idea of free pizza dawned on them. “We found out there’s a bar in Montreal that already does a Rock & Roll Pizza Party, so I contacted the promoter for it and asked if we could have one here,” Mann told me in an interview outside the venue while we watched people pour in. “He was really excited about the idea … Now there’s one on Calgary, too.”
With your $7 cover ($8 for touring bands), you get two tickets which you can exchange for two slices of Dallas Pizza. According to Jillian, Dallas Pizza has “been amazing!” November was the first month of the Pizza Party, and the Biltmore ran out before half the people there got their eats. They had to call for emergency pizza and Dallas had no problem delivering.
Furthermore, with every cover charge, $1 gets donated to PROHAB Helmet Society. Started by Renée N. Le Page and Dustin J. Bromley, PROHAB is the Confederation for the Protection of Heads and Brains, and according to their website, PROHAB is “dedicated to developing awareness about the use of helmets in our community.” Music, pizza and a good cause! Could you think of a better way to spend the third Wednesday of the month?
It gets better. DJ Kyle Scully with guest DJ, either John Arnett or Ashley Marie, play the best garage, punk and grunge from the past three decades. Every song is on point and there’s more: live bands! December’s event featured Manic Attracts, Student Teacher and the Tranzmitors. With a lineup like that, what more is there to say? If you like Black Flag, Black Lips and Black Easter [ed. and pizza], you’ll love this party.
Astoria Soul Club
(Third Saturday of the month)
Venue: The Astoria (surprise!)
Music: Soul music,
preferring Southern gospel and rare gems
DJs: SlimRoy and Johnny Was
Drinks: $3.75 bottles, $4.25 shots
Have you joined the club yet? True, “Astoria” and “Soul” is a surprising combo. True, you may face a door line (and bar line and bathroom line). Okay, it may require scaling people to get your dance floor spot.
These are no reasons to miss the latest hot spot night. You will be bumping shoulders with everyone, grandma and the kitchen sink included. You won’t be faced with pretentious vibes from the usual crowd. Instead, it’s a perfect mélange of weekenders, scooter kids, mod kids, soul nerds, punks and just your average unclassified Joes. Somehow this spastic mix doesn’t even create the expected sock-hop nightmare. The music is old, incredibly accessible and funky as hell, making the dance floor irresistible.
Aside from owning eccentric, what is the secret to Soul Club’s success? Maybe it’s because they never tried to be successful. In a nutshell, it modestly began as a one off party. As guests of Hey! Soul Classics, they appreciated a chance to express their hearty record collections and drop rarities they rescued from distant store basements. SlimRoy contemplates the musical style for me as “hitting the high water mark of ’66; music that cooks … it’s four on the floor but none of that silk … We put out a grittier style … You know, southern gospel, shaky beats.” Clearly they know the genre inside-out and are all about the music. Their humble goal is to simply share loved tunes with other enthusiasts, never having anticipated all this popularity.
Certainly, it’s this pure raw love and complete lack of commercial intentions or pretenses that makes Soul Club such a gem. How can we resist that attitude? If you like this kinda tunage, I suggest you become a connoisseur, join the Facebook group, and go dance your ass off!