When conjuring up images of iconic discos from the ‘70s, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Studio 54 was where it was at.
And, sure it was an amazing club. But it also encompassed a class division that early disco was totally against. The Paradise Garage, was all about inclusivity however. Operating out of New York, and presided over by the late, legendary Larry Levan, the venue was known for breaking disco records that hadn’t crossed over to the mainstream. It also pioneered new genres until its closure in 1987.
Brisbane may be 15,000 kilometres from New York, but that doesn’t mean that local DJs Jimmy Ellis, James Wright, Versace Tour Guide and Alex Intas aren’t massively in awe of this pleasure palace. Last month the DJs hosted Paradise Valley (27 March) at Barbara in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Starting out softly with some slow jams from the legendary Prelude label, it wasn’t long before people started getting on to the postage-sized dancefloor to strut their funky stuff.
As the night wore on and the good times flowed, more people lost themselves to classic jams of yesteryear. Classic disco cuts like Sister Sledge’s 'He’s The Greatest Dancer' and Carrie Lucas’ 'Dance With You' and First Choice’s 'Doctor Love' rubbed shoulders with slick electro grooves from the likes of Sharon Redd, D-Train, Change; even Madonna got a play with 'Into The Groove'.
The music was full of strings, percussive breaks and soulful vocals that had dancers hollering their approval. Some folks did the whole staring at their phone thing, but for those of us (yep I was getting down) in the know, the real magic was to be found on the dancefloor.