The only constant is change. After seven and a half years of packed dance parties it is time to say goodbye to Fez Ballroom. Not something Anjali or I ever wanted to happen, but the club will be changing its format on all its Saturday nights. We were the longest-running night in the club’s history. The popular Shut Up and Dance night on Friday nights actually moved to Fez Ballroom from Lola’s Room after we had already been playing at Fez for a year. During that year we were the only consistently successful night at the Fez, and the manager Blaine Peters would tell us that we brought in the money at the end of the month that kept the club afloat. Not that one can expect any loyalty in the world of clubland.
While it might make sense to assume that the popularity of our night had waned, that is hardly the case. We are still fortunate to have a large and avid fan base who have packed the Fez the last Saturday of every month. Our crowd has never been a crowd of heavy drinkers; our fans come out to dance. Unfortunately clubs are in the business of selling alcohol, and the bottom line is that other dance nights in town sell two to twenty times as much alcohol as ours does. But even if the night was packed with binge drinkers all night long, we are still only one Saturday a month. We have a very unique sound and we are fortunate to have as much support as we do in Portland, but we have learned to focus our energy on one bhangra and Bollywood dance party a month, to keep the party packed and exciting. The management of the complex that houses Fez Ballroom wants a consistent format that can pack the club with expensive drinkers every Saturday of the month. That is not our format.
Our “format” is playing what we love, sharing the most exciting music we find with happy dancers, and doing it month after month, year after year. Saturday, April 24, 2010 will be our last night at Fez Ballroom, but who knows what the future will bring? We will not stop loving music, and we will always attempt to find opportunities to share our discoveries with the people of Portland.
Thank you to Blaine Peters who first booked us at the Fez Ballroom. Thank you to Michael Ackerman for being a wonderful manager these last many years after Blaine moved on. Thank you to Heather, KC, Dan, Hillary, Mike, Steve, Tibin, John, Amanda, Sarah, Jen, and everyone else I am not remembering now, or whose name I never did a good enough job of cementing in my head. All your help in making our night a success over the years is greatly appreciated.
Thank you to all the dancers who made for such memorable parties. We never could have done it without you.
CORRECTION: A bartender at the Fez begs to differ with my opinion that we don’t have a drinking crowd. I base my judgement on the fact that the bar is sometimes empty, and the dance floor is always full, but he tells me we do have a crowd that drinks, and we do good bar numbers. He can’t understand why the mgt. is phasing us out since our night is “kicking ass.” Oh well.