“As much as I like to see live shows, the Sacramentan insistence on not dancing makes a rage fill up within me that is almost uncontrollable,” a friend admitted recently. “Great band, rocking tunes and a pack of hipsters standing stock-still, maybe nodding their heads slightly in rapt appreciation; it makes me want to kill. Yeah, I stay home a lot. It’s safer.”
Good thing, because Sacramento’s self-imposed moratorium on dancing was in full effect this weekend. Friday night’s Ice Cream Soulcial looked like the Footloose prom before Kevin Bacon arrived. No one dared to even wiggle a moneymaker, despite the highly danceable ’60s grooves provided by DJs Fran and Dave. By 10 p.m., the Fools Foundation basement was all but empty, while the parking lot was jammed with people eating ice cream, all of whom wore hand stamps indicating they’d paid the cover to go inside. Event co-hostess Olivia Coelho tried to explain the sudden proliferation of parking-lot wallflowers by saying, “We’ve got ice cream instead of alcohol. People don’t know what to do with that.”
Alcohol might be a key ingredient to successful boogying, but this certainly wasn’t the case at the G Street Pub on Saturday, where three bands of Sacramento rock missionaries—Va Va Voom, Supermodel Suicide and the Knockoffs—brought the guitar-driven good word to the citizens of Davis. Beer pitchers sloshed on nearly every tabletop (even before Danny Knockoff climbed them to play guitar solos), but the tiny dance floor stayed empty.
Supermodel Suicide frontman Joor Bol berated the sedentary audience from the stage: “What are you all thinking? Oh, I think I’ll take a load off, sit at a table and watch a rock band.” But even Bol’s threatening ultimatum, “Get the hell up or suck Matt’s dick!” proved ineffective at inducing movement (or getting any action for guitarist Matt Ferro).
Apparently, if you want to find Sacramentans who are willing to shake it like the proverbial Polaroid picture, it’s not enough to just go to a place where music and a dance floor are present. You have to target events where dancing is the only goal, like the Midtown Stomp swing dances, held on Friday nights at the YWCA on L and 17th streets. Local wisdom holds that swing died in Sacramento when Dutch Falconi retired, but there are hundreds of folks who didn’t get that memo. Those crazy rock-step kids are still Lindy Hopping their way through Friday nights, and there’s no reason you can’t join them.
Every dance begins with one hour of instruction at 8 p.m. At 9, the lights dim to a Christmas-light glow, and the DJ starts spinning. And, unlike a nightclub experience, where everyone stares into their drinks until enough people have braved the dance floor to make it seem “safe,” the YWCA floor stays full all night. So, visit www.midtownstomp.com or risk becoming a dance-starved vigilante.