Eastside brings back the '80s

The next "Totally Bitchin' '80s Dance Party" is March 5 at Eastside Tavern.

By Teresa Klassen | March 4, 2011

Tags: Music The District

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The term “bitchin'” has been applied to many outstanding things in the past, such as guitar riffs, epic music videos and neon. So it makes sense for the term to be applied to a decade that includes all of these…the 1980s. The “Totally Bitchin’ 80's Dance Party” has Columbia residents breaking out the spandex and hitting the dance floor to New Wave rock.

The themed dance party has been a monthly event at Eastside Tavern since October.

Another bar, Shattered, had previously hosted ‘80s parties in Columbia, until it closed four years ago. Eastside owner Sal Nuccio thought Columbia needed to resume its ‘80s partying ways.

“I figured it was a good time to pick back up on it,” Nuccio said. “It’s a fun night, and I was looking for something unique to do once a month, so I decided to give it a shot.”

Eastside already had a strong following for its weekly Dirty Disco Dance Party, which features electronic mashups by live DJs.

“I like Eastside because of the music,” said Justin Whaley, who visits the bar at least every other weekend. “The music is what really sets it apart. It’s especially great for dancing. The stage is always welcome for dancing, and always crowded.”

Knowing that good music makes for a good night, Nuccio set out in search of an '80s loving DJ. He found one in Ron Ribiat, AKA DJ Ironic.

“I figured he had the skills and influence to draw a crowd,” Nuccio said. And Ironic brought with him real '80s experience, having DJ'd in Southern California throughout the decade.

“A lot of ‘80s DJs don’t even know what was playing in the clubs in the ‘80s,” Ironic said. “I figured somebody who had knowledge of really good dance tracks would be just awesome. There’s a lot of fun music from the ‘80s that a lot of folks aren’t familiar with. I saw a need.”

He was right — Nuccio said the decade dance party draws a full house.

“It does well,” Nuccio said. “Not quite as giant as Dirty Disco, though.”

Ironic said the attendance is very diverse.

“We have folks from 18 to 60,” Ironic said. “The biggest group would be folks who were teenagers in the ‘80s. Each month, it gets better and better as more people get hooked on it. It’s got a really good vibe.”

Eastside encourages its attendees to dress up in true ‘80s style, by offering $50 for the best costume.

“Ron’s into pushing (people to) ‘dress the role,’” said Nuccio. “That’s what makes the night unique.”

Ironic plays existing ‘80s songs, but he is working on mashups of ‘80s hits.

“I’m still getting used to the newer technology,” said Ironic, who hasn’t DJ’d since the ‘80s. “So I’m only doing mashups in spare time, but I haven’t brought it to the parties yet. I’m getting a lot of ideas for what I could do with these tracks. A lot of great dance music came out in that time. It’s okay to experiment and create new sound.”

If you’re interested in checking out the dance party, dig out your neon leg warmers (it’s still winter, after all) and head down to Eastside Tavern on the first Saturday night of each month. Look up “Totally Bitchin’ 80's Dance Party” on Facebook to stay posted.

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