I have been an avid enthusiast and practitioner of the more extreme side of the music spectrum for the majority of my life, and as such there are some types of music that are certainly more looked down upon than others within the community. For instance, it seems generally understood and accepted that most country acts are shit, with some of the sole exceptions being artist like Hank 3, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard etc. But perhaps the only genre more maligned than country in metal communities is disco. I, for one, never felt strongly one way or the other about the dreaded D until a few years ago when I was trapped in a particularity soul crushing working environment and my only respite came from the disco channel on the internet radio station we were permitted to use. What started as morbid curiosity turned into my salvation as the light-hearted, rump-shaking beats helped stave off the perpetual existential predicament I faced every day.
The disco era might be dead and gone, but its spirit is still strong in a chosen few who still believe in the boogie. Leading the fight to keep the world shaking their ass are Montreal’s Boogie Wonder Band, whose love for a time long past has garnered them international accolades – for good reason. I can say truthfully and devoid of hyperbole that this was the closest thing to a perfect show I may have ever seen. From the presentation and pageantry to the performance and set list, all was executed with the kind of perfection that only fifteen years in the business can cultivate. Their set was divided into two hour-long segments, with each segment performed as a series of medleys. This effectively cut out all unnecessary small talk and seamlessly wove together slightly shorter versions of every hit you could ask for, switching gears just fast enough that boredom was simply not an option.
The ten-piece band brilliantly navigated their stage while treating the audience to some tasteful and fun choreography, further accentuating the classic and impossibly catchy songs in their repertoire. The Thursday night performance was not a packed affair, but given the crowd participation there’s no doubt the show was a complete success. I never thought an over two-hour long show could pass by so quickly! Once it was over, I wished they had played longer.
So with all that being said, if you’re in the mood to shake your ass but still appalled by the typical club scene, Boogie Wonder Band just might be for you. Hell, even if you don’t think it’s for you, it probably is and you just don’t know it yet.
Written by Paul Ablaze
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson