If you’re 25, 35, maybe 40 years old, and still going out to clubs, it may not seem possible but nightlife as we know it really started with disco.
Yes, today the genre is mostly relegated to play at weddings, block parties and on oldies-format radio stations and specialty shows, but during the 1970s there was a time when the sound and style (flashy clothes, DJ spinning, mingling) was so big it changed what people wanted from an evening of dancing. Sure, there have always been bars and live music venues, but once Long Islanders got a taste of what was ruling Manhattan and the other city boroughs at the time, the DJ-driven bash became the mainstay way to party. One could even argue Nassau and Suffolk never really let go, a fact evident in the continued success of dance music on the Island.
Thanks to disco, DJs became club stars and even tough guys felt it was cool to go boogie on the floor. Today, when you walk into a lounge or other nightspot and people are dancing to house, trance, hip-hop, pop, dub, bass, electro or anything else — you’re enjoying the fruits of what that now-classic sound did for the club scene.
Of course, there are still many among us who get excited whenever “YMCA” comes on at an event, or make sure to hit “record” on the DVR whenever “Saturday Night Fever” plays on cable (and that can mean either the original R-rated or the toned-down “PG” cut) — and for those people there’s an event at the Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill (55 South Bicycle Path, Farmingville, 631-648-2500) on Friday, Aug. 10 that could be good for a fix: a concert called “Disco Fever,” and it’s starring a number of the disco era’s biggest hit makers.
Starting at 5 p.m., artists slated to appear include Carol Douglas ("Doctor's Orders"), Luci Martin and Norma Jean Wright of Chic ("Le Freak,” "Good Times,” "Dance, Dance, Dance,” "Everybody Dance"), France Joli ("Come to Me"), Lime (“Babe, We're Gonna’ Love Tonight”), Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive"), The Trammps ("Disco Inferno”) and Martha Wash — who not only starred in the early 1980s with The Weather Girls (“It’s Raining Men”) but has transcended the decades as the true voice of C + C Music Factory’s 1991 megahit “Gonna’ Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and some of Black Box’s best-recognized tracks ("Everybody Everybody," "Strike It Up," "I Don't Know Anybody Else").
Tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com and range $20-$100 in price (plus processing fees). For more information, head over to pennysaveramp.com.
Gloria Gaynor, known for singing the popular disco song “I Will Survive,” dedicates her hit song to 5-year-old Marisa Carney at the Westbury Theater. (June 25, 2011)