Back during the days when the 1980s were turning into the 1990s, Long Island’s club scene was going as strong as it ever has, and one of its main musical components was freestyle.
The dance subgenre used samples, electronic effects and percussion to form a sound that was delivered in both ballad and up-tempo speeds — with love and relationships, both successful and failed, almost always the subject matter. DJs played freestyle on a regular basis, and it was heard on the radio frequently — yet the style remained a mostly local phenomenon, with MTV and other coast-to-coast music outlets generally skipping over the tracks that were otherwise such smashes around New York City’s outer boroughs and on Long Island.
Despite the lack of national promotion, the genre had its stars — and while many Long Islanders under 30 may be unfamiliar with the artists that were then churning out freestyle hits, today’s current mature nightlife crowd tends to still enjoy the now-classic form of party music — especially when it's performed live by the singers that remain celebrities in the eyes of devotees in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
If you are one of those fans who still loves the sound — or just someone looking for a taste of what was — you may want to consider the latest “Freestyle Explosion” concert event, set for The Emporium in Patchogue (9 Railroad Ave., 631-627-8787) on Sunday, Dec. 30.
Kicking off at 6 p.m., the show features a roster of core freestyle stars, such as Judy Torres (“Come Into My Arms,” “Please Stay Tonight”), Stevie B ("Because I Love You," "I Wanna’ Be the One," "Spring Love," "In My Eyes"), Shannon ("Let The Music Play," "Give Me Tonight"), George Lamond (“Bad of the Heart”) and Cynthia (“Change On Me”). Tickets are available in advance for $40 at theemporiumny.com, and at the door (for a possibly higher charge; call ahead to verify day-of). Age of admission is 21 and over, dress to impress. To reserve a VIP table, call 631-275-6200; for more information, check out the Emporium on their website or at facebook.com/EmporiumNY.