With all the live freestyle taking place on Long Island this month, one might get the impression that the onetime local phenomenon is due for a comeback.
Flip the calendar in reverse about 25 to 30 years, and you'd find virtually every club on LI had DJs spinning the danceable genre. And whether heard on the dance floor or cruising in the car while listening to radio stations (like WQHT-FM “HOT-103,” the predecessor of what is today “HOT” 97.1-FM), the songs – generally characterized by lively beats, samples and tales of unrequited love – were, for some, part of that era’s soundtrack.
Today, most LI DJs stick to such modern party-starting styles as EDM, hip-hop, mash-ups and remixed pop hits – but Nassau and Suffolk counties both still see lots of mature, over-35-year-olds out at area bars, pubs and lounges – which may explain how freestyle remains a sturdy draw for promotions.
The first large freestyle event happening in February 2014 is the “Louder Than Love Valentine's Ball” – set for Saturday, Feb. 15 at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, it features several of the genre’s stars (including TKA, Judy Torres, Alisha, George Lamond and Soave) – but only six days later a woman who is arguably the most successful freestyle artist ever will be taking the stage at The Emporium in Patchogue: Lisa Velez.
Better known to her fans as Lisa Lisa, Velez recorded songs such as “All Cried Out,” “Lost In Emotion,” “I Wonder If I Take You Home” and “Can You Feel the Beat” – all of which are freestyle standards – but while most of her contemporaries’ success was limited to the New York City metropolitan area, Velez scored significantly on the music sales charts, and found her sound played both nationally and around the world.
Starting after 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, the night will mark Lisa’s second appearance at The Emporium (she last played there on March 29, 2013) – but unlike last year, her opening act this time will be O El Amor, the wild and mysterious masked band that has been playing to big crowds around the Island this year. Tickets are on sale in advance at ticketfly.com for $10; for more information check out facebook.com/emporiumny and theemporiumny.com. (For VIP bottle service, call 631-275-6200.)
The Emporium: 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue, 631-627-8787