Dance the night away

Whether you're into house, electro, trance, hip-hop, or good ol' rock, there's a dance night for you

Vanessa Molle lets loose at a recent dance night at Royale. Vanessa Molle lets loose at a recent dance night at Royale. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
By Luke O'Neil
Globe Correspondent / October 9, 2010

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Boston has never exactly been a world-class city when it comes to dance parties and DJ nights. And a “late night’’ usually meant 1 a.m. because you had to catch the last T out of Dodge. But over the past few years we’ve made up ground on other cities, so that on any given night of the week you can easily find a place to let it all hang out on the dance floor (and until the wee hours even), whether you’re into Gaga or Grace Jones, the Stooges or the Stones. Consider your dance card for the next month — or year — filled.


RESCUE NITE Every other Sunday at the Model 7 North Beacon St., Allston 617-254-9365 10 p.m. free. 21+ With the majority of dance nights in the city based around electronic music, Paul Mason of the vintage clothing store Rescue wanted to throw a party that matched the vibe of his shop. “Electronic music is very hot right now, and the reason we started this night is because we don’t really like electronic music,’’ he says. “We like rock ’n’ roll. We like songs that you can sing along to.’’ Cue the Smiths.

FOXY! First Sunday of the month at Zuzu 474 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-864-3278 10 p.m. $3. 21+ This is the thinking-gay-man’s dance party, more deep-crate-digging and obscure sounds than you might hear at a conventional club, says DJ James Cerne. He and the other residents mix in ’70s and ’80s funk alongside Italo disco. “The theme is raucous, good-clean-dirty fun for gay dudes who find mainstream gay nightlife in Boston to be unimaginative, uninspiring, unsophisticated, and just generally un-good,’’ he says. And, he adds, “We will do it with our shirts off.’’

REBOUND Sundays at Phoenix Landing 512 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-576-6260 10 p.m. $5. 19+ For two years this Sunday night party at the Phoenix Landing has been aiming to push the envelope of electronic music. Both locals and a rotating case of international guest DJs spin through industrial, house, hip-hop, dubstep, electro, minimal, and jungle. That range sets it apart, says DJ Manny Random. “You will not find it anywhere else on a Sunday.’’

SLUM-IT! Every other Monday at the Model 7 North Beacon St., Allston 617-254-9365 10 p.m. free. 21+ It wasn’t always a good match for a dance night, but this classic Allston dive bar has changed in recent years, says DJ Rory Stark. “I think for a while people felt strange about dancing at the Model, but the place is really designed for it now. There is one big open room for dancing, and a barroom if you just want to chill.’’ The anything-goes feel of the bar makes it a good match for his cross-genre musical styles. “I will go from playing the Stooges, Sonic Youth, and PJ Harvey in the beginning of the night to Madonna and Dr. Dre at the end of the night.’’

BEAT RESEARCH Mondays at Enormous Room 567 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-491-5550 9 p.m. free. 21+ Since it started in 2004, this party has been serving up esoteric electronic music to beat junkies. They call it “experimental party music,’’ says DJ Wayne Marshall. “The night is all about drawing connections between styles and experimenting with interesting combinations and sequences, with regular excursions into hip-hop, dancehall, dubstep, bhangra, garage, jungle, funk carioca, cumbia, techno, house, juke, Boston bounce, and anything else that strikes our fancy.’’

THROWED Tuesdays at the Middle East 472 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-864-3278 9 p.m. $10. 18+ One of the wildest, most popular parties of the week has been holding it down on Tuesdays for almost three years now. “Within the 18+ scene in Boston, Throwed is the only party that consistently brings out world-class talent week after week for our fans to enjoy,’’ says resident DJ E-Marce. “We do our best to make the night more of an experience than just a dance party, with heavy crowd interaction, free giveaways, great themes and visuals to go along with the best dance music you can find in Boston.’’

EVOLUTION Tuesdays at Rumor 100 Warrenton St., Boston 617-422-0045 10:30 p.m. $15-20 (Bar and restaurant industry workers free). 21+ This party from 6one7 Productions has moved around from various hot spots throughout the city since 1998. They first called it Evolution “because we saw the night always moving ahead of the curve to the next ‘in’ spot around town and the crowd always transforming and changing with the times,’’ says promoter Salvatore Boscarino. Now entrenched at Rumor, it draws a mix of internationals, students, industry workers, and the occasional celeb and athlete guest.

FAMOUS Wednesdays at Splash 150 Kneeland St., Boston 617-426-6397 9 p.m. free. 21+ The mix of hip-hop, house, Latin, and ’80s hits at this weekly party at the ultra-lounge space Splash is designed to be heavy on the crowd pleasers. It usually works, says promoter Tyrone Di Stasi. “By midnight there is complete euphoria in the room with the DJ’s beats, black and white videos and photos projecting, tables full of beautiful people at every glance, and bottles of champagne popping in every direction.’’

BODEGA GIRLS PRESENT: COOL RANCH Last Wednesday of every month at Middlesex Lounge 315 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-868-6739 10 p.m. free. 21+ The music at this monthly party is all over the map, including goofy ’80s joints, new jack swing, punk classics, and hip-hop. But more importantly, says DJ Evan Kenney, there is a lot of making out going on the dance floor. “The theme is basically like a BBQ that your cool ex-con uncle threw back in the day where you tasted your first beer,’’ he explains. “There is usually an American Flag photo booth, free Cool Ranch Doritos and popsicles, tons of good-looking drunk people, and psychedelic porn playing on a large screen.’’

BASSIC One Wednesday a month at Good Life 28 Kingston St., Boston 617-451-2622 10 p.m. $10. 21+ Don’t just call this monthly party, now in its third year, a dubstep night, says DJ Chris Ward. “That’s a misrepresentation, because between the residents and our headliners you’re going to hear a variety of beats with influences from all different types of music. We’re all about the music, getting lost in a beat and having a good time,’’ he says. Their slogan for the night is inappropriate and irresponsible.

MAKE IT NEW Every Thursday at Middlesex Lounge 315 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-868-6739 10 p.m. free. 21+. For six years this weekly electronic night has had Thursdays on lockdown, with a stellar lineup of residents, a dedicated following, and the occasional international guest. “We play whatever we are feeling at the time,’’ says resident DJ Die Young. That means techno, house, pop house, electronic body music, dutch house, and big room anthems. Or if the Celtics are losing, he jokes, they’ll play some aggro dubstep. Die Young calls the crowd “a mixture of grad students, art kids, techno lovers, wallflowers, nerds, friends, break-dancers, and us weirdos who try to take it all in.’’

RISE AFTER HOURS Fridays and Saturdays at RISE 306 Stuart St., Boston 617-423-7473 1 a.m. $10-20. 18+. If you’re looking for after-hours dancing, RISE is the only game in town. You’ll hear techno, house, dubstep, psytrance, minimal, and everything else you can think of. “We are the only club in Boston that sticks to an all-electronic format all the time, and we’ve proudly carried that flag for over a decade,’’ says resident DJ Mike Swells. “We take our role in Boston’s musical landscape very seriously, and work hard to provide a home for the most cutting-edge electronic artists from across the globe, the US, and our own hometown.’’

REC ROOM Fridays at Think Tank 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge 617-500-3031 10 p.m. free. 21+ At this all-vinyl night, DJs Paul Foley and Mario Lemieux put the emphasis on post punk and new wave. The layout of the space, with a dance floor, lounge area, and video game and photo booth retro zone provide for a lot of different ways to chill, and/or spazz out, says Foley. “The place is paradoxically chic and quaint simultaneously.’’ They’re trying to avoid “a typical young and dumb Top-40 crowd,’’ he adds. “All of the DJ nights in this establishment are aimed at lovers of good quality music.’’

LA BOUM First Fridays of the month at the Milky Way 284 Armory St., Jamaica Plain 617-524-6060 10 p.m. free. 21+ If you know the French film this night takes its name from, you’ll get close to the concept. If that doesn’t do the trick, how about the fact that the party doesn’t really get cooking until they drop Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody’’ or Madonna’s “Open Your Heart’’? “There are hordes of sweaty dancers in denim everywhere, kind of like MTV’S “The Grind’’ minus the head bandannas,’’ explains DJ Stella Kronopoulos.

THE PILL Fridays at Great Scott 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston 617-566.9014 10 p.m. $5. 21+ The Pill is all about “indie music you can dance to,’’says longtime DJ Ken Powers. “Modern, with a dash of retro, UK bands mostly, but not exclusively.’’ Part of staying relevant for well over a decade means not relying on old tricks all the time. “Classic indie songs sometimes get it started, but we make it a point to play new records. It’s our obligation to keep it fresh. I absolutely love when someone comes up and asks, ‘Who was that you just played?’ ’’

VIDEODROME DISCOTEQUE First and third Saturdays of the month at Common Ground 85 Harvard Ave., Allston 617-783-2071 10 p.m. $5. 21+ The idea behind this video-heavy dance party is to come close to the legendary style clashes at New York City clubs like Danceteria, says organizer and DJ Craig MacNeil. He edits together found video, lost TV clips, commercials, and music video collages to accompany the music. The sounds are a mixture of vintage pop, disco, new wave, and rock. “You’ll usually see tracks by Giorgio Moroder next to the Runaways next to Scissor Sisters next to Grace Jones next to Lady Gaga next to Olivia Newton-John.’’

SATURDAYS ARE ROYALE Saturdays at Royale 279 Tremont St., Boston 617-338-7699 10 p.m. $20. 21+ There’s a different concept incorporated into this party every week, from a Cirque du Soleil OVO-themed event, to a Little White Panties party, to From Russia With Love, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The large-scale productions cater to a Top-40 crowd. “We wanted to bring back the ‘big club’ feeling, the theater, the surprise, the show,’’ says Dave Ralph, management consultant for Royale. Expect to see eccentrically costumed guests and performers, stilt-walkers, scantily clad dance teams, jugglers, and more carnivalesque madness.

SOUL-LE-LU-JAH Saturdays at Zuzu 474 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-864-3278 10:30 p.m. $5. 21+ For eight years now people have been raving about Soul-le-lu-jah as one of the best dance nights in the city. The soul and funk tunes that the DJs throw down are a mix of big soul hits and obscure tracks people don’t know they love until they hear them. “The vibe is intense, with people dancing all night,’’ says DJ and organizer PJ Gray. It’s also always packed, so get there early.

VIP ACCESS Saturdays at the Estate 1 Boylston Place, Boston 617-351-7000 10 p.m. $20. 21+ Estate brings in celebrity DJs from around the country to spin Top-40, pop and mashups. But they also cater to a “VIP’’ crowd, says Christie Leigh Bellany, director of sales and marketing for Big Night Entertainment Group. “The theme of the party is ‘Come out and play with the stars.’ We have had everyone from Paris Hilton to Lauren Conrad, and, most recently, Shaq walk through our doors. You never know who will pop in and it gives everyone in Boston the chance to come be a VIP.’’

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