I can only scratch the surface of this wonderful dance scene

No matter how often I get out and about, I’m always going to struggle to offer a comprehensive list of reviews that covers the country. For this reason I decided to offer the readers of the blog an opportunity to be Guest Reviewers. If you are interested, please send me an email to paul@modernjivedancer.co.uk I’ll then send you some helpful hints on how to write and layout your review.

The First Ever Guest Review

Here’s The Blogs first ever Guest Review. I hope it will inspire more readers to let us all know about other great venues around the country

Thumbs up for Stockport Blitz last Saturday!

 

Blizt logo

Reviewed by Anne

Stockport Town Hall has been  home to Blitz Modern Jive for over twenty years now.  Known as ‘the wedding cake’ this listed building is built in free English Baroque style and was opened in 1908.  Stockport is my home town and although I left there a long time ago,  I’m often back there visiting my family and friends.  The Town Hall is where all our mums and dads danced when they were young, and indeed it’s where my mum and dad met!

I last danced in the Town Hall when I was nine years old in our school country dancing team, and I have been meaning to go back and dance there for a very long time.  So last Saturday it finally happened.  I can’t tell you how excited I was!  I met some friends there, two of whom are dancers and three who have never done modern jive before, but came  because they’re lovely and it was just good to get together.

The entrance lobby to the Town Hall is grand, with marble columns and a black and white chequered marble floor. Then you enter the huge Edwardian Ballroom, described by  former poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, as ‘magnificent’.  It is just that;  there is a beautifully ornate high ceiling of decorative plasterwork, lots of oak  panelling and of course, a most fabulous dance floor, so it’s just about the  perfect venue to jive the night away.

We got there early and there were only a few dancing, but it soon filled up.  Before long the dance floor was full of great dancers having a great time. The atmosphere was vibrant and buzzing, with that no nonsense, upfront  friendliness that us Stockport folk are renowned for.
My first dance of the night was with Jonathan Boote, one of the Blitz crew and teacher on their Wednesday class nights.  He told me later that  usually around 320 people attend the monthly freestyle, but that tonight it was 260 as some were dancing it up at Southport.  A few people I danced with said they’d  been going to Blitz for years so there is clearly a loyal following.

Blitz is really well known as one of the best modern jive nights up North and attracts dancers from all over the country.  I recognised  a couple of gents I have danced with in Nottingham, so it was nice to connect with them on the dance floor again.  Jonathan was great, introducing me to the lovely Angela on the door and others behind the scenes,  all so friendly that I felt totally at home, so perhaps it’s true what they say……you can take the girl out of Stockport but you can’t take Stockport out of the girl!

The music was outstanding all night, making it difficult to stop for a break and a quick gulp of water!  I had lots of wonderful dances to some great tracks. The DJ, Steve Ledson played a great mix of classic modern jive favourites that we all know and love. His playlist went from Haven’t met you yet  to Fever and everything in between, plus some lesser played fabulous tracks.  One personal favourite from the playlist was Sick and Tired from Boz Scaggs.

Another favourite was Christine and the Queen’s Tilted which is a really great one to get a bit creative and bluesy.

What made it for me though, was the many songs that I had never danced to before. So I’m going to give a special mention to a few of these in this review.  I’ll start with a new one for me which  was Time will Tell  by Pete Scheips Band from the 2007 album ‘Coming up Blue’.   I’m not familiar with this band, but this song gave me one of the best dances of the night (sadly it’s not available on YouTube to embed, but please check this band out).

Steve’s playlist  included great jiveables from a diversity of genres;  jazz and blues, swing, rock ‘n roll,  Motown , chart stuff  and more.  My next choice is one that was a perfect dance – Testify from HiFi Sean. This is a really uplifting  northern soul, gospel, piano masterpiece, featuring stunning vocals by Crystal Waters, and definitely a favourite one of the night for me.


DJ Steve isn’t precious about his tracks, so he didn’t mind me frequently appearing to ask what that last fabulous one was – thanks Steve!  This next song I’ve chosen is another I’d really  like to hear played in Nottingham.  You upsets Me  by the R&B Bombers from 2008.  The R&B Bombers are a great jump blues band from Southern California and their Facebook page describes their music as ‘a unique blend of classic and contemporary American music styles that includes blues, R&B and jump swing R&R’.  Unfortunately its not available on YouTube to embed, so here’s their Nine One One to give you an idea of how great their music is to dance to.

Finally, what made this night so outstanding for me was the magical alchemy of the individual elements; the gorgeous venue, the warmth of the people, the amazing music, the lovely organisers of Blitz.  My non- dancing friends loved it and will be at the class on Wednesday for sure.  As for me, Stockport  Blitz – what a belter!

Thank you for a most memorable night of fabulous dancing – you go right to the top of my list, and I’ll definitely be back for more!  I’ll leave you with this great 2013 version of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman by The Overtones.

FOOTNOTE FROM PAUL

Thanks to Anne for being the first to offer a Guest Review. Stockport Blitz sounds like a great place to dance with a great DJ. I loved that he played tracks from lots of different genres. Its a pity that I couldn’t embed two of your featured tracks, as I’ve listened to them on Spotify and they are both fabulous dance tracks.