Since the Walkman hit the streets we have all seen private dance parties at bus stops or in the grocery store, but some New Orleanians are taking that experience to another level. Fox 8 looked at what it looks like when the whole party is dancing to the music in their own silent disco. Record spinning, Pop-locking, head bobbing and hip shaking are everything you expect to see at a dance party, but the biggest thing you hear appears to be missing, but it isn’t really missing at all.
Al “Go-DJ Dat Boi” Mitchell said, “When they get here it’s like wow. That’s their first words.” Mathew Lacey said, “It’s different. It’s an experience.” Naomi Galatas said, “I’m really having a good time. It’s a little chilly, but it’s good fresh air and it’s good music so it’s fun.” Under a moonlit sky, the courtyard of a Marigny club became a Silent Disco. So it’s not exactly “silent,” but if you want to know what people are dancing to you have to either rely on some relayed performances or rent the wireless headphones that will allow you to switch between the two DJ sources and control the volume.
Then it’s off to the dance floor. The night we visit the selections are Hip Hop and Reggae followed by top 40. DJ Dat Boi CEO of Silent Disco Plugged-In explains, “It’s two DJs, two mc’s, 4 DJs if you want. The Silent Disco ends up being like three parties in one. You can listen to two different kinds of music or just take the headphones off and talk. First timer, Galatas, thinks that is one of the best features. She said, “It’s totally different because it’s not as loud. You can actually speak to someone. Take your headphones off and communicate with another person. In clubs, downtown and all those areas you can’t really talk.”
Matthew Lacey has attended before. Lacey said, “They are all playing, all at the same time you know and whoever you’re digging at the moment you can listen to.” He does miss some things about a traditional speaker system. He said, “The vibrations from the bass, everyone feeling the same thing at the same time.” He still thinks it’s fun. “It’s good every now and then. Change is good,” He said.
Clubbers find their own frequency — and favorite music mix — at city’s booming ‘quiet’ parties
At a quiet party at Croton Reservoir Tavern, revelers choose different DJ mixes via headphones: Ashley Michael (left) and Courteney Cuomo opt for an indie mix.
It’s nearly midnight on a Saturday, and more than a hundred people are crammed into the lower-level dance floor at Midtown’s Croton Reservoir Tavern.
A linebacker of a bro fist pumps as a young woman backs into him while bending over parallel to the floor. Nearby, a group of middle-aged women employ the classic mom’s-night-out move: stepping left to right while snapping their fingers. Just inches away, a young couple attempts a salsa variation in the 1-foot radius of space they’ve carved out for themselves.
It’s all par for the course for a night out in Manhattan — except there’s no music playing.
At least out loud.
Each dancer sports a pair of chunky, hipster-approved headphones emitting blue, red or green LED lights, which lend the place a supernatural glow.
In Europe, they call it silent disco. But when Will Petz, 33, discovered the concept on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda and decided to start a business of the party in New York, he renamed it quiet clubbing.
“I looked around, and there was no one that was doing it for someone like me,” he says, referring to casual clubbers in their 20s and 30s put off by the hard-core dance scene. “So I’m like, ‘I could do this. I could pull this off.’ ”
At Petz’s events, hosted at indoor and outdoor venues throughout the city, partiers receive a set of headphones at the door, where they typically pay a $25 cover charge. Via radio frequency, each headset can be tuned to one of three stations, at least two of which feature live DJs playing at the event. The colors glowing on the front indicate which station the person is listening to. This particular night, the green station is manned by a DJ spinning Top 40, blue is home to a DJ playing ’80s music and red is a pre-made international mix by Petz himself.
The result? People are quite literally dancing to their own beat.
That’s not to say that this is the equivalent of jamming out alone in your bedroom.
“We’re all sort of communicating nonverbally,” says Tyrone Dennis, a 28-year-old from Astoria, who came with a birthday-party group. “But it’s not aggressively like in a club where guards are up.”
Want to chat up a hottie? Just take the headphones off, and voila — you can actually speak and hear each other.
“Usually you leave a club with hurt ears and a sore throat,” laughs 31-year-old Debbie Nicholl of Chelsea. “This is worth experiencing.”
Quite often, strangers will approach one another based on the color of their headphones. This can lead to raucous singalongs to crowd favorites like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Christine Casil (left) and Carrie Shon groove to Top 40 tunes.
“People love the songs that you would never, ever consider playing in a club — wedding songs, like ‘Twist and Shout,’ ” says Petz, who works in mobile technology by day.
Ironically, though clubbers have plenty of musical options, they often choose to go along with the crowd.
“I think what happens is that everyone wants to feel like they’re part of a group. They don’t want to be soloed out. It’s fun, but no one wants to admit it,” Petz adds.
It’s common for someone to shout out, “Go to blue!” and after a few moments of confusion and fear of being left out, everyone does so.
“It typically is a good song like ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,’ ” says Petz. “All the girls go, ‘Ahhhh!’ Everyone goes, ‘What are they listening to?’ They switch to blue, and they go, ‘Oh, OK. I get it.’ ”
This means DJs can get real-time reactions to their work.
“It’s a much better position for anyone that’s dancing because now you have a DJ that’s looking out at the crowd going, ‘No one’s listening to me. I’m going to switch it up,’ ” says Petz. “We now own the DJ. The DJ doesn’t own us.”
For bar owners, there’s another benefit. With the city pestering clubs to keep the noise down, quiet clubbing can provide a more harmonious way to pack in patrons late into the night. Mark Evangelista, owner of Midtown’s Overlook, has had frequent problems with noise complaints from residential neighbors. Last Saturday, he hosted his first quiet clubbing event to utilize his outdoor patio, which he normally has to shut down at night.
“It’s not a total solution, but it’s definitely a remedy for a lot of the unnecessary noise that comes from music and people talking over the music,” says Evangelista.
Perhaps that’s one reason why business is booming. Petz recently purchased 300 additional headsets, bringing his total to 650. He has
two parties next week (visit quietevents.com for info), and numerous new endeavors this summer, including a subway pub crawl. He’s also working on a play in which the headphone channels would feature the characters’ inner thoughts.
Through it all, though, one thing’s constant: This is not the pill-popping party scene you’d expect on a sweaty, neon-lit dance floor.
“It brings out both cool and uncool people,” says Petz. “I don’t know the druggy crowd. I know the hey-we-wanna-have-fun crowd.”
Students dance without music at Bog disco
Sunday, February 5th, 2012
Some IIT students have a Friday night routine. They don’t want to leave campus but feel like adventuring out of their rooms so they decide to visit the Bog. For those of you that are unaware, the Bog is a bar and recreation area, equipped with pool tables, ping pong tables, and a bowling alley, as well as a bar and kitchen, conveniently located in the basement of Hermann Hall. The Bog typically has events Thursday and Friday each week from 5:00P.M. to 1:00A.M. These events range from comedians, to musicians, to hypnotists and magicians, as well as dance parties. The Bog is something that is unique to IIT and is unheard of at other college campuses.
But I digress; back to my story. The students’ Bog routine may consist of corralling friends to head down to the Bog where they will walk past the luxuries the Bog has and head to the bar area to order food or a round of drinks, where they will sit and ignore whoever is on stage and quietly complain that IIT doesn’t have anything to do. Their normal routine is interrupted though. They are given a set of headphones before entering the bar area and when they enter, something is different. Students are dancing. But there is no music playing. And everyone appears to be dancing to a different beat. The Bog is having a Headphone Disco.
Headphone Disco is described as the silent dance party. There are two DJs, two different styles of music playing at the same time without any of the loud-speaker noise. Dancers are equipped with two-channel headphones that tune into one of two DJs who are spinning tracks side by side. Two friends could be dancing to two entirely different songs and still be having a great time. This trend has been popular overseas in Europe and is slowly sweeping our nation (The DJs that night were brought from overseas).
IIT students were skeptical. The night started out slow, with only ten dancers at most on the dance floor at the beginning of the night (The event started at 9:00P.M). The strange thing was, everyone was wearing headphones, listening to the music. Even when the dance floor started to get crowded around 10:00P.M., individuals were still sitting down listening to the music and dancing in their seats. Those brave enough to get on the dance floor had an experience like no other. The DJs alternated between modern music and the classics, ranging from the Party Rock Anthem to the YMCA. And if someone wasn’t feeling a song, all they had to do was switch and their friends didn’t have to know. Group dances, like the Wobble or the Cupid Shuffle, were popular among the crowd but for those that didn’t feel like synchronized dancing could still keep dancing to a different song. The silent dance party isn’t just for the dancers either. A spectator commented that they liked the idea of a silent dance party because the dancers could enjoy themselves while he was still able to have a conversation with their friends at the bar. Spectators were also able to laugh or join in when the dancers decided to sing a song out loud (To a spectator, it appears as if the dancers are just a really out of tune choir). The party was a great way to spend a Friday night in the Bog.
This event was even noticed by students from different schools. Individuals from another Chicago university were spotted dancing and having a great time with IIT students. One student was shocked that our campus had a bowling alley and bar right on campus and said that they should come here more often. If an outsider can see the enjoyable aspects of IIT, why do IIT students have such a difficult time having fun? The Bog recorded 144 visitors Friday night. Headphone Disco, the company who set-up the silent dance party, had 300 headphones to give away. There were at most 60 people on the dance floor. A lot of individuals were sitting with their headphones in, too afraid to take a chance of looking like a fool. But at least the 60 fools on the dance floor enjoyed their Friday night and won’t regret their time at IIT. Where will you be the next time IIT has a big event?