A Dance Music Feast

I often describe a Ceroc Southport Weekender as a Dance Fest, but they are more than just that.  They is always a feast of the very best dance music.  Over the weekend there were twenty two DJs spinning the tracks in three rooms.  Each one had planned their sets with great care, to ensure the best response out on the dance floor, and as a result there was something for everyone.

My Top Ten Selection

It is now an established Southport tradition that I select a ‘My Top Ten Tracks’ list from my time on the dance floor.  I should say that my selection is quite personal, but I hope it still offers a flavour of this great feast of dance music.  As always I’ve tried to mix it up and include tracks I heard in all the different rooms at different times of the day.

Not easy to keep the list to ten

I reckon I was on the dance floor for about twenty hours over the three days – that’s a lot of music I danced to. I was constantly hearing things I wanted for my list.  In the end it was very difficult to keep the list to just ten.  I think I could have included several tracks from Nicola Di Folco, Tony Riccardi and Mark O’Reilly but I kept it to a max of one per DJ.

Dancing on the ceiling, Lionel Ritchie – DJ Tony Riccardi, The Thunderball Room, Friday night

I’m a great Tony Riccardi fan, and I was so pleased he got a early night set on Friday night when I was still full of energy.  As always Tony jacked up the atmosphere throughout his set, so by the time he hit the play button on his final track I was somewhere very close to Dance Heaven.  I’m sure that when ever a DJ spins this track it will get a great reception, but coming at the end of Tony’s top drawer slot it really set the floor on fire.

Last night, Chris Anderson and DJ Robbie – DJ Caroline Houlton, The Thunderball Room, Friday night

I didn’t have to wait long before the floor was set on fire again.  At the end of a high energy Triple Caroline Houlton played one of the all time great Ceroc classics.  This track is a modern reworking of The Barkays instrumental Last Night, which was the first major hit to come out of the Stax studio in Memphis.  The track is delivered in the most joyous way, and from the very first of DJ Robbie’s Bab-a-boop, Bab-a-boop chants, I’ve got a smile on my face.  The track features the same uplifting sax solo as the original, backed by a thumping beat.  For more info on this Ceroc classic please see the link below.

Rock this party (Everybody dance now), Bob Sinclair – DJ Hayley Epps, The Thunderball Room, Friday night

Friday night in The Thunderball Room produced some thumping top tracks, and there were few better than the one Hayley Epps chose to open her set with.  Based on the C & C Music Factory I gonna make you sweat (Everybody dance now) it’s a typical Hayley track that filled The Thunderball Room with its gutsy vibe.  The original was one of the biggest dance hits of the ’90s and like the Bob Sinclair version, features the soprano voice of Marsha Wash, who is more famously known for the hit It’s raining men as one of The Weather Girls.

Ain’t no stopping us now, McFadden & Whitehead – DJ Vince Silva, Funk Hour, Saturday afternoon

Vince Silva’s Funk Hour has long been one of my Southport Must-dos for some time.  As always Vince span a great mix ’70s Funk and Disco.  Many of the great feel good dance tracks came out of the Disco Decade, and towards the end of his set Vince played possibly the best.  Ain’t no stopping us now, not only has a great dance beat, but it has the most uplifting lyric of any song I know.  You could feel the joy all over the dance floor.

Nobody, Niia – DJ Nicola Di Folco, The SILC Zone, Saturday night

Nicola’s Di Folco opened her late night set with a contemporary track infused with one hell of a funky beat.  It was for me the standout track amongst some wonderful chilled grooves.  It’s wanting to be able to dance to music like this that kept me going to Chill-out and SILC lessons.  The more I listen to this track the more I want to give myself up to its earthy vibe.

House party (Tonight), Amos Milburn – DJ Mike Ellard, Swing Hour, Sunday Afternoon

Swing Hour is perhaps everyone’s favourite themed afternoon dance hour, if only because it gives the ladies an opportunity to wear their swirly ’50s style Rock ‘n’ Roll dresses.  Some of the music is a bit fast sometime, but there are people, who can do authentic Lindy or Rock ‘n’ Roll steps, that put on an amazing show of dancing.  The track I’ve chosen, wasn’t the fastest of the afternoon, so I think you can just about get away with your standard Ceroc moves.  I love the instrumental sections with a saxophone laid over a jangling piano.

The Right Track, Billy Butler – DJ Tim Sant, Motown & Soul,  Sunday afternoon

Vince Silva is now going to have a rival for the best afternoon themed session in my book.  On a very cold Sunday afternoon Tim Sant warmed the people on the dance floor with a set of well loved Motown and Soul tracks, that built to a climax that took every Soul Boy and Girl to Northern Soul Heaven.  I was tempted to choose Tim’s final rousing track – Frank Wilson’s Do I love you (Indeed I do), but instead chose to go with the track that set the finale up – Billy Butler’s The right track.

You make me feel (Mighty Real), Sylvester – DJ Mark O’Reilly, The Thunderball Room, Sunday Night

As soon as I heard the first few note of this track I knew two things.  The first, that I had to get on the dance floor, and second that it would possibly be my No 1 Blush highlight.  In the end it was a toss up between this and Last night by Chris Anderson and DJ Robbie.  This track was one of the first disco tracks, along with Donna Summers I feel love, to use electronic instrumentation and sound effects to great effect.  Add in its catchy uplifting vocals and it’s easy to see how it set fire to the dance floor towards the end of Mark O’Reilly set.

Singing the blues, Ruthie Foster – DJs Marc Forster & Rachel Pears, The Blues Lounge, Sunday Night

After midnight The Cyclone Room winds down to become The Blues Lounge and DJs Marc Forster and Rachel Pears indulge a packed room with a great set of Blues Music.  I spent some time in there on Sunday night just listening to the music and lapping up the atmosphere.  The music here was just delicious and it inspires me every time I go in, to conquer my fear of close-hold Blues dancing.  Here’s my favourite track from the time I spent listening and watching.

Oops up side your head, The Gap Band – DJ Jon Gammon, The Thunderball Room, Monday morning Survivors

One of the great traditions of Southport are the Survivors photos.  One is taken around 4 am in The Thunderball Room at the end of Jon Gammon’s set.  It is now traditional to do the rowing boat thing to Oops up side your head prior to the photo.  This is a great funk tune and deserves to be danced to in a normal fashion.  Apparently its only in Britain that people sit on the floor and do the rowing actions.  That’s British eccentricity for you, but it’s great fun.

Other Southport Reviews now available

Caroline Houlton’s Friday night Thunderball Room Set

Ceroc Heaven Angels at Play

Nicola Di Folco’s Saturday night SILC Zone Set

Tim Sants Motown and Soul set

Mark O’Reilly’s Sunday night Thunderball Room Set

Coming next: The Southport Weekender – a First-timers viewpoint

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