Back in Leatherhead with my Best Mate

Last weekend I was down in Surrey to visit my daughters, and I had a chance to meet up with my best mate Neil. You may remember I dragged him along to a Friday night LeRoc Surrey freestyle in Leatherhead, just before Christmas. Against expectations he actually had a good time, and this persuaded him to go to enrol at a local modern jive class. When I suggested we go to another LeRoc Surrey freestyle last Saturday night I pleasingly got little resistance. Being close to Valentines Day there was a Red and Black theme. I wore a Red shirt and Neil wore Black one. How cool were we!

Saturdays are busier than Fridays

It seems that the freestyles, run by Colin Shaul, at Tylney Hall on Saturday nights are always busier than the Friday night ones. We’d had a great time at a Friday one, so there was no reason to believe it wouldn’t be as good or even better. The Saturday was definitely busier than last time, with almost two hundred people in the room, but I do want to emphasis that our previous Friday night visit had still been a fabulous evening.

A great atmosphere and a great sound system

So many people does add to the atmosphere, but what made an even better impression on me was the sound system. Colin and his crew had positioned speakers in all four corners of the room, and this made a big difference to the sound. Some venues only have speakers at the front, and when you’re dancing at the opposite side of the dance floor the sound can suffer. Of course what comes out of the speakers is very important too, and let me tell you now that the music selection was exceptionally good.

Lets hear some of this great music

Every so often I find myself dancing to a great piece of music, and I’m hoping I’ll recognise it. I don’t get it right every time, so apologises to Colin if I don’t report the tracks 100% correctly. Real Love by Drizabone is a popular track, and I’m sure we were treated to a more instrumental remix on Saturday night. I love it when DJs find these remixes, it just keeps the music so fresh and vibrant. My notes said it had lots of saxophone, and this remix does. Hopefully I’ve got it right because this is a track that deserves more plays.

Guest DJs – a great idea

If there is one thing I ask of DJs is that they don’t play the same old, same old. I doubt Colin ever does, but for Saturday night he shared the duties behind the decks with two Guest DJs. This ensured that the music was fresh and interesting for Colin’s regular dancers.

The First ‘What was that?’ track

Colin’s Guest DJs were Cliff and Amanda, who run their own classes and freestyles at Bordon in Hampshire. Their playlists were packed with new-to-me music and it wasn’t long before Amanda had me on the stage asking ‘What was that track?’  Though she wrote it down for me I may have the wrong remix, but either way its a great piece of dance music. Synapson by Djon Maya Mai is from 2014. Should I have heard it before? I’m sure I would have remembered its distinctive acoustic guitar laid over a techno backing track, and I just loved it when the bass kicked in.

So many different Genres

The music from Cliff and Amanda, occasionally mixed in with Colin’s, had so much musical variety. There was some Country & Western from Nanci Griffith with I love this town, some INXS Suicide Blonde, and pop from The Sugababes with their 2002 hit Round Round. What really impressed was a smattering of Blues, fast enough to still modern jive to, and a whole load of Rock ‘n’ Roll delights.

Rock ‘n’ Roll is the new Motown

When I started my blog I was on a mission to get more Motown played at modern jive venues (thanks for playing Edwin Starr’s H.A.P.P.Y.). Now I seem to be forever praising DJs for playing Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks that you can modern jive to. On Saturday night I probably dance to one of the best mixes of these tracks. What’s more the track I consider to be one of the very best of these was played.

Before I reveal it I’ll mention a couple of other stand-out tracks. There was a very dance-able version of Shake Rattle and Roll by Rob Rio, and a track I featured as ‘The best of the night’ on my last visit – Johnny Johnson’s Kansas City (Its embed in my pre-Christmas LeRoc Classics review).

One of The Very Best

Writing my reviews I have to think carefully about revealing the DJs exclusive finds. Sometime ago I danced to this next track and wanted to tell the world about it. Out of respect to the DJ who had found it, while exploring in the music vaults, I decided to keep the track to myself. How pleasing it was to dance to it on Saturday night – its obviously more well known than I’d realised, so I’ll dare to embed it now. Rockin’ Louie & The Mamma Jammers’ (what a fantastic name) Club Savoy is bursting with energy. The bit that gets me every time is the full on boogie woogie piano solo.

A great piece of danceable Blues

I love Blues music, but I struggle with it when its a little too slow. You won’t find me in the Blues Room, so when a DJ plays some blues I can still modern jive to, I’m in Dance Heaven. Wild Turkey 101 Proof from Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne is just perfect. Love the strong walking bass line and it has a some wonderful jazz infused piano playing.

I love modern dance music

While I’ll admit to having Rock ‘n’ Roll and Motown running through my veins, I love modern dance music too. It was great dancing to the modern offerings, including one that’s still a favourite – DNCE’s Cake by the ocean. I particularly love music if it’s funky. Get my name a 2014 offering from Mark Ballas fited the bill perfectly.

I need to get out more – to Bedford and further South

Again I’d not heard the Mark Ballas track before. Another great track that was new to me was Sing Hallelujah from Dr Alban. I suspect that the further I travel from my East Midlands base the more new music I’m going to hear. The Lighthouse Family’s Happy is a good example of this. I heard it five years ago at a freestyle in Bedford. Even though it’s a fabulous track, with a well defined steady beat that makes it so easy to dance to, I’ve never heard it on my own patch. I was very pleased to get a chance to dance to it on Saturday night. I wonder, is there a line somewhere north of Bedford where musical tastes change? Only joking.

So how did my mate get on?

I had a great night. This proved yet again to be a very friendly venue, and as always I’d like to thank the many ladies who accepted my offer to accompany me on to the dancefloor. I had some wonderful dances and I look forward to coming back when I next visit my daughters. So did my friend Neil have as good a time?

It’s never easy to move up from class nights to freestyles, but my friend is slowly growing in confidence, and he asked more ladies to dance this time than last. He was invited on to the dance floor quite a few times too. Most people stay at local venues so that they slowly build up a group of people they feel comfortable dancing with. It will be no different for my friend, and I’m sure that each time we visit, he will spend more time on the dance floor.

Slowing it down throughout the night

What I also loved, was that the three DJs slowed the pace down throughout the night. Varying the pace makes the energised tracks more enjoyable to dance to. Again I was treated to some new music, and I’ll finish my review by featuring Some Bridges need burning from Keisa Brown. This is a gorgeous piece of music. Its relaxed rhythm is still strong enough to modern jive to, and it also provides plenty of opportunities to express your musicality.

You must dance at this venue

Once again Colin and Evelyn put on a wonderful night of dancing, and I loved that he invited Cliff and Amanda to spin their own exclusive tracks. The music mix was top draw and it’s easy to see why LeRoc Surrey’s Tylney Hall Freestyles are so popular. If you want to dance to some of the best modern jive music around, in a friendly venue, you must check out The Tylney Hall Freestyles.