REVIEW - Skully’s: The Retro Party

We’ve been going to Skully’s Ladies 80s night for the past eight years. It used to be that we would go twice a month. Then once every month. Then once every two months. After Dave left, we wondered if we’d ever go again. We got over that bullshit pretty quick and now we are back to once every six weeks.

For those of you who are unaware, Ladies 80s is held on Thursday nights at Skully’s in Columbus, OH. Girls get in free. Boys pay five bucks. They play 80s dance music. Most the time the DJ does a great job putting together the right mix of great dance songs with only a scrunchie’s worth of overplayed Madonna/Love Shack crap.

Our modus operandi is to go out to a nearby bar beforehand at 8:00pm get our drink on and chit chat. At 10:00pm or so, we’ll head over to Skully’s. At that time, the place is just starting to awaken. Usually there are six or seven teachers’ conference attendees that have been drinking since 5:00pm getting their 80s dance on. These folks will be gone by 11:00pm to make the mistakes that people at conferences make. We usually sit up front and drink beers, waiting on anyone who said they would catch up with us later. At some unspoken time, Aha’s “Take on Me” or something by INXS will come on and we will make our way back to our spot. You can see that spot marked here with an “X”.

We usually dance for a few songs and inevitably someone will show up with a handful of beers. We’ll dance some more and if a crappy song comes on, we will step out side and those that smoke will smoke and those that don’t will think about why they quit. Then back inside. Repeat as necessary.

By about midnight, Skully’s is packed. In the past three years, people have begun to dress the part, wearing pink leggings and jelly bracelets and sunglasses that weren’t even popular in the 80s.

We still play the guessing game: one person leans over and says to another, “I think X band will play next.” Person two will think for a moment and say, “I think band Y will play.” And then we wait to see who is right. If you are brave, you can guess song and artist. Saying Madonna’s Borderline will get you kicked in the pants.

At 2:15am, you cannot believe it is 2:15am and we all stumble out into the night, ears ringing with the memory of a keytar and reverb.

So a few weeks ago, Freckled Jen sent me a photo of Skully’s door:

No more Ladies 80s? We were aghast! How could they fuck with the formula!

But we are getting old. Really old at this point. I was old the first day I stepped into Skully's. We knew things would change over time. It's just no one wanted to admit it.

Recently it was Jenn’s birthday weekend and she wanted to get a group of folks together. When she called to ask about Friday, I had to decline as Miss Sally was going to be heading out of town. Jenn asked about Thursday and I said sure!

It was a few hours later that we both realized that we could check out Skully’s new Retro Party. We agreed that we would do a little light recon and see what was up.

We met friends after work at Surly Girl. We drank and bought Jen shots.

At 10:15pm, we headed over.

It was still free for ladies and still $5 for dudes.

Once inside, we expected to hear a mix of 80s and 90s. But it was still all 80s music.

So we danced.

And an odd thing happened. I’m not sure if it was the DJ or the new format, but the DJ started playing really good songs, back to back. Really good ones. Usually the DJ will choreograph the evening by playing a mix of good old dance songs and then pulling out a dead ringer that everyone likes. On this night, it seemed like the DJ was pulling out all the stops and playing back to back to back great songs.

And I was a bit disappointed. Call me a hypocrite, but I like the build up. I like a few good songs topped off by an ELO or Cure or Depeche Mode song that can’t go wrong. And then I like when the DJ plays a (what I consider to be) a crappy, stereotypical 80s song, so that I can take a break for three minutes and twenty seconds.

When we did finally step outside, we chatted with one of the bartenders. He seemed to help us do the math. The DJs will play the standard 80s music early on. As the night goes on and all those 30 somethings leave at midnight to go home and take Advil, the young kids start showing up. Then the 90s music starts to mix in.

And wouldn’t you know it. Around midnight, the 90s songs started kicking in.

Sadly, the 90s songs they played were not all that good. I know there are some danceable 90s songs, but we really didn’t hear to many. Especially since we left right after midnight to go home and take Advil.  I guess we will have to go back and do some more testing.

Fear not, friends. Skully’s is still the same. It was inevitable that the 90s were going to creep in to 80s dance night. They had been already. Every so often we’d turn an ear to the music and say, “Was that is the 80s?” and then continue with said dancing. There aren't bookends on the 80s demarking where good music starts and stops. I’m not sure there was good 80s dance music until late 1983 anyways.

So do not let the new name fool you. It is still the same fun. Still the same fun, dance music.

Still the same Terminator Guy.

Still the same Shake Weight Guy.

And the Old Guy.

The same Converse.

All and these fuckers:

And when a really good song comes on, we call Dave and leave a message on his phone to piss him off and remind him that even though The Retro Party is the same as Ladies 80s, it's never the same without him.


Anonymous said...

well done HJ. *cheers*

-freckle jenn

Hello Jodi said...

Loved this blow-by-blow. I've only been once and feel like I don't need to go again.

Who is the asshole wearing shorts in January?

HolyJuan said...

Sorry Jodi, these photos are a compilation from the last three years or so.

Um, and I'm the asshole.

Tamara said...

I will HAVE to stop in next time I am in Ohio! Skully's sounds awesome!