Soul Survivors

Photo by James BunoanEverybody dances, even just in place, even with one elbow on the bar and one tipsy full drink in hand, and you have to dance, too—it's okay to dance badly because a good amount of the guys dance badly, though most of the girls can hully-gully till their knees touch the floor without spilling their cocktails or dropping a typo into whatever they're texting; it's one of those post-puberty gender gaps science will never understand—else you become one of those well-dressed wallflowers poking at the digital poker machine. And you don't wanna be those dudes. This is the sixth-anniversary gala for Long Beach's Good Foot, the funk/soul club that's as honored and unique a local institution as the world's skinniest house (right down the street!), and you need to seize the moment and be these dudes instead: kid khaki-shorts-and-breakdancing; two mods with polished neckties and that cagey panther walk; girl grabbing other girl and screeching, “How are you that drunk already?”; tall stocky older guy with a sharp suit and a straw hat and a smile that takes you, like, 30 years of listening to good music to be able to make (“Solid dude!” says the photographer).

Everyone can love this. Good Foot DJs Dennis (also in BlowUpBlow, a band we like who just recorded in the same studio in which Prince did “1999”) and Rodi (whose musical history with Dennis goes back to second grade, but who's most recently been drumming behind Dennis and Ikey Owens in the excellent Free Moral Agents) play probably the best, most universal music of the 20th century—the bands the Beatles covered (well, the more obscure originators of the soul and rock N roll Lennon loved, but still), the bands that got Addis Ababa and Zimbabwe turned on to wah pedals, the bands that lent 10 seconds of their rhythm sections to, like, four later sampler- and turntable-dependent genres (hey, does Good Foot ever play that Skull Snaps song?). When they started, says Dennis, they'd flier mod clubs, hip-hop shows, college campuses, vintage-clothing boutiques, record stores (“of course”), even drive to the Glass House if they wanted to catch the crowds oozing out onto Second Street—a nice demonstration that everybody from blues dudes to electronica geeks can find some kind of anchor in a Good Foot playlist.

“That's something Rodi and I thought about,” says Dennis. “'Damn, this is some amazing music right here—I can't imagine a lot of people not liking this!'” Aw, and you know what? A lot of people did like it and came to that very first Good Foot night six years ago and kept coming and showed up at this anniversary, too—that's about 71 nights down the line, but 71 nights later, Dennis says he's still seeing some of the very same faces. And a lot of new ones. Tonight's anniversary (rolling through seven—count 'em, seven—guest DJs: KUCI's Angelina, Fingerprints' Aaron and Jacob, record mogul Mike Vague, Continental's Bobby Soul, Good Foot buddy club Space Is the Place's Riley, and Scott Weaver of Papa Byrd, all with their own heavy stacks of vinyl) starts with Lyn Collins on the turntable and on the TV screen (from a pirated Japanese rebroadcast of a '70s Soul Train episode), and the club fills like a slow pour into a cocktail glass. By 10 p.m., they're dripping onto the dance floor, and by 11, the lights are firing and all the tables are full, and by midnight, the only people not dancing are the people working on the last ice cube in the glass. And you. By midnight, all the dudes are very solid.

Good Foot happens at Que Sera, 1923 E. Seventh, Long Beach, (562) 599-6170; Second Fri. of every month, 9 p.m. $5. 21+.

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