Hipsters, geeks, freaks, dorks -- if you want to get your dance on, Soundlab is your ultimate destination on Friday nights starting this week at the Majestic Theatre with beats care of the one and only, Nick Nice.
New Majestic Theatre co-owner Matt Gerding explained that he and business partner Scott Leslie wanted to form an alternative to the regular "club" scene where the draw was the music and the outcome was dancing, rather than binge drinking and grinding up on anonymous partners. He notes the eclectic playlist -- LCD Soundsystem to "old school" Michael Jackson -- and positive vibe at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO, as the inspiration for Soundlab.
"Everyone there was having a blast just listening to the music and dancing -- girls didn't have to worry about being groped and grinded on. It was tasteful and fun and we wanted to replicate the spirit of that event at the Majestic," he says. "The challenge of pulling off a night like Soundlab was finding the right DJ who really understood our vision and could see the potential."
And who could this be? Local DJ hero Nick Nice. Soundlab reunites Nice to the venue he once called home -- and he couldn't be more excited. He spoke about his enthusiasm for the event, the power of the music and the good nature of new owners.
This unification wasn't just a supply-and-demand situation. Nick Nice explains: "When I met with Matt and Scott, they told me that everything was gone. They sold the DJ equipment, everything, to get rid of the bad karma. That hit me. That gave me a good feeling."
Nice notes that he relishes the idea to start anew and leave the demons of the past behind, a theme that is pervasive for all, "The Majestic has had so many owners, you can't live in the past. These guys are different, they are music guys. They know what they want; they know what they don't want."
So what sort of music do the "music guys" want? Flyers around town promoting Soundlab list bands from The Clash and Feist to James Brown and Air.
Nice explains that the beats shall be a mix of everything, similar to what he has played at Natt Spil, which has ranged from '80s pop like Devo to lesser known acts like the Polynesian dub band, Fat Freddy's Drop. The Majestic's list will be a bit less house-party and a tad more danceable, and the 18 and over age will somewhat aid in dictating the playlist.
"I have been doing this for long time, I can gauge what the crowd feels," Nice says. "If they connect with older stuff, I will play old stuff. If not? I won't. Whatever the vibe is, I'll go with it." The only thing he shall not play is anything that promotes violence, is degrading to women or carries an otherwise negative connotation, "That sort of stuff changes a crowd," he notes. "I've seen it happen. It's not necessary here."
According to Nice, what Gerding and Leslie also want is a benevolent ambiance, not just bodies packed into a club for the sake of making money. (The $3 cover charge is evidence of that sentiment.) This focus was wildly important to Nice's decision to come on board.
This theory is part of the reason behind the low-key marketing of this event, "We sort of wanted this event to take on a grassroots appeal and grow naturally," Gerding says, "Over-hyping an event can sometimes lead to disappointment or to things spinning out of control too quickly. We want the buzz about this event to spread by word of mouth by people who come to check it out and have a great time, and then tell their friends to come back the following Friday. And we wanted the event to have a little bit of mystery, too."
Nice believes that this sort of organic growth is key to fostering a respected business, one that is far and beyond the negative experiences of Club Majestic.
"What people don't remember," he reminisces, "is that when Club Majestic first opened back in the day, it was a totally positive thing. There was this energy and good hype! When I was playing what I wanted, not what the owners wanted, everyone got along. Now that things are different, people are just as excited."
Nice say that by gathering an audience who respects the establishment enough to tell their friends, problems shouldn't arise. "Regulars take care of the places they frequent," he says. "I'm not worried at all."
Gerding shares this sentiment. "We have a great relationship with Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc. This event is about discovering new music and having fun in a cool setting," he notes. "We are doing something new and positive and we hope that, at some point very soon, people start paying more attention the a positive future."
Patrons are welcome to attend Soundlab this Friday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at the Majestic, where the cover will be three bucks and there's an 18-and-up door policy. Nick Nice shall be set up on the stage for all concert-free evenings, and on show days, he will be perched by the soundboard afterwards for your auditory and dancing pleasure.
Can't make it this week? Try again on Friday nights from here on out.