by Scott A. Williams
It was a beach-themed dance party. In New England. In winter! With a line out the door and every table taken, revelers lucky enough to have purchased tickets in advance cast Jack Frost aside in favor of the islands atmosphere of the famed Hu Ke Lau Polynesian supper club.
Music lovers were treated to a triple bill of fun-time bands including The Sun Protection Factor 4, Changes in Latitudes, and headliner the Jimmy Mazz Orchestra with special guest Tommy Sandz. These are all groups better known for playing warm-weather venues outdoors.
Many in attendance sported beach attire, Hawaiian shirts and leis as they sipped scorpion bowls, dined on Pu-Pu platters and danced the night away. The joyful environment was fitting for an event that benefited the Children’s Miracle Network.
The show caught its first wave as SPF-4 cranked out a set of blistering instrumental surf rock. The 50/50 mixture of original compositions and covers of 1960’s surf pioneers including the Ventures and Dick Dale helped the audience tune out the forecast foot of snow that just starting to fall as the evening got rolling.
Jimmy Buffett tribute legends Changes in Latitudes were next to take the stage. Starring front man Steve Kareta (you mean that wasn’t Jimmy Buffett?), the show was configured in its “mid-sized” ensemble for this venue. Parrotheads flocked to the dance floor for a set of classic Buffett tunes that had everyone dreaming of cheeseburgers and Margaritas.
Jimmy Mazz finished up the evening’s entertainment with an all 1950’s and 1960’s beach rock set, supported by singer-guitarist Tommy Sandz. No one works a crowd quite like Jimmy Mazz and he soon had partiers dancing the Stroll, doing the Limbo (how low can you go?) and snaking a conga line around the room.
In addition to great musical performances, these bands should be recognized for their especially quick transitions between sets…smooth as that first Margarita going down on a hot July afternoon.
Though the show had to end, the fans (your humble reviewer among them) didn’t want to leave. Eventually, many of us had to be reminded, politely, that it was time to move along.
As we filed out the front door, the walk through snow in our flip-flops reminded us that winter was still at hand, though optimists know this means the days are getting longer. Summer is coming. Until then, memories of this winter beach party will keep us warm.
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