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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Written by Josh Weiker
            Once a month, Columbus is treated to one of the most sensationally soul-filled dance parties around … ya know what? Scratch that, I’m gonna go ahead and put this one at the top – it is THE most sensationally soul-filled, absolute elation inducing dance party that these two eyes and boney hips have had the pleasure of experiencing.

            The party I speak of is called Heatwave (as if you didn’t already know). The title, coming from the 1963’s classic Motown staple by Martha and the Vandellas, is a perfect preface and description of the event. The first Saturday of each month, you can find the walls of Ace of Cups thumpin’ with the sounds of old-school Motown, funk, rock, and all-out timeless 50’s and 60’s classic hits. What could be more awesome than that? Well, all the tunes are on vinyl … you know, those really old dark circular disks that your parents (maybe grandparents) used to have to listen to music, “back in their day?” But I suppose it’s true, it is a far cry away from today’s ipod-ery, we’re talking several generations of music, from a time, long, long ago – before mp3’s, cd’s, tapes, even the infamous 8-track … so show some respect. 

            Being an old soul, and raised listening to Motown, this party seemed to be created for my own personal enjoyment. Sure, I have several friends that like music from this era, but I was truly blown away to see the kind of turn out this event has spawned. It has now become a regular expectation to find a gaggle of young socialites packed into this party every month. The venue often reaches capacity early into the night, so don’t be surprised (or mad at me) when you show up and have to wait in line to get in.

            A wide spectrum of styles are featured throughout the night, not only in music but also in fashion. The ladies are so fine, the fellas are smooth, and the scene is just remarkable, with dapper defining the entirety of the evening. Being surrounded by such great people and additionally dancing to artists like the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops … ugh, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

            The creators, organizers, and most importantly DJ’s of this phenomenal event were kind enough to give us some insight into exactly how this great dance party came to be, as well as some of their fond memories, and related thoughts, all for your personal pleasure …

Q & A with local music aficionados Adam Scoppa, Ann Glaviano, and Chris Johnson, of Heatwave: Columbus – to read the FULL INTERVIEW – CLICK HERE.

(L-R) Josh Weiker  & Adam Scoppa

What made you want to put Heatwave together?
ADAM: The three of us got together in a very serendipitous way. I always have had a soft spot for oldies, Motown, and garage rock and started collecting this music on vinyl. I used to spin records between bands at Skully's and noticed that when I put on Martha and the Vandellas or the Animals, for example, people started dancing almost inadvertently. It's always great to hear that music through a loud PA and I thought people would want a dance party geared towards that. I suggested the idea to friends for a long time and everyone said they would be interested in going to something like that. I just needed an extra kick in the ass to get it together, and then I randomly met Ann, who had a grand scheme of her own.
Were you looking to start the next great dance party in Columbus, or were you just trying to spin classic vinyl? 
ANN: The boys didn't really know what to expect, I guess, but this dance party in New Orleans [‘Mod Dance Party’ – see full interview] is absolutely packed every month, so that was what I was aiming for. I figured it would take a while to build up, …. We were originally looking at much smaller venues than Ace of Cups, mainly because we didn't think we would be able to fill a bigger space, and who wants to dance in the middle of an empty room? Dancing should be cozy. We made a massive list of the stuff we wanted to play - basically "If We Don't Have This Song At Our Dance Party, We Will Be Sad" - so to that extent we're motivated by playing the songs we love. But the final verdict on what we play is based on whether or not it makes us want to dance. 

CHRIS: I really just wanted to play my John Denver greatest hits record and hit on all the girls who are into The Fleet Foxes. Adam and Ann instead persuaded me to play the other things I had. I think it’s real keen, spiffy, and neat that it worked out that way. I mean, people seem to still think I’m cool… right?
Ace of Cups was getting to capacity after the second Heatwave, did you expect this kind of immediate success?
ADAM: When plans with the other bar fell through, the newly opened Ace of Cups took a chance on hosting it. I had in no way expected that kind of turnout, and when the January party was at capacity it still blew my mind...
ANN: I will say that for the first dance party, we had a decent-sized crowd and eventually they all started dancing, and the boys were like, "This exceeded our wildest expectations." And I said, "This actually was my expectation - like, best-case scenario." But capacity on the second night - that exceeded my wildest expectations. A line out the door? That is crazy…
CHRIS: Honestly, yes and no. I didn’t expect to have immediate success, but I knew with the music that we were preparing to play it was a definite possibility. I remember going to Ace of Cups prior to the first Heatwave to scope it out and I asked Aleks, “What IS capacity, ya know, just in case?” He said, “Um, yeah, don’t worry about that. It won’t happen.”
Do you have any favorite memorable moments from any of the past Heatwaves?

ADAM: The one that sticks out for me is when I played an "encore" song at the second party. People were chanting for more and as I put on the record, everyone erupted in applause simply for the hiss of static at the beginning. I thought that was really cool.
Anything else you want to say to the people?
ADAM: I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who turns out - and waits outside in the cold – to shares my favorite songs with me. Our party is your party.

ANN: I thought Columbus was a pretty cool town before Heatwave started. But considering that I am perpetually homesick for New Orleans, I am so grateful for the opportunity to play this music that I love - much of which is New Orleans R&B - and to see a roomful of people dancing to it really makes Columbus feel more like home. I'm especially grateful for my friends in the English graduate department at OSU, who've been showing up to Heatwave since the first night. They're amazingly generous and supportive. Plus they let me teach them the Madison. That's not just supportive - that's downright indulgent.

CHRIS: When you don’t come to Heatwave, an angel loses its wings.

Special Thanks:
Heatwave: Columbus
Adam Scoppa, Ann Glaviano, and Chris Johnson
Ace  of Cups

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