Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Swing revival invades the Wave

The Waverley Hotel will be really jumping next weekend, like in days gone by, but with a 21st century twist.

Billed as ‘Vancouver Island’s premier Vintage Remix and Electro-Swing Soiree,’ the Nov. 18 Saturday high-energy gala night opens with globe-trotting DJ Eliazar at 9:30 p.m., followed by an intro swing class led by well-known dance instructor Jason Lee John Kirsch of ValDance.

The six-piece Palace Band, backed with burlesque and vaudeville performers, takes the stage at 10:30 p.m., followed by a second DJ Eliazar set at 11:30 p.m.

At midnight, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot will get the dancefloor fired up and then DJ Mt. Eliah will finish off the night with his multi-tempo, multi-genre mixes, focused on electro-swing.

“The Palace Band is known for getting Lindy-Hop and West-Coast swing dancers really moving,” says organizer Ben Howells of Mt. Eliah Productions. “They are so much fun.”

With this line-up, anyone can have a great time, whether they know how to swing dance a little, a lot or not at all, he said.

Swing events are known to draw snappy dressers and this night is no exception. Dressing up in 1920s styles is encouraged.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot promises to play several compositions from their forthcoming EP. The duo – Atom Percy (formerly of Acid Test, Bif Naked, and Econoline Crush) and DJ Eliazar (Speakeasy Electro Swing and Balkan Beats Montreal) creates a combination of vintage swing, jazz and blues music from the 20s to the 50s, and modern electronic dance, dub, and glitch, all built on laptops and old analog keyboards.

“We keep digging the old to build the new, repurposing forgotten gems with new beats and bass lines while keeping the silly side of music alive,” says Eliazar. The Palace Band’s repertoire draws on a time of late-night cabarets, “when music bubbled with swinging emotion and soul.”

They blend the raw sounds of old-school jazz “with an energy that will put your feet into motion and a smile on every face, combining soaring vocals with a flash of trumpet and the thunder of drums to make the old time new again.”

“Both of these bands leave your eyes wide, your jaw hanging, and your backbone moving,” said Howells.

Mt. Eliah (aka Howells) is also co-producer of Atmosphere Gathering, founder of Project In-Tent and a member of the well-known Cortes-cum-Courtenay DJ trio, The Naked DJs. DJ Eliazar has been spreading his own version of music with funk and swing for over 20 years. Co-Founder of the Speakeasy Electro-Swing music events around the globe, some consider him the godfather of electro-swing music in North America.

He started the Speakeasy nights in lofts around Montreal in 2010. When joined by Don Mescal and DJ Khalil, he found the swing team that would help spread the Vintage remix sounds far and wide.

Speakeasy Electro Swing nights are now happening all over the globe including Vancouver, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Oklahoma City, Kuala Lumpur, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle, Seoul, Perth, Leeds, Oslo, Denver, Nanaimo, Sydney, Victoria, Barcelona, Mexico City, New York, Washington DC, and are growing each season.

Eliazar says he just wishes his grandma, who had been a flapper and filled his head with stories of speakeasies, Prohibition, and Benny Goodman cassettes, could see how much she has influenced how to swing in step with the world.

For more details, check out the groups’ and DJs’ Facebook pages and websites, easily searchable. For all that, tickets are $12 in advance online or at the Waverley.

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