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Twilight Series Swings Tonight  

By Lookout Staff

August 11, 2011 – Hep cats and kool kitties, get on your dancing shoes. The Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Dance Series continues tonight with an evening of nostalgia remembering the pier’s old La Monica Ballroom and its once-hopping dance scene.

Three of the nation’s hottest swing, boogie and old-school R&B bands – Royal Crown Revue, Orgone and Ameera – promise to have the place jumpin’ and jivin’ by the time the sun goes down.

The event – called The La Monica Ballroom, Then and Now – kicks off at 6 p.m. with the opening of a special dance floor installed on the pier’s deck for the occasion. That gives jitterbuggers and lindy hoppers one hour to brush up on their steps before the bands take the stage at 7 p.m.

Headlining the concert, Royal Crown Revue has been winning over discriminating jazz aficionados for years with the band’s tight arrangements and precise melodic lines, often played at an upbeat, bop tempo reminiscent of the late 40’s and early 50’s.

Established in 1989, Royal Crown Revue is largely credited with starting a swing revival in Southern California and beyond, and frequently performs to sold-out houses in Europe, Australia and the United States.

The Los Angeles-based band has opened for such rock headliners as the B-52’s and the Pretenders, and has performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival as well as many other major music venues.

Also on the evening’s bill, self-described “Afro-beator” band Orgone promises to get the crowd pumped up with their original, high-energy sound and deep, grooving rhythms.

A band made up of close friends and home-schooled musicians who have played together for more than a decade, Orgone started by covering songs by Booker T. and the MG’s, Parliament Funkadelic and other musical mentors.

What started as rhythm section grew to include horns and other instruments as the band forged ahead to create their own sound, an original synthesis of musical styles.

The result is a kind of music that is at once familiar and fresh, accessible yet challenging, an intuitive mix of the best pop sounds of the past half century, from Memphis soul to modern hip hop.

Rounding out the concert, soul singer Ameera promises to wow audiences with her subtle song styling and vocal range that takes the traditional jump blues genre to its next level. One of the fastest rising acts in the country, Ameera is not to be missed.

The evening’s concert honors the memory of the pier’s La Monica Ballroom, a revered music venue which in its day boasted the largest dance floor on the west coast.

The La Monica hosted many of the nation’s top swing bands during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. A fire destroyed the ballroom in the early 1960’s.

The Twilight Dance Series showcases an eclectic array of some of the best musical acts from throughout the world. Downbeat for the 2011 series is 7 p.m. every Thursday between July 7 and September 8.

Sponsored by One West Bank, upcoming shows include an evening of surf guitar August 18. The series concludes with a New Orleans funk and blues night, September 8.

With this year’s lineup promising to draw large crowds, pier officials encourage concert goers to walk, bike or ride the Big Blue Bus.

Parking will be available at the beach lot located north of the pier at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway, but the pier itself will be closed to traffic. A bike valet will be available on the bike path on the south side of the pier.

Cosponsors of the 2011 series include Pacific Park, Bloomingdales, StarLine Tours, the Australian Consulate, Cotton On and the City of Santa Monica. The series is produced by the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation and Ron & Humble.


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