Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

New York disco hotspot Studio 54 comes to Belfast

Saturdays Studio 54 is a sparkling success
Saturdays Studio 54 is a sparkling success

Hostesses on roller-skates, silver tinsel everywhere and bona fide disco legend Nicky Siano on decks – for one night, New York disco hotspot Studio 54 was moved to The Mac.

At least that was the idea – of all the people in the room, only ex-Studio 54 resident Siano knew how much of the legendary club's spirit really was summoned to Belfast.

The point was not to replicate entirely what it would have been like to spend a night in the hedonistic, celebrity-filled club – that would be ludicrous and impossible, as Siano said in a pre-show Q&A session.

Studio 54's capacity was in the thousands, there was a huge suspended bridge that moved back and forth over the dancefloor, and on a good night you might see Michael Jackson dancing with Liza Minnelli, or Andy Warhol hanging out with Sylvester Stallone. The closest we got was football hero Gerry Armstrong dancing in front of the DJ booth.

Taken on its own terms as a celebration of disco, however, the night was a success.

The centre of the room was dominated by an elevated DJ booth and from there the Belfast Music Club DJs got things started with a feelgood set of obscure disco cuts.

Many revellers had come dressed in their most fabulous 1970s attire. Dancing girls (and boys) around the room added to the atmosphere of high camp.

Which brings us to the music – Siano is not a crate-digger, nor an obscurist.

He knows what his crowds want and he gives it to them with familiar, camp anthems.

Don't Leave Me This Way, Relight My Fire, You Should Be Dancing – there was the faint whiff of wedding disco about some of it. But if anyone can get away with it, Nicky Siano can. He lived these songs and helped to make them iconic.

They are part of his story, just as Studio 54 was, and while not perfect, this event was a gloriously fun peek behind the tinsel curtain.

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