“Maneater” by Hall & Oates is playing in the background at Limelight, cynosure of music and drinks for hipsters on the North St. Mary’s strip. The party on the dance floor isn’t under way yet as it’s early in the night, so we’re in the back room talking.
“How many ’80s music nights are there around town?” asks DJ Giancarlo, one-fourth of the DJ collective known as Fuck Yeah! “There are so many it’s sickening. But how many people play Hall & Oates?”
Giancarlo, along with fellow Fuck Yeah! members Johnny Walker, Colin, and Nic, has been enlisted as a resident DJ here for a full year and change. During their residency, the music format has been consistent: Colin is known for his pop and indie selections — he’s been called KONO
Colin (after the local oldies station) due to his partiality to artists like Paul Simon — while Walker leans toward the funk, and Nic and Giancarlo (also known as the Electro Chemists) walk the disco/techno line.
As the night progresses, the dance floor fills. People begin showing off their moves once the Lone Stars start to flow, and everything from Patsy Cline to Salt-n-Pepa to Arcade Fire spins tonight. Each member of the quartet caters to different music fans with an individual style developed over several years at the turntable. Colin, the youngest of the group at 23, has been spinning for three years and the others have at least eight years apiece invested in the art.
Walker, a past employee of the now-defunct Sin 13, started whetting his craft by bringing in his own music to play before shows when he grew tired of the sound guy endlessly blasting Metallica. Colin was hooked after his friend DJ Just Angel suggested he give it a shot. And Nic and Giancarlo, the Electro Chemists, began DJing together at St. Anthony Catholic High School. They quickly formed a friendship based on a mutual fondness of the rave culture and electronic music, and they began to amass a vast vinyl collection.
“At this point, we’ve been with each other enough to know what we’re all going to do, and we vibe so well. This is the most diverse DJ group that I have been a part of,” said Nic.
Even though they don’t remember exactly how it happened, the Fuck Yeah! guys must’ve met through chance encounters as familiar faces the club scene. One theory is that mutual friends played matchmaker. Nic was a regular at Limelight, and he became acquainted with owner Casey Lange, who then approached Nic and Giancarlo, already a duo, to do some one-off gigs, and Fuck Yeah! was born. After several random appearances and residencies at places such as El Toro, Atomix, Liquid, the Venue, and Wire, the collective landed their regular spot at Limelight.
“We’ve also played a ton of house parties,” added Giancarlo. “That’s where I think we’ve really shined.”
Providing that house-party vibe on a weeknight has proved extremely popular. Fuck Yeah! Thursdays has become a mainstay at Limelight, attracting more than enough people to fill the venue’s maximum capacity of 200 every week. This particular night is no different: At one point 15 people wait in line behind the yellow gates to get in. It’s such a success, in fact, that Lange says it’s his most solid night of the week. The guys are modest, however, attributing their popularity to timing more than talent.
“The whole thing about us having this night is very serendipitous,” said Giancarlo. “Apparently Thursday is the new Friday. The club just needed some direction, and that was it.”
“It really could have been anyone, but I’m glad it was us,” Nic added. “These people are always here, and they wanted something to go to. We just hit the scene at the right time.”
Fuck Yeah!’s reception has been mostly positive, with the exception of a little problem that developed six months ago, around their decidedly family-unfriendly name. The Tobin Hill Neighborhood Association, representing homeowners in the vicinity of the venue, became concerned that “Fuck Yeah!” was displayed on the Limelight’s rather large, brightly lit marquee.
“I took offense to it,” said Richard Moore, the president of one of the neighborhood’s homeowners associations. “I’m a grandfather and parent, and it was unacceptable to the neighborhood. I do not accept vulgarity. People walk and drive past there every day,”
Limelight has since compromised, adding a strategic asterisk to the sign.
Back inside, the house lights come on, signaling time for last call. But the dance floor is still packed with people hurriedly scrambling to find partners for the last dance. A Joy Division song finishes the set, and the party-goers reluctantly head toward the exit.
Andrew Reynolds, regular patron at the venue, was among those people. Opting for a wallflower role tonight, Reynolds didn’t dance but says he still enjoyed himself, as usual.
“I come here often. I’ve been showing up for months,” he said as he and his friends milled around outside. “I always come here for the good music. I like all four of the DJs. It’s always a good time.” •