I'll admit, my interest in local '80s Night events dropped to about zero after taking a bottle to the skull at one of the last dance extravaganzas at the now-defunct Upstage in Oakland. The impact must've jarred something loose in there -- perhaps the something that makes people want to hear "Come On, Eileen" each and every Thursday night. But those who still jones for it have had no lack of options since the Upstage's demise, with similar nights cropping up around town.
Last night in Lawrenceville, for example, the Thursday time-warp started out at Arsenal Lanes, where from 9 p.m. to midnight $8 gets you all-you-can-bowl with DJ Swank Cat (a.k.a. Corey LeChat of The Gothees and other local groups) spinning '80s hits and oddities. Throughout the evening, LeChat obligingly took requests from bowlers, sometimes dropping in oddball covers and even Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" ("Yes, that really was from the '80s," he assured afterward).
At midnight, the lanes closed, and it was down the hatch and down the block to dingy dive Belvedere's, where the weekly Neon '80s-themed dance party was already well under weigh in the bar's cavernous back room. With DJ Hates You presiding, the crowd had a younger, scruffier feel than the Upstage in its heyday (I mean, would you dress up to go to Belvie's!?) which the DJ seemed to acknowledge by dropping a punk mini-set towards the end of the night, prompting a half-hearted mini-mosh by a few dancers.
Reasonably good time all around, even if Belvedere's often feels like being in a giant ashtray -- once you stomp out a butt of your own on the floor, at least it's sorta your ashtray.