My boyfriend was in town on a recent weekend, so I thought I'd give him a glimpse of Columbus nightlife. Given our mutual love of music, we decided to attend the inaugural "Freakbeat!" event - an all-vinyl party featuring northern soul, garage, Latin boogaloo, '60s yť-yť girl pop and international psych - at Brothers Drake Meadery. We had a fun night of great drinks, conversation and dancing.
My boyfriend was in town on a recent weekend, so I thought I'd give him a glimpse of Columbus nightlife. Given our mutual love of music, we decided to attend the inaugural "Freakbeat!" event - an all-vinyl party featuring northern soul, garage, Latin boogaloo, '60s yé-yé girl pop and international psych - at Brothers Drake Meadery. We had a fun night of great drinks, conversation and dancing.
To be honest, I'm not the most sophisticated drinker. Prior to the party, I'd never had mead, which is alcohol fermented with honey. We sampled quite a few of the creative selections, including PB&J, Honey Oak, Wild Ohio and Hopped Ohio. We opted for full servings of the latter two.
Drinks in hand, we searched for someone to speak with about hearsay that Brothers Drake was discontinuing live music shows in favor of other entertainment like "Freakbeat!" Luckily, we found Co-owner Oron Benary on the patio.
"We're definitely cutting back," Benary said, and explained that there will now be about two or three shows per month instead of eight. And "Jazz Wednesdays" will continue.
"The economics of music have changed a little bit, too, in this city," he said. "It's very hard to keep going with purely live music every day of the week … if you're not a music venue by design, and we were never really a music venue by design."
Benary shared that he wanted to move the mead production facility out of the space to create a larger area for music performances, but plans fell through. He also noticed a decrease in the "energy" around shows and some disrespectful behavior among people who frequented them.
"I felt that our venue here has kind of been abused a little bit," he said, and he spoke of seeing a "shift" regarding the bar's patrons.
"This area has been so gentrified. … I want to make sure that we stay a place where people can feel super comfortable [and] just be who they are, as long as they respect the other people here and the space," he said.
The "Freakbeat!" crowd, although small, was relaxed and friendly; one man even brought his dog, Wyatt, a white Whippet, inside. A few people showed off some really impressive partner dancing. My boyfriend and I also danced, though we only recognized a handful of tunes.
I got a chance to chat with the spinning duo, DJ Trueskillz and Brian "Preacher Man" Hannan, who carried T-shirts, turntable needles and vinyl in a cool, brown 1950s suitcase. He gave me a free 45 record by the Stance Brothers, and invited me out to their other dance party, "Funkdefy," at Bossy Grrls Pin Up Joint. They hope to come back and do "Freakbeat!" again.
"We'll see what happens," Benary said earlier. "If there's good energy around something, we'll do it."