Whoever came up with the phrase Monday Blues, obviously did not know how to make the most of it for the start of the week. Thankfully, there is a solution right in New York City (NYC) that will cure all Monday woes, or any woes for that matter. Classic swing jazz band, Svetlana & The Delancey Five, as part of their weekly showcase, gave city goers a perfect way to settle into the holiday groove at the secretive venue, The Back Room. Being one of two speakeasies in NYC that remain in pure timeless form from the prohibition era, it was a sublime place for some light mingling and exhilarating jazz.
It is worth noting that heading downtown to The Back Room is a rather unusual trek. Listeners will be tempted to turn away the second they have to walk down into the dark alleyway that leads to the private entrance of the luxurious speakeasy. Everything about stepping over a gross giant puddle with static lighting alone for a few seconds makes it all a bit sketchy. However, the mood immediately changes to a more uplifting state once entering the venue. Guests are greeted with an immense bar with festive pine vines all glistening with twinkling holiday lights. After ordering a drink, guests receive their beverages in white ceramic teacups to honor the way alcohol was drunk back in the days of prohibition. It was a nice and unique touch to sip with the pinky out. The radio airplay had jazz playing and the ambiance sunk in well. Giant elegant oil paintings hung framed along the walls and the red velvet couches allowed for immense relaxation. Above, on the copper tile ceiling, hung shining crystal chandeliers and on the white marble tables the red glow of candles flickered. Along the walls also stood bookshelves, one of which was actually a secret door leading into another private room. The adventurous explorer could play around with the antique camera booth or snuggle near the warm fireplace. Not only was it a venue for an escape, but romance could be sought easily there any night.
Even from the start, there was a substantial amount of people who clambered into the room. Many claimed their spots wisely. For guests who desire the best experience, a recommendation would be to find the Texans, they will be the life of the party. In fact, two lovely ladies, Bri Hight and Shandy Bowman of Mane Salon in Dallas, provided the best support of the musical atmosphere to come. Musical connoisseurs in their own right, the two women were eager for celebration and conversation. They were more than happy with the events to come. Before the main event of the night started, it was Swing Time! Professional and elaborate swing dance enthusiasts began to take over the dance floor. To the enjoyment of many, their presence remained constant for the entire evening. They encouraged listeners to join in and provided an added flair to it all. Shandy wasted no time to partake in the action and won over many a dancer, maybe even a few guests as well. Oh, that southern hospitality.
The Delancey Five casually set up in their small corner while fans were captivated by the dancers who were animated in every way. Finally, a bellow of horns were introduced and the night was officially in full swing, pun intended. It was instrumental jazz at its best from the inception. With a small saxophone power often leading the charge, it was the perfect atmosphere for The Back Room. There was quick overlaying saxophone all the way. The Delancey Five were masters at keeping that jazz movement alive and flowing. Each instrument ranging from the soft trumpet with utmost seriousness to the soft pitter patter of the keys that led to the heartbeating pulse of the drums and bass were magical. Svetlana was calmly setting up off to the side in all her glamorous sparkling black attire. The band were the pure soul of the venue that night. Everyone just fell in line with every minute of it. Case in point, the swing dancing never stopped. Even the lively chatter remained through the music in full lounge style spirit blending in beautifully. Svetlana and crew were supremely cool and represented the epitome of the swing jazz persona.
Each instrument and musician pairing was original and offered viewers entertainment to the highest degree. It was obvious that the horns were the focus of the show when Svetlana was not crooning to the crowd.Svetlana’s vocals were true swing and were silky smooth. It was hard to focus on the music or the dancing. Both were amazing and wild to watch. Things would calm down a bit when the suave keys came in with an even current. Everything began to mesh in easily. All of the sounds of the venue were a rare mix of the NYC most people forget. It brought people back in time. Wispy horns were introduced and the jazz with pizazz hit its peak. What prime encouragement to live it up on a Monday!
Couples, friends and random strangers were having the time of their lives. There was a communal spirit that lingered throughout the night that was emboldened even more when Christmas tunes were played. Never before has a venue really opened doors and hearts to people simply wishing to have a sense of community. Even if it only lasted a few hours, every minute was valuable and brought out the best of the human condition. Hope was rekindled. Everything about it was an urban winter fantasy.