Is the party over for ’80s nights?

I recently attended ’80s night at LaSalles Bar, but it didn’t turn out as advertised when the DJ started mixing in dance hits from the ’90s and the aughts. Although that was fun in its own way, I was expecting ’80s music and didn’t appreciate the bait-and-switch (especially when there was another DJ out on the patio playing similar music). If there isn’t enough interest or desire to sustain an entire ’80s night, maybe it’s time to rethink the theme.

I’ll admit I don’t know exactly why the DJ started mixing in more recent music during a night ostensibly dedicated to Michael Jackson, Madonna and their pals. However, I found some possible insight in a Facebook item from a friend about the demise of a once-popular ’80s night in the Seattle area.

As the CHS Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported, the host of the 17-year-old Seattle event, DJ Trent Von, noted a diminishing audience in recent years. He observed that the audience for such music is still out there, but not necessarily at a nightclub on a Thursday night.

That sentiment was echoed by Seattle Gay Scene writer Michael Strangeways who observed that theme nights go away when the likely audience grows older and drifts on to other activities (like careers or families).

Perhaps we’re seeing something similar in Chico. While the 1980s were arguably one of the greatest periods of pop music, many of the people now going to LaSalles or most Chico nightspots were born in the mid-to-late ’80s and came of age in the 1990s (or later). While people still just wanna have fun when they go out, maybe they think more of Katy Perry instead of Cyndi Lauper.

So what should places like LaSalles do? I don’t particularly care for continuing an ” ’80s Night” event when there are fewer and fewer songs from that era. Maybe a refocusing of the evening would be appropriate.

Although it sometimes sounds silly and wishy washy, perhaps radio stations are on to something when they promote “playing the hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today.” The way it is now, the music of the 1980s are just a part of the Saturday entertainment at LaSalles and the marketing should reflect that.

On a related note: I loathe the bait-and-switch when it comes to publicized events. In addition to an ’80s night that kinda isn’t, LaSalles also hosts a sorta karaoke night Sundays. I say sorta because the disc jockey spins dance music in between singers.

Perhaps it may be sometimes necessary to play a tune or two while waiting for more singers, but it’s infuriating if you’re patiently waiting for your turn to sing. It essentially doubles the waiting time.

Some of the other bars in town are guilty of this practice too. I stopped trying to sing karaoke at Buck’s Crazy Horse Saloon because the DJ did the same thing — interspersing dance music with live singers. It’s not worthwhile for me.