The ’20s are coming back at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and you can celebrate in style at the Portuguese American Club (PA Club). Joanne Cassidy, Mike Benjamin, and their big band will ring in the new decade with a themed dance party. “I’ve got my flapper dress and all the accessories,” Cassidy told The Times. “Almost everyone I’ve talked to is planning to dress up, donning their long pearls.” The night will be all about dancing and having a good time. “We’re going to do a mix,” Cassidy says. “It’s mostly going to be really fun dance music.”
Mike Benjamin’s wife suggested the 1920s theme, and it worked musically, too. “Being able to weave some ’20s swing stuff into the mix would be fun,” Benjamin said. When Cassidy approached the PA Club with the idea, they got on board right away. Gina deBettencourt, president of the PA Club, was excited about the idea. “We always have a band or a DJ, but we’re upping the ante, making it a place to go,” deBettencourt said. “They’re just an amazing band. We want people to come out and have a good time, be safe, and start the year with us.”
Over the summer, Cassidy played regularly at the PA Club with another group. “The PA Club is becoming kind of a hot spot again,” Cassidy said. “Mike and I have been friends and played together for 20 years, so whenever we can team up and do something together, we do.” The band will include at least eight musicians, with a horn section. “We pride ourselves on being able to play many genres, to keep all demographics on the dance floor,” Cassidy says.
“The PA Club is becoming more of a music venue, which is filling a void because the Atlantic Connection is gone and the Hot Tin Roof is gone,” Benjamin said. “Joanne and I have appreciated each other’s music for years, and I’ve played at some of her Featherstone gigs and she’s sung on my records. I always look forward to collaborating with her.” For the past five or six years, both musicians had played at the Harborview Hotel’s New Year’s Eve party, which was canceled during the hotel’s renovation last year. The two of them were talking about what they were going to do for New Year’s, when both of them usually have work. Together, they decided to put on a party with costumes and prizes, because there hasn’t been one of those on the Island in a while.
Admission includes appetizers and a champagne toast. Josh Aronie’s food truck will be on site selling more substantial fare for those who work up an appetite on the dance floor, or sitting around the outdoor fire pit. There will be cash prizes for the Best Dressed Couple, Best Flapper, Best Dapper Dan, and the Best Dancing Couple. “We’re going to try to do a dance competition where you tap them on the shoulder and they have to come off the floor,” Cassidy says. “Sometimes you see these couples who have just been dancing together forever, and it’s an opportunity for them to showcase that.”
Tickets are $50 online at roaring20sball.eventbrite.com, and $60 at the door