SPECIAL NOTE: The California Feetwarmers and New Recesionaires are playing on Friday May 3rd, 2019 starting at 1:30PM for the Union Station 80th anniversary celebration! Come out and dance! More info and schedule at the Union Station website.
On Friday, August 8th, 2017, the California Feetwarmers played a special gig at the Los Angeles Downtown Union Station to a completely packed dance floor!
When first I heard about this event, put on by Metro Presents, I figured only a few dancers would show up. After all, it was during work hours, from 4-6PM on a weekday. Boy, was I wrong! By the day of the show, a whopping 83 fans had RSVP’d on the event page!
Getting to Downtown L.A. during rush hour was a major pain, with most freeways jammed. Once I got there, I had to circle around to find the underground parking garage entrance on Alameda Street. Don’t park in the short-term parking in front on Vignes – that is $2 for every 20 minutes. The underground garage was only $6 for the whole time I was there.
Instead, I highly recommend taking the Metro to Union Station!
Built in 1939, the interior of Union Station is spectacular. Thankfully, many of the 1940’s features have been preserved, making this an ideal setting for Swing dancing.
The main ticket hall is abandoned but still breathtaking:
When I arrived (late), around the end of the first set, the dance area was absolutely packed. Many of the dancers were dressed vintage! I was blown away that so many people were willing and able to get out of work to attend this! I guess that is a testament to the popularity of the Feetwarmers (voted #4 best band in Southern California by LA Lindy Hop readers, but my personal favorite dance band right now).
And as usual, the Feetwarmers put on a great show, playing their special brand of 1920’s/New Orleans/banjo jazz from their latest album and other favorites.
The crowd was a good cross-section of folks including several instructors. I recognized many regulars from Joe’s Bar and other venues. In addition to dancers, there was a pretty large crowd of non-dancing fans, as well as curious travelers who just stopped to enjoy the music. (Yet another reason I love these types of events – it exposes the general public to Swing dancing!)
Collegiate Shag Performance
Early in the second set, we were treated to a dance performance by Steve Sayer’s Collegiate Shag team, set against one of my favorite Feetwarmers songs, “San” (“I want my dime back”).
The floor was smooth tile. No problem with leather soles. Needless to say, there were plenty of partners, with more follows than leads, in my quick estimation.
Heat was a real problem though, with people sweating like crazy. But during the break, the management brought in a huge industrial fan which was awesome.
Afterwards, a bunch of folks walked over to Olvera Street, just across the street, for dinner.
I highly recommend checking out this event when the California Feetwarmers play again! It’s a great excuse to leave work early on a Friday afternoon!
ADDITION: Here’s a great video to Steve Sayer’s Shag team!