Motown Night at the pub misses the beat

In Arts & Life /

By Nicole Cohen

Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson and the Jackson Five made their debuts at the Ram in the Rye last Wednesday.

In a bid to lure a new crowd to Oakham House, RyeSAC v.p. administration Akeem Prince Fasasi has launched Motown Night, an evening dedicated to those groovy rhythm and blues artists from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

But Wednesday’s Motown party didn’t have enough appeal to get students on the dance floor, let alone keep them at the pub past 10 p.m.

Fasasi printed ads in the RyeSAC student handbook and hung posters around campus to hype Motown Night, but said he wasn’t surprised at the small turnout.

“It’s like buying a new car,” he said. “You have to test-drive it, get a good feel for it and see if you want to keep it.”
Fasasi organized the pub’s first Motown night in an effort to boost the Ram in the Rye’s sales on a usually slow night.

Tuesday’s acoustic open-mic night and Thursday’s top-40 pub night are what Fasasi calls cruise-control evenings, because they almost always attract up to 200 people each.

“There are always people crammed on the dance floor—they’re established nights and guaranteed successes,” he said. “Motown is for the Jackson Five, Boys II Men and Michael Jackson, for those who don’t like top-40.”

He hired CKLN DJ Michael Antoine, who came dressed for the occasion in bellbottoms and an Afro to spin for the crowd.

“I can dance to Motown,” Antoine said, “but anyone born between 1985 and 2000 probably can’t.”

Antoine says Motown is the first type of African-American-owned music and the first music to have crossover appeal to both black and white cultures.

“Motown night is a cute idea,” Antoine said, “but it’s probably not going to draw a giant crowd.”

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