A bittersweet farewell to Frank M. Reid at Bethel AME
The Baltimore Sun

Reaction! is still going strong at the Sidebar Tavern

Years ago, one of my very first nightlife columns was on a new mod-themed monthly dance party called Reaction!, held at the Sidebar Tavern every second Friday.

DJ Amanda Otto spun '60s and '70s grooves plucked from her big boxes of vintage 45s, and a retro-sounding band played a 30- or 45-minute set. Some folks came dressed in short skirts, leather boots and other mod attire. It was a cool idea for a dance party.

But given the shelf life of most Baltimore dance parties (save for a few like TaxLo), I didn't expect Reaction! to make it more than a year or two. 

Silly me.

Last night, a few Midnight Sunners and I hit up the Sidebar for Reaction!, and the scene was outta sight, baby.

Side note: I love the throwback posters Amanda uses to advertise the party ...

The cover was $7, not too bad, considering some drinks were two-for-one until 11 p.m.

Last night's band was Baltimore's Bad Liquor Pond, whose acid-tinged garage rock fit the night's theme just fine. They've begun to hit their stride in the past year, finding the right mix of fuzzed-out riffs and hazy grooves. It's common for psychedelic bands to stretch out their jams for minutes on end, but Bad Liquor Pond kept the solos tight and tasteful.

Singer/guitarist Dave Gibson, with his slightly shaggy hair, Ray Bans and necklace, kinda looked like something from the '60s. The rest of the guys, not so much. Looks don't matter much, of course, but it made me chuckle.

After Bad Liquor Pond's set (which lasted about 30-45 minutes), we cut a rug for another couple hours until the party was over at around 1 a.m. The crowd started thinning after the band stopped, but it was great to see Reaction! thriving a few years after it began.

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