New Year’s Evening Out: Soul Circus / Soundtrack at the Mercury Room

Posted on January 2nd, 2004 in Commentary,Houston by mynagirl

So, Mynagirl and Engineerboy head out on the town for New Year’s Eve for a little food and dancing at The Mercury Room. I always fancy a chance to dress up sparkly, and Scott very gamely plays along… plus, Soul Circus was the band at Mercury Room, and they are our absolute favorite live band that we’ve heard in Houston.

The Fashion Report for the evening included a Carmen Marc Valvo dress with two layers of silk chiffon covered by a layer of beaded lace paired with a trusty set of Stuart Weitzmans and some new Christmas earrings, plus a sequined flower in the hair. The dress was actually very comfortable, and molto bene for dancing… quite twirly! Scott wore a Tallia Uomo suit with a DKNY dress shirt and a tone-on-tone Ermenegildo Zegna tie. (Ok, maybe none of you care, but I put this article in the Mynagirl category and I’m pretending I write for W magazine, so there. Author’s prerogative).

After dinner, we navigated to the Mercury Room with what I would consider perfect timing: about 10:15 pm. Not old-person early, but shouldn’t be too packed, right? We take the southern path through downtown, cleverly skipping the carcrawl through clubville and whisking our car straight up to the… uh oh… nonexistent valet stand at the Mercury Room. I guess Merc Room gave it up on NYE because of the crowds, so our clever strategy was completely hosed. Twenty minutes and a complete circuit of the clubgoer-packed streets later (well, it was fascinating people watching) we circle back around to the parking lot with a … cough … $40 parking fee.

Scooching across the misting streets, we (thankfully) got to get right in the door because we’d bought tickets in advance (we weren’t gonna risk missing Soul Circus). The band was already in full swing, playing some great funk tunes already! We went straight for the dance floor: Superstitious, Brick House, very rockin’ stuff. The band confused us a bit by telling us they were called Soundtrack, then announcing themselves as Soul Circus and then Soundtrack again… but we recognized most of the people on the stage and the quality of the music was definitely up to par, so we had no complaints.

The band took their first break pretty quickly after we arrived, and the club became pretty smoke filled and packed after that. One of my favorite things about the Mercury Room (not that we’ve gone to many different nightclubs in Houston — we pretty much found that place and we’ve stayed with a good thing since then) is the mixed crowd: couples in their 40’s and 50’s in from the suburbs, young hipsters, gaggles of gorgeous girls on the prowl, and at least one May/December where the December was in her laaaate 40’s and the May was in his 20’s with a satin shirt open to his navel, no lie (“It’s not sexy to scrub for the customer!”). The DJ music was pretty okay, some 50 Cent and other rap I wasn’t cool enough to recognize, but the band’s break seemed to go on way too long. We spent a while drinking and people watching, stamping our feet waiting for the band to get going again and trying to avoid the smokers.

Soundtrack/Soul Circus did eventually get jamming again, playing some other good tunes: Kiss (the Prince tune) as well as the Gloria Gaynor estrogen-friendly sing-along I Will Survive. The dance floor got packed with gropers, drinkers, and smokers, and as the midnight hour approached the band made some uneven tempo choices; the reggae Stir It Up was something less than a crowd-whipping frenzy just before midnight. I must be getting old, because the amount of smoke in the club was really getting to me, too… not just the physical amounts I was inhaling (I was “hung over” and raspy the next morning, despite having only had one alchoholic drink all evening) but the overwhelming fact is that it strikes me as so rude to just stink up the air around you like that. If the club had segregated the cigarette smokers the way they did the cigar smokers or if there had been fewer smokers, we probably would’ve stayed much longer (and spent much more money at the bar there). As is was, however, all those camels pretty much broke my back and Scott and I were both more than ready to dash out of there after the midnight smooch.

We wrapped up the evening with a pleasant 1 am breakfast at Biba’s with some friends, bs’ing about movies and snacking on French toast. It was a great way to wind down. I would’ve loved to stay dancing longer but just couldn’t last at the club. All in all it was a great way to ring in the new year, however, even if we are getting a little too old (and cranky) to stay out with all the young ones at the smoky nightclubs.

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