A Dance Floor Celebration of Soul, R&B, and Funk
Live music from Joe McGinty & the Losers Lounge, with special performances from Stephen Colbert, Patrick Wilson, Warren Zanes and special guests
Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m.
The Wellmont Theater, 5 Seymour St.
Tickets begin at $30 for The Concert Experience, featuring balcony seating, up to $200 for a VIP Dance Floor Experience with a pre-show reception.
Proceeds to benefit Montclair Film, Montclairfilm.org
By GWEN OREL
Performing with the Losers Lounge Band is like “lying on top of a very high quality mattress,” said Montclair’s Warren Zanes. “You’re fully supported. It’s an amazing feeling.
“It’s a different experience being in front of that kind of band than the typical rock and roll band. It’s some of the best players in New York City.”
Zanes has played with a lot of bands: he made three records with his band the Del Fuegos in the 1980s, and has released four solo albums as well.
Montclair Film will hold the fundraiser “The Glitter Ball: A Dance Floor Celebration of Soul, R&B, and Funk” on Saturday, March 2.
Headliners include Zanes, Patrick Wilson and Stephen Colbert.
And there may be special guests.
The event is a fundraiser for Montclair Film, to support their educational programs and their year-round film programming.
NOT GUILTY PLEASURE
Joe McGinty and the Losers Lounge are a collective of performers fronted by Psychedelic Furs keyboardist McGinty, who have been performing what are essentially tribute shows since 1993. They’ve performed the songs of Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, David Bowie, Abba and the Zombies, among others, with special guests that have included Richard Dreyfuss, Cyndi Lauper, Ronnie Spector, Joan Jett and many other celebrities, as well as up-and coming performers.
The Losers Lounge band has been playing together since 1993.
For years they performed at Fez, under the Time Café in New York City. After 2005, when Fez closed, they began performing regularly at Joe’s Pub, in the city, and also perform at City Winery and other venues.
This year’s fundraising concert for Montclair Film will focus on soul.
“It’s a soul throwdown,” McGinty said.
The original concept for Losers Lounge was quirky.
“When we started, we were small and local. It was me, and my like-minded friends celebrating what at that time was a guilty pleasure,” McGinty said. “Like Burt Bacharach, who hadn’t become cool yet.”
The name was not a reflection on the people they were paying tribute to, but a self-deprecating comment on the players.
“We’re the struggling musicians, honoring the rich millionaires who’ve had this incredible success.” McGinty would take the bus home to Atlantic City, and be bombarded with billboards for the High Rollers’ Club, the Big Winners Lounge, he said with a laugh, and that’s how he came up with the name for the Losers Lounge.
“We didn’t expect that we’d be doing it 25 years later, selling out at Joe’s Pub.” The core band has been together since the ’90s, and is a tight-knit group of friends, he said.
To the six-piece band, they will often add horns and backup singers.
“You don’t really get to see Stephen Colbert sing that often, and he’s actually a good singer,” said McGinty. “Patrick Wilson gives 110 percent with his performance.”
McGinty actually worked with Wilson years ago on a musical adaptation of “Bright Lights, Big City” Off Broadway. “The show bombed, but Patrick Wilson was great in it,” he said.
A PERFECT TOWN FOR THE ARTS
For Warren Zanes, supporting the film festival is a natural thing to do: it’s also fun. He’s impressed by how quickly it’s grown, he said.
Zanes has experience in arts organizations: he’s served as vice president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and executive director of Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation.
He will also perform with Richard Thompson and Zara Phillips in the Montclair Literary Festival on Wednesday, March 20. All three of the authors on the bill that night have written books; Zanes’ own books include volumes on Tom Petty and Dusty Springfield. He has also worked with Garth Brooks on two volumes about his careers, among others.
“The film festival has set a great example for Montclair. The literary festival comes in behind that,” he said.
The film festival is so special, Montclair people might not even realize what they have, he said. He has also worked in film, most recently working with director Thom Zimny on a documentary about Johnny Cash, that will premiere at SXSW (the South by Southwest festival of film and music in Texas that begins in March).
Montclair is “a perfect town for these kinds of celebrations of the arts. As a Montclair dad, I want to be a part of whatever I can be a part of.”
One thing that makes the Glitter Ball special for him is performing with his sons Lucian, Piero and their friends Bobby Axelrod and Aidan Joyce.
“It’s become a family affair. When they go onstage, they see a lot of faces that they know from around Montclair, but in a radically different context,” he said. “It’s pure joy.”