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Life on Long Island

The Louder Than Love Valentine's Ball

Freestyle music group TKA.

Freestyle music group TKA. (Credit: Ian J. Stark)

When it comes to Long Island’s nightlife, there’s no question that a part of the party scene belongs to a fairly mature set of fun-seekers

People that don't regularly head out in the evening for good times, dancing and social situations on LI may be under the impression that area pubs and clubs are solely full of twenty-somethings -- but in fact, there are a number of spots that count on the ages 30-60 crowd for their main business – and that is a primary reason the musical genre of freestyle continues to find play on Long Island

For those unfamiliar, the freestyle sound is built on beat-pumping jams and tearful ballads, involving sampling and emotional, lovelorn vocals. Its beat is similar to that of hip-hop, yet its content is related to pop and its delivery is tied to dance music – and from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, both clubs and radio played a great deal of freestyle, making some of its artists into local celebrities (as the freestyle phenomenon mostly took place in NYC, New Jersey and LI).

Today, those musicians don't see the airplay or acclaim they received 20 years ago, but older Long Islanders still show a level of dedication, continuing to frequent the club appearances and “explosion” concerts focused on performances by freestyle’s core stars – and if you are one of those devotees, you may want to keep your calendar open come the weekend following Valentine’s Day as the largest freestyle event to happen on LI in many months will be taking place in Westbury on Saturday, Feb. 15.

The show is being called the “Louder Than Love Valentine's Ball,” and it’s set for 8 p.m. at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury. With the expansive, in-the-round seating offered at the NYCB, guests will get a full view of such freestyle hit-makers as TKA (“Maria,” “Louder Than Love,” “Come Baby Come”), Judy Torres (“Come Into My Arms,” “Please Stay Tonight”), Alisha ("All Night Passion," "Baby Talk,” "Too Turned On"), George Lamond (“Bad of the Heart”), Soave ("Crying Over You”) and Noel ("Silent Morning") – as well as dance artists Joyce Sims ("All and All") and Freedom Williams (the MC of the group C&C Music Factory), whose careers were at their most successful during the freestyle era -- and an appearance by the current incarnation of the hip-hop group Sugar Hill Gang, best-known for its ground-breaking hit “Rapper’s Delight.”

Tickets are available online at livenation.com for $51.50; for more information visit thetheatreatwestbury.com

The “Louder Than Love Valentine's Ball” at The NYCB Theater: 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, 800-745-3000

Tags: freestyle , music , dance , classic , concert , TKA , Judy Torres , Alisha , George Lamond , Soave , Noel , Joyce Sims , Freedom Williams , Sugar Hill Gang , February , Valentine’s Day , weekend

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