Grab a Hawaiian shirt: Timothy Traynor, of Call Box Lounge dance party fame, is debuting Tropical Contact tonight at Isa. No, Tropical Contact isn’t a euphemism for some unspeakable jungle malady: it’s an island-themed soiree involving free beer, tropical fabrics, laid-back Caribbean tracks and a “nothing pretentious” great time, according to Traynor.
Sounds like a guy who knows how to make a good thing happen, right? Well, Traynor didn’t always have free reign to create bespoke dance parties in hip Williamsburg spaces. When the Wisconsin native first started DJing at The Call Box four years ago, the late-night crowd wasn’t exactly flocking to the charmingly derelict bar on the border of Greenpoint and East Williamsburg.
But Traynor, an impressively bearded 37-year-old, returned to the treehouse-like DJ booth every month, blasting out 80s synth-pop and 70s electro-punk — “stuff people like to dance to from my generation,” he explained. But the fickle 20-something set wasn’t feelin’ it.
And then, miraculously, Traynor found his deus ex machina — a dance-party’s completely legal equivalent to MDMA: Lady Gaga.
“One night, I put on Gaga and some Beyoncé and maybe something from Rihanna,” he said. And people went nuts. “They were spraying beer on each other and crowd surfing and climbing on each other’s backs and taking their clothes off,” he marveled. “I was like, ‘Wow, now this is a party.’”
Once Traynor established himself as the go-to “Hipster-Guilty-Pleasure Pop Music” guy – and stoked 20-somethings from unknown places jumped on board – Call Box owners Freddy and Pat Biancolli upped the ante as well, adding souped-up lights and “a bunch of laser beams” to the bar’s sizable dance space. (And did they ever — just look at all those laser-soaked bodies.)
“And that’s what people really know and love about The Call Box now,” said Traynor.
On Thursday, Traynor won’t be playing his trademark Kesha or Miley Cyrus, but his dance mix will create the sound of vacation. “It’s going to be Caribbean Tropical music, Jamaican Rock Steady music, Mento, Surf Music, that kind of thing,” said Traynor. You’ll also hear some other genres that Traynor “kinda made up” including Castaway Rock, Beach Blues and Vacation Country. “Basically, it’s anything that, to me, is kind of like classic rock bands that are trying to play a Reggae song,” he explained.
Tropical Contact will kick off at 10 p.m. on Isa’s second floor — a room that “looks like you’re hanging out at someone’s house” says Traynor – and if you show up in the first half hour wearing any kind of Hawaiian print on any part of your body, you’ll get a free All Day IPA from Founders Brewing Co.
As if you needed incentive to engage in something “fun, laid back and tropical.”