“Our bartender friends were the link in getting us to do what we do outside the bar, inside the bar.”
“Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight. Take me through the darkness to the break of the day.”
That’s ABBA, singing about nobody in particular, but maybe about the Glitter Boys.
What started as a trio of lifelong buds (KB Sweets, Sas, and Nicky V) just dancing along to songs they love has evolved into an expanding crew of over-the-top party DJs who smash Studio 54 vibes into ’80s WWF antics every weekend.
If you’ve been to the Sinclair Kitchen on a Friday night, you already know they’re not some cheapo Amazon-costume, corny wedding playlist outfit just going through the motions. They’ve got heart, they like to get weird, and lucky for us, they’re moving the party into the main venue space at Sinclair for one night only on Dec. 17.
We sat down with Glitter Boys resident dance machine KB Sweets to talk about how the night got started, what we can expect in the big room, and more. Check it out.
You’ve built up a really popular night and a solid community, but that doesn’t happen overnight. How did the Glitter Boys develop from you three just hanging out to a line-around-the-block weekly party?
Believe it or not, the three of us didn’t go out to clubs often. If there was a plan to go to a bar, or club, we’d end up spending more time at Sas’ place; playing music on his stereo, getting dressed up, laughing and dancing around in the living room, than spending time at the bar or club. We’d get ready for three or four hours, go out for an hour or so, only to come back to something more familiar, and party in our own space, our own way. Sometimes we would abandon the plan to go out completely and not leave Sas’ place at all!
The three of us have always had the most fun at house parties, DIY shows in basements, warehouses, practice spaces, any place that wasn’t an establishment. We always felt more comfortable in a space that belonged to someone in our community. That being said, people in our community need to work for a living, and a few of them would tend bar around Boston and Cambridge. Our bartender friends were the link in getting us to do what we do outside the bar, inside the bar. We established a Thursday night residency in Central Square, playing twice a month. We decided to strictly use our records instead of a computer or aux cord while playing music in the bar. Our favorite music nights were nights like “Soulelujah” and “Pogo And Work,” where DJs use vinyl records exclusively.
For us, there’s a real engaging, human element to strictly working with records. All of us spend so much of our day looking at screens, so it’s nice not to look at one in order to play music for a few hours! Spinnin’ records isn’t something everybody does while partying at home so as a means of entertainment it remains a drawing factor to us.
For better or worse, the three of us growing up in Massachusetts gave us a bit of that Show me somethin’ attitude. A Why should I leave my spot to spend money on this? attitude. A Gimme a good reason sort of thing. When the dynamic switched from patron to performer, we kept that attitude. We’re going to give you something you won’t get anywhere else.
It took some time, but not before long we were noticed by Allison Finney and some staff members at The Sinclair. They were looking to start a recurring Friday night and thought we would be a great fit. Allison asked us to come into the restaurant to see the space and talk with them about the night. Right away, it felt like a truly collaborative effort to create something that would work long term. You can’t have a recurring dance night if the space doesn’t gel with what you’re trying to accomplish. The Sinclair became the home we needed to form a community around the principals we believe in, principals that extend much further beyond spinning dance records.
Now you’re bringing it from the cozy Sinclair front restaurant to the main venue room. What can people look forward to that they might not get at the regular night?
People can expect the same high energy dance party we bring every Friday night to the front bar, only this time we’ll be taking advantage of the big stage to put on even more of a show! The venue room is more than double the capacity of the room we fill every Friday, so waiting in line on a cold December night won’t be an issue on the 17th! In addition to the best dance party in Massachusetts, it’s our pleasure to bring two of our favorite shops directly to the people! We reached out to Sam at Primitive Ritual, whom we buy all of our leather gear and rock n roll accessories from. Sam uses antique tools and machinery to make the highest quality leather goods, as well as designing and manufacturing his own jewelry. Sam is bringing an assortment of studded leather bracelets, leather wallets, and other accessories to sell at the show. In addition to that, he is bringing his antique cross stitching machine that embroiders thread into nearly any material in a matter of minutes. If you’re interested in having some customized gear, Sam can cross stitch words and select designs into your jackets, pants, shirts, or bags for you!
We are also super excited to have the historic Great Eastern Trading Company popping up at the show. We’ve been huge fans of the owner, Nephrok, for years. Every Wednesday night, we’d head into Bull McCabe’s in Somerville to be blown away by the amazing Nephrok! Allstars, a live funk and soul band led by Nephrok on vocals. Nephrok’s showmanship, style, and charisma, influenced us early on in what it means to create an unforgettable show experience for everyone. In 2017, he bought Great Eastern Trading Co. located at 49 River Street in Cambridge from previous owner Marlene Clauss, continuing the store’s historic legacy, and adding his own style to it. Neph has continued to amass an incredible collection of vintage clothing, costumes, and jewelry, and recently opened a second location in Malden, MA. We are so excited to have the best vintage items from Great Easten Trading Co. available at the show!
Aside from the music, one thing that sets a Glitter Boys night apart in my mind is how you’re all very mindful about making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable. Is that a conscious decision going in or is it just something you’ve become attuned to over time?
It was a top priority for us. A major contributing factor to what kept us from frequenting clubs was the reprehensible behavior of men in these spaces, and the culture of acceptance behind it. More often than not, we found ourselves protecting our friends from being harassed. If our friend group wasn’t around, it was rare that anyone would step in or speak up against dudes actin’ foolish or disgusting. If the staff were notified, they’d either ignore it, downplay the situation, or make it a “both sides” thing. They would remove the dude behaving terribly, and the person they were harassing from them from the venue. In our initial conversations with The Sinclair, before we even agreed to anything, we spoke with them about staffing, the prioritization of safety, and commitment to eliminating toxic club behavior. One night early on in our tenure at The Sinclair, a man was persistent in harassing one of our female friends, he was not respecting her saying “no, not interested, please let me alone.” Inevitably, a drink was dumped on his head and he was met with shoves and aggression from our friends. The Sinclair security staff quickly stepped in and escorted the man out of the building. When security returned, they informed our friends that the security staff is there to handle situations like that and to come to them first, assuring them that they have their back. In order to create an inclusive culture and community for everyone to have a great time dancing, it’s important we empathize with people’s experiences and prioritize their safety and comfort. We try to make ourselves as open and approachable as possible to people attending our events to express themselves. We may have started with the priority of making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable, but we also remain dedicated to learning new ways in creating safe environments for everyone to enjoy themselves to the fullest!
The family has grown a bit recently, but the core Glitter Boys are you three. What do you each bring to the night individually?
That’s right, the Glitter Boy family has been growing! Community is so important to us, so sharing what we know and collaborating with up and coming vinyl DJ’s has been such a fun and rewarding addition to our lives. Spinnin’ records with “AL-B” Sepanek and “DBoy” Derek C is such a delight and we’re so excited to continue rockin’ with them! However, as you said, The core Glitter Boys are KB Sweets, Sas, and Nick V. We each take on the responsibility to keep the dance-floor bustin’ and each have our own individual record collections. If you’re a true Glitter Baby you’ll start to associate certain tracks and vibes with each individual Glitter Boy.
Nick V puts class in session, schoolin’ us all with deep cuts and underground gems like disco rap classics “Rap-O Clap-O” by Joe Bataan and “Let’s Vote” by Nuri. He’ll have you dancin’ in ways you never knew you could with down and dirty disco funk singles like “Fall Into A Trance” or “First True Love Affair” by Jimmy Ross. If you see Nick V behind the tables, you know he’s bringing certified crowd-poppin’ bangers, like “Daddy Cool” by Boney M, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA, and Aretha Franklin’s incredible cover of “Hold On I’m Comin.” Nicky also has an extensive collection of power pop, glam rock, high energy 80’s new wave and dance punk records to scratch the itch of all the rockers jammin’ to the Glitter Boys.
Sas is the vocal leader of the Glitter Boys and really pushes what it means to put on a show. With microphone in hand, Sas calls upon the Glitter Babies on the dance floor to meet his electrifying energy and get down and boogie. Sas’ passion for showmanship has led to what has been dubbed “Glitter Boys After Midnight.” A segment of the night complete with costume changes, wigs, and glamour! Not to be forgotten are his skills behind the turntables and his incredibly diverse record collection. Sas will hit you with dance classics from the likes of Prince, Earth Wind and Fire, Chic, and The Bar Kays, while flawlessly hopping genres famously landing on Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” to be carried out to the middle of the dance floor on my (KB’s) shoulders to hang upside down from the ceiling and sing with the crowd at the song’s climax.
Finally, KB Sweets. Monikered “Boston’s Greatest Dancer.” The champion of dance, his moves will put you in a trance, he never leaves the disco alone. Styled with arrogance, but not conceit, as a man he is complete, he looks like a still, that man is dressed to kill. Driven by rhythm, KB turns to bass guitar heavy hitters like Rick James’ and The Temptations “Standing On The Top” or “Walk The Night” by Skatt Bros. The Sweet One’s fire never burns out, but if he feels like yours might, he’s got disco smash “Relight My Fire” by Dan Hartman ready to crank the sweet heat back up.When the night nears its end, and Glitter Babies’ feet grow heavy, KB slows it down with tracks like “Ani – Kuni” by Madeleine Chartrand, a psychedelic dance folk song to send you home with some spiritual sweetness in your step.
Aside from the awesome disco/funk/psychedelic mainstays that people can expect, what are some of your favorite dark horse or deep cut tracks that get people going?
It feels like we have a new favorite each week! We’re always buying new records from all time periods and genres and we love to try and fit them into our set in an organic way. “Kill The Lights” by Alex Newall, is a heavy favorite and has become a must hear for everyone. Our favorite moments are when we play something people don’t expect. Sas spun “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay one night and the crowd response was unbelievable. Up to that point in time, we’d been known to play everything from; classic rock songs from the ’60s and ’70s, to goth and new wave songs from the 80s, even some hard rock and bubble gum pop hits from the ’90s. But when Sas dropped the needle on that trance pop classic, I don’t think people expected it at all, the reaction was amazing. Nicky popped the crowd with “Blister In The Sun” by Violent Femmes. The entire crowd was singing and dancing like they were at home with their friends and no one was watching. Who knew a song without a bass drum could move people so much?! KB’s never afraid to work in some 90’s hip hop like playing “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G. following a song like “Boogie Shoes” By K.C. and the Sunshine Band.
What keeps us so motivated and engaged is the freedom we give ourselves to play whatever we want, as long as we think it will make people happy and dance. We started this by just partying together with our friends and family, or dancing on our own in private, and that always meant we were playing different genres of music. We like to think that we’re just doing what other people like to do in their own spaces; dancing on their own, partying together with friends and family, listening to all kinds of music, and having fun! Our night has always been “Dance With The Glitter Boys,” we’re always gonna be right there with ya.
Glitter Boys @ The Sinclair. Fri., 12.17, 9pm-2am. $10 adv, $12 door. Info and tickets at axs.com. @theglitterboys on instagram