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Entering Bar Smith on a Wednesday night is a bit like biting into a Tootsie Pop.
From the outside, it appears as yet another unassuming brick-and-mortar space for young professionals to unwind. However, step atop its rooftop dance floor and you’ll be immediately greeted by the unexpectedly smooth tastes of silky house, disco and funk, courtesy of local DJ collective Rebel Disco.
Push Push Wednesdays at Barsmith provides a different flavor to the ever-evolving Phoenix dance scene, combining a boisterous need to party with a near-obsessive attention to craft and execution.
“We share and present sounds and styles that are truly authentic, human, and sort of gritty and raw,” said founder Jake Goldsmith, explaining that Rebel Disco remains “unapologetic” about its members’ love for “vinyl, analogue production, rotary mixing, high quality audio files, and unadulterated fun.”
Rebel Disco began in 2010, with Goldsmith and founder Aaron Francisco bringing in New York DJ Eli Escobar to Bar Smith. Since then, some of underground dance music’s heaviest hitters have graced the Push Push stage, such as Tensnake, BICEP, Daniel Avery and Roman Flügel. This is in addition to their regular nights of showcasing funky homegrown talent, such as Evan Barnes.
“Just because people aren’t on stage with bad tattoos, long hair, ultra skinny jeans and guitars doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun and dance,” said Goldsmith.
Prior to starting Rebel Disco, Goldsmith and Francisco served as guest, and eventually resident, DJs at Bar Smith, with past appearances at nights such as Solstice Saturdays and Sticky Fingers.
The success of Bar Smith’s Push Push Wednesdays can be seen as a reflection on the continued growth of Downtown. While Phoenix has never had a reputation as a “must-stop city” for touring underground acts, groups like Rebel Disco are changing this. They are crafting and supporting new avenues for creative minds to flourish.
“I think it’s cool what’s happening,” said Goldsmith. “I’d like to see people start to venture out of their comfort zones, and you know, give things a shot.”
* Photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn Photography