Boo Goo Returns with Halloween-Themed Dance Party
By Kyle Eustice
There’s some new blood being injected into Omaha’s favorite dance party again this year. The brainchild of The Faint’s Todd Fink and Jacob Thiele, Boo Goo is back for its seventh Halloween event. They’re bringing Keith Rodger on board to perform under his alias, Kethro, for the second time.
“I was asked by Jacob,” Rodger says. “He randomly hit me up last year to see if I wanted to play the Halloween party and I was super stoked because I wanted to play Goo for four years.”
“I wanted to bring Keith in because he’s a great DJ,” Thiele adds. “I guess I had DJ’ed so many parties that I wanted to give someone else a shot, somebody that was really up on their game. I kind of got burned out on it a little bit. Just the DJ part, but I wanted to keep doing it because it’s really fun.”
Last year, Rodger played for over three hours and by the third hour he said he had “lost his mind it was so fun.” Playing Goo is kind of like a rite of passage for the young DJ. Thiele and Fink have a type of veteran musician status while Rodger is kind of just starting out, but according to Thiele, “Keith knows how to rock a party.” The story of Goo begins around 2007 when there seemed to be a void in the Omaha music scene. There weren’t many places for kids to go dance that wasn’t genre specific. That’s when Fink and Thiele stepped in.
“I think that the time was right when it started,” Fink explains. “A lot of kids, growing up in the Omaha music scene, they didn’t have anything like it. Dancing was sort of not in style right before we started it. I think the city wanted it whether it knew it or not. It was the right time to introduce indie rock kids to fun dance music. The ‘80s were nostalgic for everybody and it’s fun to dance to. You could throw in tacky, guilty pleasures from past decades and introduce them to new songs. We didn’t really take the DJing part of it too seriously. It was about finding things that would spark a memory for people. We wanted it to be an event. We wanted to have themes and give people an excuse for people to go thrifting and go crazy.”
Boo Goo provides the ideal platform for costumes, craziness and lots of dancing. It’s something people look forward to every year. Before Rodger was performing at Goo, he was attending Goo and dreaming of the day he could play it.
“Personally, the only thing I want to add DJ-wise is I want to be able to take the aesthetic of what I’ve been doing as a DJ for so many years and apply it go Goo,” Rodger says. “My style is very eclectic and I don’t like to stick to one thing. I am going to try to make the set emotionally disturbing and emotionally scary. I just want it to be something horrifying and fun at the same time. I want the happiest song for them to be Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but everything after that to be dark and gloomy [laughs]. We want to create an environment that makes you feel like you’re in a strange, psychedelic graveyard.”
“I think we all try to find things that other people might not bring,” Fink adds. “That comes naturally because we are all different people with different interests. That’s what’s nice about having a variety of DJs.”
Thiele is preparing for it, too. Last year, he went as Willy Wonka and this year he’s thinking of going as a witch, a costume he’s never donned before. For him, it’s a good opportunity to play dark, eerie stuff that you normally couldn’t get away with at a normal club. He cites Ministry’s “Every Day Is Halloween” as an example of something he’s looking forward to playing. In many ways, Boo Goo is an artistic outlet, too.
“We had been to a lot of cities and felt like it was something Omaha was lacking,” Thiele says. “There were dance parties, but they were very genre-specific. This one is for everybody. It encourages people to dress up and be weird. We had seen that happening in other cities. We had been talking about it for years. Eventually, it all fell into place. It very satisfying when you can feel the crowd and just know what the perfect song is to play next. It’s a lot of fun.”
As Slowdown begins its transformation into a Halloween-friendly dance club, Thiele, Fink and Rodger are undoubtedly getting their sets ready. Rodger, perhaps, is paying a little closer attention than most.
“When Jacob and Todd asked me to play Goo last year, I thought that would be the extent of it. They don’t ask many people. Going in there I wanted to give them the best set possible. I think Jacob saw me at Boo Goo last year and saw qualities that extend beyond the DJ aspect. He saw I could stage-manage, be an emcee and keep the crowd going. He decided to take me on tour. I’m a hard worker and I do nothing but work. We got to be very good friends. Whenever Todd or Jacob plays, I have to be there. I don’t care if I’m sick or have one leg. I’ve learned so much from them as musicians. They opened up my musical world and I owe them a lot for that.”
Boo Goo, October 31, at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St., 9 p.m. Tickets are $5/ADV and $10/DOS. Visit www.theslowdown.com for more information.