‘Circle Electrik’: Local band Skösh pay homage to ’80s Turner nightclub with new song
TURNER — The video opens with a man in a hazmat suit dancing happily down Lisbon Street in Lewiston.
He has an old boom box radio cradled in one arm as he twirls disco-style along the sidewalk outside the pawnshop, drawing puzzled looks from locals.
It’s a goofy and fun image, and that’s exactly what the band Skösh had in mind when they shot the video for their new song.
Good times, disco style, that’s what it’s all about – the Buckfield-based band’s new song is called ‘Circle Electric’, after all, and it’s meant to be a tribute to the kind of eclectic fun that was formerly at a club of the same name in Turner.
Not that the band members remember the location — since Circle Electric had its heyday in the 1980s, they’re too young for that.
Skosh drummer Jedidiah Allen explains.
“We always set aside Circle Electric as a theme we wanted to use for a track,” he says. “And that grew out of our parents, our aunts and uncles and just about everyone in our area over the age of 45 who had very fond memories of The Circle. We have always heard of it as this kind of magical place. If there was a crazy story based on a party or event, it usually happened there.
The Circle Electric Bottle Club was located on Route 4 in Turner. In the 1980s, it was considered one of the must-see places, if you lived in the Twin Cities area. The club closed in the 1990s and burned down in April 1997.
Locals remember it as a funky place, with lighted dance platforms, aquariums on one wall, an old ’56 Chevy on another. Parties at the club, they say, would last until sunrise.
The song “Circle Electric” has a definite disco vibe, which Allen says fits perfectly with the theme of the club it honors.
“’Circle Electric’ as a title,” says Allen, “uses it as a kind of mood. It is an embodiment of fun times.
Like every other band in the area, Skosh has suffered a bit of boredom during the COVID shutdowns. Unable to perform live shows, they turned to writing. While working on the new single, a few themes came to mind.
“We kind of marry the feeling that people had for The Circle with the way a lot of us felt during the pandemic – that yearning for the good old days; to just want to go out and dance and have that outing,” Allen says.
Then came the video, directed by Jedidiah and her brother and bandmate Eli Allen, which was conceptualized, shot and edited by the band.
In order for the acting talent to be showcased in the video, the group asked for favors from friends. Jedidiah’s boss from marketing group PatraCompany even helped out with the video shoot, and that’s really where the fun started.
After dancing along the sidewalk outside the Lewiston Pawn Shop, our friend in a hazmat suit is next seen dancing in an alley. Shortly after, he was break dancing with a group in a park, then dancing, dancing and swinging his arms to cross the Longley Bridge between Lewiston and Auburn.
Who is this brave soul in a protective suit who gives such a performance in broad daylight?
It was Collin Miclon, a high school friend of the Allen brothers who volunteered for the gig.
“I’ve known them for years,” says Miclon, “and honestly, I wasn’t surprised at all when they asked me if I wanted to dance the streets in a hazmat costume.”
Although he’s quite the dancer, as evidenced by the video, Miclon might normally have been apprehensive about such public exposure. It turns out that the theme of the video contributed to this.
“Having the anonymity of the gas mask certainly helped ease any anxiety about dancing in public,” he says, “but it was still a very weird and hilarious few days on set. was particularly fun – I got lots of smiles and honks from passers-by I generally think anyone who got a glimpse of what I was doing got the gist of the idea behind the video; to find the joy and pleasure even in difficult circumstances, and the collective cathartic release that people crave after so long in quarantine.
Near the end of the video, Miclon gets rid of the hazmat suit and goes for a run along the sidewalk. The final scene shows him leaping into the air in celebration. It was mostly a genuine reaction.
“Honestly,” says Miclon, “I was surprised how good it was to go out and dance and be goofy, and I love how the video came out.”
The video also features snippets of the band performing in what appears to be an actual nightclub. It’s not. It was actually shot in a barn.
“We made it our own makeshift nightclub,” says Jedidiah Allens.
The song itself heavily features the trumpet work of professional musician and music teacher Stephen Pickard.
Formed in 2008 in Buckfield, Skösh has played extensively across the state and New England over the past 12 years. The band, comprising the Allen brothers as well as bandmates Peter Richard and Jake Van Paepeghem, shared billing with bands such as The Charlie Daniels Band, Randy Houser and Twiddle.
The “Circle Electric” video was released on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, it had been viewed more than 3,000 times and shared by 68 people. The video quickly established an audience and on Facebook it included many comments from people who have their own fond and fuzzy memories of the Turner club.
“To like!” a woman wrote. “Anyone 45 or older would remember the incredible times everyone had at Circle Electric. All of you young people should ask your parents.
“We’re just blown away by how many people are excited about this,” says Jedidiah. “You know, that means a lot.”
Photo: Monthly overview of the construction site of the new ELHS school