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Stamford Comes Alive With Disco Sounds Of KC And The Sunshine Band

KC and the Sunshine Band takes the stage at Alive@Five in Stamford on Thursday evening. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
KC and the Sunshine Band, with KC between the dancers, performs at Alive@Five on Thursday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Debbie Pikula, 43, with her daughter, Emily, who is 2 1/2. The Mahopac, N.Y., resident was at the KC and the Sunshine Band concert Thursday. She said she enjoyed the night out but was the designated driver for her friends. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- As hundreds of people, including two carloads of her friends, boogied to the music of KC and the Sunshine Band at the opening concert of Stamford's Alive@Five series, Debbie Pikula was way in the back minding her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Emily.

"I'm not having a good time, but my friends are," the Mahopac, N.Y., resident deadpanned. She was the designated driver for one carload of the two-car convoy of friends who drove to see KC and the Sunshine Band on Thursday evening. She said say she enjoyed the night out because, as a parent with a young child, it's a rare occurrence.

Although she knows some of KC and the Sunshine Band songs, Pikula wasn't that familiar with the band. Her favorite music is a cluster of 1980s big hair head-banging rockers.

"I like the '80's. I like Mötley Crüe, KISS, Def Leppard, Dokken, White Snake, music like that," she said.

The passage of time was also remarked on by KC, also known as Harry Wayne Casey, during a break after the band burst on to the stage and performed a couple of hits.

"I'm 63," he said to his crowd. "What the hell happened?"

The band was a chart-topping supergroup in the late 1970s with hit after hit beginning with "Get Down Tonight" in 1975, followed a year later by "I'm Your Boogie Man" and "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty."

For the younger members of the audience, he compared himself to a popular boy band of the late 1990s.

"I was you mother's 'N SYNC. Take a good look at me, this is what Justin Timberlake is going to look like in 40 years," he said to laughs from the crowd about his now somewhat portly version of the lean figure who burst on to the music scene four decades ago.

Even before its mainstream success in 1975, the band had been popular on the R&B charts around the world.

But New Wave music killed the disco music scene and KC and the Sunshine Band faded from prominence. However, musical nostalgia and the infectiousness of the band's music means it still has a ready audience as it tours.

The Alive@Five series continues next Thursday with Bare Naked Ladies. On July 24, the Under the Sun tour with Blues Traveler, Smash Mouth and Sugar takes the stage. Ed Kowalczyk, former lead singer of LIVE, performs July 31, while Jake Miller stars Aug. 7. The Beach Boys wrap up the series on Aug. 14.

For outdoor concert fans, B.B. King performs next Wednesday in the Jazz Up July concert series, with Delbert McClinton headlining on July 23 and Boz Scaggs hitting the stage on July 30.

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