Calling all ABBA fans and Mamma Mia enthusiasts—this one’s for you. Gone are the days of singing “Dancing Queen” into your hairbrush as you get ready for yet another Friday night of parties. For one night only, you can channel your inner dancing queen or king and bask in 1970s glamour—Parisian nightsuits optional. 

On Friday, November 30, The Dolphin Tavern is hosting the throwback event of the season, the ABBArama, which is exactly what it sounds like. Billed as a night full of cheesy, zeitgeist–y seventies’ stereotypes, like disco balls and hustling, the ABBArama mixes your favorite oldies with the feel–good sounds of everyone’s favorite Swedish rock crossover band. In other words, expect to hear “Super Trouper” on repeat and a heavy dosage of the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind and Fire, and see lots of sequins. 

In case you aren’t well versed in your 1970s disco–rock bands, ABBA is more than the muse behind the Mamma Mia musical franchise. They are the second best selling European act of all time, topped only by the Beatles. Bursting on the scene over forty years ago, in a music industry virtually untouched by genre–bending acts, ABBA is a Swedish quartet consisting of two married couples with an affinity for the Beach Boys and the Beatles. ABBA aimed to create upbeat grooves pulsating with a hidden “depth and deep sadness,” at least according to the premiere ABBA biographer Carl Magnus Palm. In other words, ABBA creates bangers with meaning, or to quote my mom, “kinda sad rock music for people who wanted to dance.” 

Photo courtesy of The Dolphin Tavern


This notion—that sadness can be disguised as joy with the help of a little synth and some background singers—permeates pop music today. Just look at the artists currently dominating the indie music genre, or the success of music producer and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff, who built his Taylor Swift–and–Lorde–encompassing empire on making songs “that would be played at weddings for the next hundred years but would secretly be about...not [understanding] the rest of the world.” 

Nearly every song in any indie pop playlist, ranging from The 1975’s “The Sound” to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Store,” disguises the singe of loss and uncertainty with a catchy beat. These acts are the modern day ABBA. ABBA made acknowledging your fears and insecurities something to celebrate and somehow enjoy. They popularized sonic self–exploration. Plainly put, ABBA made sadness happy, and in a roundabout way, super fucking cool.

But enough of this music history lesson. Tracks at the ABBArama will be spun by famed Philly DJ David Atlas. Atlas, renowned for his preference of classics, mixes only on vinyl. That’s right — Atlas operates like a DJ right out of Netflix’s The Get Down. He allegedly lugs 200 records with him to each gig, aiming to seamlessly blend and beat match throughout his lengthy sets. So expect ABBArama to feel like an authentic disco, thanks to Atlas’s world class mixing and love of classic wax records. Each song will sound exactly as it did when it hit record stores, transporting you back nights where “Staying Alive” closed out every party, not “Mo Bamba.” 

The ABBArama is the perfect night cap to the semester, allowing you to blow off steam before finals. It’s a space where you can feel all the feelings, ranging from pre–exam anxieties to unadulterated joy. So grab your closest friends, dress like an extra on That 70s Show, and dance like you are, in fact, the dancing queen. 

The ABBArama 

Location: The Dolphin Tavern | 1539 Broad St.

Time: Nov. 30, 10 p.m.–2 a.m.

Price: $5 at the door 

Special Details: 70s dress encouraged


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