The high school prom has evolved in form and function over its 120-year history. Initially reserved for college seniors, symbolizing their ascension to adulthood, the ritual moved to the high school realm in the 1890s. These became formal events, with people wearing their Sunday best to celebrate reaching the graduation milestone.
The junior prom was added, the dances became more elaborate, prom kings and queens were introduced, and in the modern era, “promposals” became viral on social media. The consistent theme is a good time, music to dance to, and a night to make memories.
You might think that opportunity ends when you’re all grown up and out of high school. It’s not. And who else to deliver it than Savannah favorite Nordista Freeze?
The Nashville indie rocker has been through the Hostess City several times in the last five years and considers the city a second home. He’s been running Space Prom in his town since 2018, and despite missing one for obvious reasons, it has grown every year.
Freeze explains the history of Space Prom…
“Okay, so back in 2018, I was doing a lot of different things. I mean I was completely myself, and in Nashville, it’s extremely competitive. There's an oversaturation of music and culture, and from my perspective, if you're going to have people attend a show in Nashville, you really have to step it up and make it more than just a show,” Freeze said.
“I thought of how I could throw an event with visual artists and a theme, and I did a couple of them, but I thought up Space Prom and the idea of dressing up and going to prom and reclaim it and make it fun for everybody in a retro-futuristic way with music of the past eras. I had eight different bands cover different dance or prom music from the 30s to the 90s.”
The big idea came to fruition in the humblest of locations.
“Yeah, it was at a Chinese buffet called Lucky Bamboo with an old wooden, gymnasium-type dance hall thing in the back. And you know, I just went there one day and wrote down a date on a piece of paper. They said, ‘you're good.’ [We] had no idea what would happen, and over 500 people showed up. It was beyond capacity. They were so overjoyed they created a makeshift buffet where people could get food for cheap, and everybody was just dressed to the tens, and I couldn't believe it. This was a total anomaly and it got everyone's attention.”
That it did, and the event continued to evolve. The following years saw Space Prom move to larger Nashville venues including Mercy Lounge with a 500-person capacity. Year three was at Basement East (650) and year four was Cannery Ballroom (1000). Now, it is held at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, a modern two-level 1200-person capacity venue. Every iteration of Space Prom has sold out.
Musically, the show has become more focused on Nordista Freeze and his band playing covers, with frequent special guests, focusing on disco and dance music from the 70s to the 90s, but without limitations. The first foray out of Nashville has been plotted for some time, and when the time arrived to take the show on the road, Kyle Brown of Dog Days Presents and Savannah were easy decisions.
“We've talked about taking on the road for years. And you know, I think that’s part of what makes it special, the secret sauce, is that it's us and what we do and the songs we choose. We don't just pick the top 40 songs of 1986 or something, you know, we have songs that people know and some that people don't know. I'm up there doing Bad Manners or some stuff that I genuinely enjoy we're pushing, and so in a lot of ways we try to create a culture with it that is very true to who we are and the energy that we believe in,” Freeze explains.
That vibe carries over to the promotion of Space Prom. Freeze and Brown have a history that goes back to September 2019 when a persistent Freeze convinced Brown, who was booking for El Rocko Lounge at the time, that he’d be okay playing a Monday night show. To call it sparsely attended would be kind. But the payoff, an opening gig at The Jinx during Savannah Stopover, was the polar opposite. The joint was packed, almost surely over legal capacity, and the crowd went berserk. “After that Monday night, I gave Freeze a good show. It was the last Saturday of the Stopover festival and the last Saturday before the pandemic. It was pretty notable. Ever since that show, people know who he is. He really made a statement that night. That’s when he arrived,” Brown said.
He’s played several packed shows in town since at Victory North, District Live and El Rocko, drawing large, enthusiastic crowds. During that time, Space Prom grew and gained attention outside of Nashville.
“I don’t know if they expected Space Prom to blow up, but the rooms got bigger, the shows got more insane, and the guest list got better. I’d talk to people, and they all knew what Space Prom is,” Brown added.
Given Nordista Freeze’s popularity in Savannah and his reputation for putting on a killer show, that bit of knowledge is set to explode come January.
Presented by Nordista Freeze and Dog Days Presents
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024
Doors @ 6:30 PM | Show @ 8 PM