TURNER – The video opens with a man in a hazmat suit casually dancing on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.
He holds an old boom box radio in one arm as he twirls disco-style along the sidewalk past the pawnshop, drawing the puzzled glances of locals.
It’s a wacky and funny image, and that’s exactly what the Skösh band had in mind when they shot the music 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 Electrik,” after all, and it’s a tribute to the eclectic genre of fun that was once at a club of the same name in Turner.
Not that the band members remember the place – ever since the Circle Electrik had its heyday in the 1980s, they’re too young for that.
Skosh’s drummer Jedidiah Allen explains.
“We had always kind of sidelined Circle Electric as a theme that we wanted to use for a track,” he says. “And it was born out of our parents, aunts and uncles and just about anyone in our area in general over the age of 45 who had fond memories of The Circle. We have always heard of this kind of magical place. If there was a crazy story based on a party or event, it was usually 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 neighborhood. The club closed in the 1990s and burned down in April 1997.
Locals remember it as a hip place, with lighted dance platforms, aquariums on one wall, an old Chevrolet 56 on another. Parties at the club, they say, would last until sunrise.
The song “Circle Electric” has a certain disco vibe, which Allen says fits perfectly into the theme of the club it honors.
“’Circle Electric’ as the title,” Allen says, “uses it as a kind of state of mind. It is an embodiment of moments of pleasure.
Like every other group in the region, Skosh suffered a bit of boredom during the COVID lockdowns. Unable to play live, they turned to writing. While working on the new single, a few themes came to my mind.
“We kind of marry the feeling people had for The Circle with what many of us felt during the pandemic – that nostalgia for the good old days; to just want to go out and dance and have that release, ”Allen says.
Then came the video, produced by Jedidiah and his brother and bandmate Eli Allen, and which was conceptualized, shot and edited by the band.
In order for the acting talent to be showcased in the video, the group asked friends for favors. Jedidiah’s boss from marketing group PatraCompany even helped shoot the video, and that’s where the fun really started.
After running along the sidewalk past the Lewiston pawnshop, our friend in a hazmat suit is next seen dancing in an alleyway. Shortly after, he was break dancing with a band in a park, then grooving, hopping and swinging his arms across the Longley Bridge between Lewiston and Auburn.
Who is this brave soul in protective gear giving such a performance in broad daylight?
It was Collin Miclon, a high school friend of the Allen Brothers who volunteered for the concert.
“I’ve known them for years,” says Miclon, “and honestly, I wasn’t so taken aback when they asked me if I wanted to dance the streets in a hazmat suit. “
Despite being quite the dancer, as evidenced by the video, Miclon normally could have feared such public exposure. As it turns out, the theme of the video helped with that.
“Having the anonymity of the gas mask certainly helped ease any anxiety about dancing in public,” he says, “but it was a very weird and hilarious few days of shooting nonetheless. The photo of the bridge was especially funny – I got lots of smiles and honks from passers-by. I think in general anyone who caught a glimpse of what I was doing got the gist of the idea behind the video; to find joy and pleasure even in difficult circumstances, and the collective cathartic release that people hunger for after so long in quarantine. “
Towards the end of the video, Miclon takes off his hazmat suit and runs along the sidewalk. The final scene shows him leaping into the air to celebrate. It was mostly a genuine reaction.
“Honestly,” Miclon says, “I was surprised at how good it was to go out and dance and be awkward, and I love the way the video came out.”
The video also features clips 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,” explains Jedidiah Allens.
The song itself heavily features the trumpet work of professional musician and music teacher Stephen Pickard.
Formed in 2008 at Buckfield, Skösh has performed extensively across the state and New England over the past 12 years. The group, comprising the Allen brothers as well as their comrades Peter Richard and Jake Van Paepeghem, shared the billing with groups such as The Charlie Daniels Band, Randy Houser and Twiddle.
The video for “Circle Electric” was released on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, it had been viewed more than 3,000 times and shared by 68 people. The video quickly gained followers and on Facebook it included plenty of comments from people who have their own fond and fuzzy memories of the Turner Club.
“To like!” a woman wrote. “Anyone 45 years of age or older will remember the amazing times everyone has 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,” Jedidiah says. “You know, that means a lot. “
Photo: Monthly overview of the construction site of the new ELHS school