Saturday, November 24, 1979. Micheal Ray Richardson stepped off the Madison Square Garden floor and into his loudest polyester ensemble. His eight points that night in a blowout win for the New York Knicks against the Cleveland Cavaliers were well in the rear view mirror by the time he hit the entrance of Studio 54.
Steve Rubell, co-owner and soon-to-be felon, met Micheal Ray at the door with a huge hug. Steve met everyone at the door. Studio 54's gatekeeper could never deny Micheal Ray entry. Richardson burst into the room with his arms raised to the roof and a huge grin on his face. He was home.
If Richardson had disappeared on the court earlier that night, he couldn't hide on the Studio 54 dance floor. Nor did he want to. Micheal Ray waded his way towards the stage slowly, being sure to be seen and then greet all he passed.
Eventually, he reached the footlights and reached out for Leo Vondracek. The lead singer for The Golden Bubbles traded an elaborate handshake with Micheal Ray while keeping the bass line moving on his guitar during "Above the Rim", the single off their new disco album, SEVENTY-TWO. Brother Christopher Vondracek gave him the double pistols while staying seated at the piano.
Micheal Ray Richardson dove back into the crowd for a wild night almost no one would remember the next morning. The Golden Bubbles kept the crowd gyrating to their latest album, a rumination on the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humpries marriage that lasted 72 days that has little to do with the facts and mostly focused on keeping the party rocketing fo...
... wait, what?
Okay, so The Golden Bubbles aren't a disco band from the late 70s. Instead, they're a 2012 pop disco sensation from Minneapolis with the soundtrack of NBA's opening night. You can close your eyes while listening to the waka-chicka of SEVENTY-TWO's "Above the Rim" and imagine Dr. J scooping a layup behind the backboard or Twiggy dragging you to the dance floor while Ryan O'Neal gives you the thumbs-up from the bar.
In fact, much of the music on this album is basketball-adjacent, told from Kris' POV. (Sample lyric: "I'm not who they say I am; I'm just a boy above the rim.") But honestly, if you're listening to disco for the lyrics ...
Everything to love about disco can be found in this impressionistic telling of the Kim'n'Kris crisis. Jangly piano, sweeping strings, R&B cool, irresistible melodies, and a straightforward disco dance song ("It's Your Night") guaranteed to get your finger pointing at the air and ground repeatedly.
So slide the volume down on your television tonight and crank up The Golden Bubbles on Bandcamp to recapture a time when the dress code was "No jive turkeys" and David Stern's mustache was still a baby caterpillar unknown to the L. This season was already guaranteed to start better than the last one, but that's no reason not to tip the scale in your favor with SEVENTY-TWO.