When I entered the filled up bar, my eyes aimed straight towards the stage for the entertainment. Soul Doctors were on at Fitz Ray's, soaring to the energy of their music and the vibes of the audience. It took me a while to get to where my eyes went. I was happily held up by many smiles, hugs, and catching up with friends as I beelined through the room, heart opening up.

It was a warm gathering in the lately freezing climate, which was good for us. In a time when we started to notice ourselves and our friends drifting off to hibernate, it was relieving to have everybody together again. We were all in need of a party.

Funky soul music filled the air. My personal clock was ticking. No time for conversation; needed to get closer. I pulled away from conversations and I danced towards the sound. A small space for a dance floor held 15 people who felt the same itch: get close, let loose, and live in the moment.

The vocalist, Fatima, is a lady who could make all of the women in the room dance. Her neo-soul vocals inspired by Aretha Franklin and Beyonce. She pointed to you and you felt good. Her bright excited eyes showed her thrill to be on the stage entertaining. Even more than that, all of her close friends were there to see it. It was easy to see that this was one of her favorite performances.

Soul flying through the fingertips of the laughing bassist. Fatima bursting with love, singing her favorite songs and the trombonist filling out the harmonies. Drummer bopping his head to his own tasty beat. The keyboardist pulling my ear through the story of the chord changes. Cheers and encouragement came from the audience when a musician pulled off a great solo. Excited, relaxed, chilled out. In this space, you could be yourself, and that was a great thing.

Everybody in a special, light-hearted mood; knowing that the music won’t stop until 2am. Colored lights on the stage accented the scene of people on and in front of it. Not a drowsy eye around. The vibes were contagious and nobody left the bar disappointed. An allure of friendship would not let that happen.