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Idaho Life: Disco's not dead, it's just gone silent

Take a 360-degree look inside Boise's growing silent disco scene. Maybe you've heard of it. Then again, maybe you haven't.

BOISE, Idaho — Parked in the middle of the west wing of the JUMP building in downtown Boise, three levels up, a pop-up party wrapped in plastic takes Saturday Night Fever to a whole 'nother level.

You get the groove as soon as you walk in and wade into a crowd of colored headsets each of them moving to the beat of their own drummer, almost literally.

"It's something not a lot of people have experienced before, that's for sure," says Kody Kirby, owner of Kaleidisco, the Boise-based company he started three years ago.

It's kind of a weird ordeal: You walk through and you see a lot of heads bobbing and hips shaking and you wonder exactly what this is. They call it a silent disco and it's only silent until you put on headphones.

Kind of like the apprehensive people who put on the headphones for the first time, silent disco started slowly as an underground sensation.

But like the conga line that ends up moving through the crowd, it's been gaining ground in the mainstream for more than a decade.

There's no sound system to set up and there's no noise ordinance violation to shorten the soiree.

You can get a fully-immersed version of this story on our YouTube channel. The experience is best viewed on the YouTube app, and even better with VR goggles.

So it's relatively easy to do and mostly hushed. Mostly. Other than sing-alongs that break out and an occasional whoop and holler, without the headsets it's quiet enough you can hear Effy K, the DJ, tapping on the turntable. She is in charge of playing music on the headphones' red channel. To her right is Rhythmic Friction, the other DJ in charge of the blue channel.

The headsets can carry up to three channels of music making it a kind of a competition for DJ recognition.

"As a DJ myself, if I don't see somebody on my channel, it's like, 'Oh no,'" explains Kody. "So I quickly pick through and pick a song that everybody's gonna love to get everybody back on my channel."

Kody says while silent disco may be "new wave" for some you still see rave regulars break out, like the dance circle.

This is what happens when you bring headsets of house music to a downtown parking garage.

"You can see different types of people enjoying it, different age groups, young kids, grandparents, moms and dads," Kody says. "You know, we play all sorts of different types of music so we make sure we cater to all of them."

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