It was both a sad and happy occasion at the Bayou Thursday night. Sad because the Skip Castro Band, the Charlottesville rock 'n' boogie quartet, was playing its last Washington date before it breaks up at the end of February after more than a decade together. And happy because the band delivered a typically contagious show that had the packed house cheering and dancing.

The band is breaking up because its four members find themselves pursuing different musical directions and because they never landed a major label contract. Over the years, though, the versatile group has never failed the primary obligation of any rock band: to keep a live audience entertained and dancing. Thursday night was no exception, as they mixed rhythm and blues standards with comparable originals and virtuoso playing with vaudevillian antics.

Dan Beirne accompanied his wild vocals on "I Wanna Know" with delightfully uninhibited clowning. Bassist Charlie Pastorfield belted out the band's motto song "I Just Felt Like Going to a Party Tonight" with authority. Bo Ranball capped his own song "You Gotta Admit" with a spirited blues solo. Rico Antonelli kept the dance floor pulsing with his physical drumming.

The Skip Castro Band bids farewell to Northern Virginia tomorrow at the Tysons Corner Holiday Inn. Its final engagement will be Feb. 26-27 at Trax in Charlottesville.