Thursday, April 02, 2015

420 dance olympics

There was nothing particularly remarkable or super exciting about April 2002; that is, unless you count the events that escalated in excitement and caliber of talent.  Most of the events were centered around the 20th of April, creating a bit of an Olympics of Underground Dance Music during several back-to-back-to-back days in Kansas City.  It all started fantastically with with a CD release party for local DJ Booth at what was by now the standard for underground dance music, Club Evo's. The event turned out well, with nearly all of the notable local DJs showing their support, and just as many or more, dancing.

A few days later, one of two fantastic events hosted by DeepFix Records, that month turned out even more.  The second in the Designer History series featured two huge names in counterbalance with one another.  The entire night was crazy, with the main stage held up starting with local sounds from DJs Danny Ward and Joe K, before being taken over by Deep House sensation Tim Shumaker from Chicago.  Tim kept the groove moving along solid until my personal favorite, Techno giant Gaetano Parisio from Naples, Italy took the stage to roll out the rest of the night.   An additional room featured local up and coming Drum and Bass talent, Sara Lee, Ben Fuller, cQuence, and Krillin, along with Traci Dub, just in from Warrensburg.  Folks everywhere where dancing hard, sweaty and with an intensity rarely noted elsewhere in the city; a fine night indeed.

There was a brief intermission that lasted a couple of weeks, where there really was not much going on.  It was as if everyone was reserving their energy for the coming marathon.  In the realm of locally-produced underground dance music events in April 2002, Designer History 2 was only rivaled by another event produced by the same group, Soul Glow.  While the main talent was not quite of the stature of Gaetano Parisio, it was no less explosive, and to top things off, it was held on 4/20.  Joshua (IZ), one of the originators of the San Francisco underground sound whipped the El Torreon into a frenzy that night, after the likes of Brett Johnson and Demarkus Lewis from Dallas, along with relative newcomer Mark Shade, from Tucson.  A second room featured a different flavor that had been missing in many of my travels thus far; a set of broken beats from locals Soda, mdm, Ben Fuller, cQuence, and edw!n.  It was an awesome, dance-filled night, that nobody wanted to leave.

The date 4/20 spawned other events too. The night before Soul Glow saw a return to what I will likely continue to refer to simply as the ATM; not because of cost or anything like that, but it is shorthand, and the host will easily recognize it.  This was the second in a line of what would be rather infamous house parties, and the photos were quite a lot of fun, and I got chance to meet a few more new DJ faces, like Synnister and then NastyNate; later Frooky.  The day after that house party, but before Soul Glow, was another odd little even known as the 420 Olympics.  It is probably best to leave the line-up of activities for that particular show to the imagination.  There were a few photos, which are now relegated to the "randomness" album.

Two days after 4/20, Kansas City witnessed a massive event never seen before, and not since.  DJs Sasha and Digweed arrived for the Delta Heavy Tour.  The site was still not known enough to gain press access for this event, but we were definitely in attendance that night, and witness to and part of a dancing throng of nearly 2,000.  I had never seen that many folks in Kansas City dancing all at the same time, and it really was quite an experience.  There are only a couple of photos from out front that are stuffed in the "randomness" album too; there is also an amusing screen shot from the Uptown web site, announcing the event and performers as "Sasha and Bigweed."  You can find that in the "artifacts & oddities" album.

The remainder of the month was not quite as intense, but no less fun.  We returned to Club Evos a couple of more times; once to celebrate a birthday for local DJ Malcolm816.  That was a night utter drunken silliness.  There was also a return to the regular old Monday night full of cheap drinks and good music, which again, had become The Standard for Local Underground Sounds in Kansas City, at Club Evos; the quaint dirty little hole on the corner of James & Central we all loved so well.

Visit Google+ to see the newly restored albums from these events in April 2002.  There is a direct link to the albums view under the collections tab above also. You will need to be in our circles to see private events (such as the previously mentioned ATM), but most are publicly available.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

facing the lens

The photo experience had begun to change, as folks turned towards the camera.  I noticed this, just after returning from Mardi Gras, and it became even more apparent during the month of March.    They smiled. They posed.  They put on a show.  I had started off looking for a more of a fly-on-wall view of an event, but this added a new, more personal dimension to the story line.

March 2002 started off with several hundred descending upon the the El Torreon ballroom and danced the night away to the DeepFix production, Designer History.   It was quite a show, with Mateo Murphy from Montreal and Lance DeSardi, out of LA headlining, with backup from St Louis' Don Tinsley and local Kansas City house legend Pat Nice.  A Drum & Bass room rounded out the selection for the night, hosting Mr. Solve out of Springfield, and locals Ben Fuller, edw!n, Krillin and James Bond.

The following Monday, along with a others throughout the month, found me back down at Evo's,  It was quickly becoming the spot for local underground dance sounds.  Mondays were fun, laid back, and full of appreciation for local talent.  At a couple of other shows on Friday or Saturday, the place was completely off the chain.

Detroit legend DJ Assault stormed the Club with his own particular brand of Ghetto-Teck aka Booty House, just before St Patrick's Day, and Chicago favorite Mark Almaria made it down to play for the birthday of a close friend. Unfortunately, the later was disrupted by Kansas City's finest.  I don't recall exactly what that was all about.  After poking, dodging a few dancers, and adding to the flashing light display within the club they picked up the door receipts and left.  Puzzling that they would think they were entitled to the door cash, having not contributed to the effort of running the event.

The final show of the month at Evo's was of an entirely different sort, but somewhat the same.  I was invited to come and photograph Euphoria 3, but was warned that it was primarily an Asian crowd.  Was that supposed to make a difference?  It didn't seem to.  I am not sure what that difference would be anyway.  A couple of guys I had heard before, were playing; from New Orleans, DJ Goof, Johnny 5, Special K & Burnz.  The remainder of the line-up was local talent.  It turned out to be quite an intense show, with a packed house that seemed to appear all at once, dancing hard until the last beat.  The photos returned to their essence briefly, with very few posed shots and lots of partying shots.

In between these shows, a random variety of angles around town too.  At the start of the month, I stopped in at the Longbranch Steakhouse to take a few photographs of their Mortgage Burning Party, and chilled a bit to some live Jazz at 12 Baltimore.  St. Patrick's Day arrived, and I started at the north end of Grand Avenue and walked south, opposite the flow of the parade route during the Kansas City St Patrick's Day Parade.  It was a fantastic time, but quite a walk. Later on in the month, we toured an out of town friend around the music and cocktails available on a Thursday night at Jilly's on Broadway and the Aqua Lounge in MidTown.

Visit Google+ to see the newly restored albums from these events in March 2002.  There is a direct link to the albums view under the collections tab above also. You will need to be in our circles to see some of them, but most are publicly available.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

february mardi gras

Sorting the photos from February of 2002 reminds me that I may not always be able to write quite so much about every single month worth of photos; there are 246 for Mardi Gras 2002, alone.  As time passed, numerous events took that form, portraying a story of sorts.

There were only two other events that I covered in this month though.  The first was a little party at Oldham, the place that would later morph into KC's most dance-music influential nightclub, Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub.  That's a whole other story on the horizon though.  On this night particular night it was just a newly renovated and opened restaurant space, with local Steve Thorell dishing out House Music from a folding table to a small group of friends in the basement.  The only other event outside of Mardi Gras would be later in the month, when we returned from Mardi Gras just in time for a birthday celebration for local DJ D.Day down at Club Evo's.

Mardi Gras was the event photo story for the month though, and we arrived in New Orleans, just in time to meet up with friends at the Endymion Parade, led by Grand Marshall Jason Alexander.  We took a stroll through the Quarter afterwards, to see what we could see.  It was still a few days before Mardi Gras, but the party was starting to form.  Some girls from Playboy, one of which appeared to be Pamela Anderson, were putting on an early show.  Down the street further, some local were doing the same.  Everything was as expected.

Lundi Gras was pretty laid back.  We really didn't go into the Quarter for much, except to drop off some equipment at Checkpoint for the Creaters of Habit gig that night.  Our close friend was playing a gig with his old krewe, and it was to bleed into the early hours of Mardi Gras morning. We didn't get involved with that after the gig, but did peak around the corner into the Marigny for a moment, catching a little percussion improve and meeting random people needing a light.

The next morning we skipped most of the parades.  Instead, we roamed relatively open streets that would later collapse under the weight of the massive night time population.  We avoided even that. during the night on this trip.  We focused on meeting various people and capturing some of the random uniqueness that wandered about and had a blast.

Without doubt, the adventure ended back in the Marigny.  It is our favorite spot on Mardi Gras night, either on the street or at Cafe Brasil.  We even took a little video snapshot of it. There is no better place, except maybe a moment to chill at the Dragon's Den.  .

The albums for February 2002 are available again through our Google+ page. Public and club events will be public; the "parties" will not.  You will need to be in our VIP circle to access those, or know somebody that is.  The private House Party photos are strictly VIP.