Eventually, I talked with DJ FitzRoger, the host of the main room. He thought the concept photo project I was looking to do was a fantastic idea, and welcomed me to come talk a bit more about in person, and take a few shots.
"The date that will live in infamy" arrived as any typical December 7 in Kansas City, and bombs were about to be dropped, in the form of 5 core years of covering nearly every underground music event in Kansas City, and a bunch beyond. There was nothing particular special or unique about it. Actually, thinking about to that, the streets did seem to be a bit more deserted than usual, but that may have had more to do with the location of this first event photographed, "Stylus Friday."
Parking and heading towards the door, I was mildly amused to see a couple of hookers come slinking out of the shadows. Noticing that I was not really out shopping for the evening, they shrank back to whatever activities they had previously been engaged. Visiting on other occasions, I found they were not the only wild life lurking about either.
The back room was where it was at the though. Hosted by local record company, DeepFix Records, it promised you wouldn't "hear house like this anywhere else." I had though, in Boston, New York, New Orleans, and Chicago; however, I had not heard it like this, by these DJs. Like any other musician trying to make it in Kansas City, there is a special level of determination that seems to always make it in to their music. This was no different. They played with a simple and determined passion, bordering on obsession at times. They were talented, and they were serious, creating art and moving people, with a swipe of their hand, and a flick of their wrist. The dancers were equally as serious, but also playful, about interpreting the beats dropped on them.
The same determination likely caused me to return for Stylus Friday a couple of times that December, snapping a few shots here and there. I also encountered a similar event held at the same spot on Mondays. Hosted by EchoBass, it was restricted to the front room. The music was great. The DJs playing this brought a different look and feel to House music in Kansas City. It was a bit less serious, and a little more diverse, including some Latin and Progressive sounds in its mix. With its cheap drinks and good dance music, Evos would be the place to be for underground sounds, and space to dance.
It was just a few days before Christmas that the real discovery was made though. The flyer caught my attention immediately, having hear Rowland the Bastard on an internet broadcast. I think it was Groove Radio. There were not too many at the time; perhaps, only 10 or so good ones really. Sher and I decided to make the journey to Lawrence and check out Christmas Massacre. The date and time were perfect, and knowing a few of the locals listed, we had a general idea of what to expect musically. It stopped there.
We arrived relatively early to catch some of locals we had seen at various times at Evos, and had great seats to the unfolding of a rave. There really wasn't but about 20 or so folks there at first, but this did not deter the DJs at all. Serving up the beats, the kids continued to come, almost in a constant flow of colorr, fluff, candy, and extra lighting, as needed. There was to be a school girl costume contest of some sort, providing eye candy for all the college guys lucky enough to discover the right party in Lawrence that night.
The journey turned out much more than that though. Other events would be captured, some to their bitter end, broken up and disbanded; more often than not though, most ended with friends traveling together to the after-party, or home together to sleep away the next day, with dreams of beats and good times to come. The rest of the story will be relayed over the coming months, maybe even year(s), as we continue to post an archive of photography surrounding this journey. These are notes mostly; the story is much too big to tell in words only.