essential loud beat spirit

The annual Kansas City Spirit Festival returned in June of 2002, and for the first time hosting an Electronic Music Showcase, coordinated by Subsonic Sound & POD Productions. It was a huge success showcasing only the very best local talent from a wide array of other krewes like Nightbreed, Good Times Records, Techno Justice League, SpaceTribe, and the Simply Soul Syndicate.  I only made it out for one day, but it was an afternoon and evening to be remembered.  The tent attracted folks from all parts; likely because it was the only venue on the grounds that anyone was dancing and having such a great time.  It was also right near one of the entrances to the festival, so it was kind of hard to miss. If you did, you were deaf and blind.  A small follow-up after-party on the second night held at The Empire Room, hosted much of the same talent, and was just as much fun.

That was really the only significant event in Kansas City that month though, as the party seemed to divert to Lawrence, in spite of the fact that school was over for most.

The following weekend Organic Mind Control Productions (OMCP) and Project Groove kicked off a new set of nights that would draw folks from all over the region to The Pool Hall in Lawrence, Kansas.  I had not really bothered to run out that way much.  There were a few exceptions for nights at the Granada, and the White School House.  Running out with a friend to help setup, I discovered the wonderful world of Q-Burns Abstract Message who brought a solid night of House music to Kansas City under the event banner of "Play It Loud," with support from DJs Jason Kidd, Konsept, and Flotilla.

That event was only a warm-up though, for an event down the street the following night.  Destroy All Robots at The White School House featured Jazz and Hip-Hop Fusion pioneers the Jungle Brothers, who turned the place inside out, with additional support from out-of-towners Rekstad, Elliot, and Bodaleg, along with a wide array of locally recognized super stars.  An all-nighter culminating in breakfast with the few that survived the entire route, this was one of very few events that nearly brought the venue to its knees.  Every room was packed, and everyone having a good time.

The next weekend, I made a quick follow-up at a couple of events.  Project Groove out in Lawrence at "Mad Love and Respect" for the birthday / going away party of a new found friend. While the event did not showcase any more than local talent, it was no less full of energy and folks dancing.  Back in Kansas City the next night, I found myself at yet another ATM House Party / Pool Party.  There really was no pool, unless you count the kiddie pool on the front walk, but it was a good time either way.

The next couple of weekends found me in New York on other business, but I did stumble across a few things, and a couple of folks treated me to some interesting late night sights.  The first night out, my cousin treated me to a few random places before dragging me off to the desolate Meat Packing District.  He wanted to show me a little dive biker bar called Hogs and Heifers Saloon, hinting that it was the true original inspiration for the movie Coyote Ugly.  After some good food at a little place called Vynl, we wander through an area of abandoned warehouses, until the light from the bar appeared in front of us, and we were attracted to it like moths.  Inside, exactly what you would musically expect of a biker bar, but what got your attention was the giant shark on the wall, holding up what appeared to be thousands of women's bras.  I would later find out that there was some incentive for women to remove their bra and leave it for the shark; although, the reason for doing so escapes me at this time.  It proved to be a night of hilarity, with your regular every-day working class professional women drunk dancing on the bar, and at times tactfully removing their bra for donation.   As I said, I don't remember the whole routine, or the reasons, but a packed house and cheap $1 PBRs ensured everyone was in tune.

Essential Wave at a fun little club called Bounce.  It was very similar to many of the weekly events that I had been to in Kansas City.  There were a lot of regular folks that all knew each other; in contrast, they turned out to be extremely welcoming.  I am not sure if that was because they knew I was coming out with a camera or just the nature of their culture (most were Russian / Eastern European).  Regardless, we had a wild cab ride down, for a wild time there, and an equally wild cab ride back sometime around 3 am.  Just another typical night in New York.
othing in New York quite matched that place in character, but it was not for lack of trying to find comparisons.  Among some of the other places we visited were Bellevue, Pioneer Bar, and Remote Lounge.  We did come close one night though.  On invitation form a colleague with S.O. Unit, myself and a few others made our way over to Brooklyn to check out his weekly event,

Returning to Kansas City, I was nearly immediately kidnapped and taken to St Louis by DJ Synnister, to witness Beat the Drums II.  He and KC locals Phelyne and Paul Wicked were part of the warm up for the legendary Dieselboy and MC J - Messinian.  They were roaming the countryside for the Planet of the Drums Tour; a fantastic show that I was very happy that he had encouraged me to come out for.  It is very likely that Aggie's on Broadway never saw so many kids, and very likely never will again.  A thousand or more turned out to hear Drum and Bass played the way only Dieselboy can;  indeed, due to the number of people in attendance, my camera angles were limited that night, forcing me into the rigging above and to the sides of the stage on a few occasions.  Coupled with a little bit of jet lag, it turned out to be yet another intense all-nighter I cannot remember where, or if we really slept.

We made it out alive though, for one last stop in the St Louis area, and the last even for the month of June 2002.  Out in St Charles, DJ Synnister had been invited to come play for a little while at the Party in the Park in St Charles.  It was for a graduation or some such thing; again, memory is failing on certain specifics.  It was a good relaxing afternoon meeting up with some folks from the night before, chilling at the park, and listening in on a few beats before making that long drive home to KC.


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