Friday, December 18, 2015

industrial assault trip

It seemed that folks were ready to get out and dance in January 2003.  I am not sure what it was, but the whole month leaned that way.  Maybe the holidays had been particularly good or bad to them.  It didn’t matter in the end, as the kids lost themselves in the music all night long.

Probably the best example of this in January 2003 was a show put on by Phuk Bed Entertainment in cooperation with Suburban Loops, featuring DJ Assault and his own particular brand of “Accelerated Funk.”  Whatever it was, the whole house was grooving.  Everyone had arrived early and were dancing through the supporting cast of locals early on all the way through DJ Sage, Assault, and on through the night.  It was an awesome night that seemed to be made for dancing.

The only other event to come close to Invasion was the Project Groove One-Year Anniversary Party in Lawrence.  Their little celebration featured a 5-hour tag team set with two of the most fantastic turntablist, DeeJay P and Z-Trip.  I have not seen someone go through so many records in one set than I did that night.  Indeed the number of records just one of them went through in 15 minutes was astounding; not many folks that can pull that off well.  These two DJS kept a solid groove, swapping tracks in and out, playing to what the crowd is feeling, and inspiring it as well.  Everyone was dancing.  If you were not dancing, you were dead or in the restroom.

The month had a decided dark twist too, as I covered more events from the Gothic / Industrial side of the world.   It all started at the El Torreon ballroom with a little “Dark Underground Musik” that included a live performance by Imperative Reaction.  I do not recall a lot about the band, and did not know a lot then, but I do remember that it was a good gig.  There was not a particularly large crowd, but those that were there were having a great time.

There were other gigs along those lines throughout the month, as well.   I stopped in on Dark Diva’s night at Bender’s, which was a lot of fun, as well as the regular weekly, Evolution at Davey’s.  Imperative Reaction stayed over to play to small crowd of fans one of those Monday nights; of course, the regular performance art show at the end of the month topped things off.

Spliced in between these events, local talent RJ Bass hosted his own little Birthday Bash at The Empire Room, with Steve Thorell, True and Rob Lee holding down the beats. It was a good night of fun complete with chocolate martinis.  On a whim, I ran up to Omaha to check out a show featuring area local Sydeburnz aka Jack Napier, along with local DJs James Deep and Wizzo, all playing some good tunes to a good crowd.  Later in the month, I also got a chance to have a good night playing out with DJ Synnister and Tony Markham, kicking off the first of their Monday nights at the Westport Garage.

Access to photos from these events is now available through the story archive, which is really the only access point for the photos at this time.  I am closing down the off-site archive, but I am bringing back the “collections” in their larger format.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

the force needs more sleep

Inside the Glenwood Theater
A long time ago, in a theater on the other side of town, I had the opportunity to attend the opening night of a relatively unknown feature film at the Glenwood Theater in Overland Park.  It was the only place in town showing the movie.  Star Wars was an incredible journey through space, time, and fantasy in worlds light years away.

We knew very little about this movie, excepting the hype my uncle had put into describing it.  He insisted we go, guaranteeing we would enjoy every minute of it.  He was right.  Indeed, I sat through the movie nailed to my seat.  The special effects were amazing for the time, and captured the imagination.  In spite of what many say recently about the movie, it did not really introduce anything new or unexpected that most science fiction fans were not already well acquainted with.  It did not inspire me to go out and build a rocket, robot, to become an astronaut, or a coder.  Tom Swift Jr. had already done that; yet another situation introduced by the same Uncle.

The movie brought together two of my favorite subjects, Science Fiction and Revolution, into one amazing story that was completely believable.  I had read quite a bit of both topics by that time and very much perceived the movie an immediate reflection of the continuing struggle throughout the history of humankind, between those greedy for absolute power and total domination of those who simply will not be dominated.  For me, the movie validated that rebellion was not only necessary at times, but often was an imperative in the universe.  It also spoke to another subject lurking in the back of my mind; organized religion, God, and all that moves us.  The Force was as good of a name for all of that as any, and brought everything into perspective without even trying or creating animosity; well, except in the worlds introduced by this saga.

Fast forward to today.  I am not one that is particular interested in seeing sequels, usually do not go see a movie more than once, and do not generally go out of my way to go see an updated movie either.  They are all tend to be seriously lacking, in one way or another, so I was a little hesitant to bother with latest rendition.  Offered the chance to catch this opening act though, I decided since I had been to the first, I might as well go and see what all the fuss is about.

We arrived a couple of hours early to avoid the crowds, which turned out a great idea.  The closer movie time came, the more chaos ensued in the lobby, compounded by folks in costume for the event, and an R2D2 drifting about the lobby.  Later Storm Troopers and the royal family joined the fun, with folks swarming around to get a photo with any or all of the characters.  We had plenty of opportunity for that early on, even though it was only with the R2D2.

The movie was good, but not groundbreaking, and nothing to write home about.  The special effects were equivalent to anything out right now, and not particularly innovative.  The acting was generally good, but the characters lacked any depth at all, excepting those from the first film making extended cameo appearances.  The story was generally disappointing, and nearly plagiarism.  The writers should be ashamed of themselves and George Lucas, embarrassed.  I really expected more than just a re-write of the first movie.  How cheap and unimaginative.  While it was probably inspiring to the younger folks, it generally lacked the depth and purpose of the original feature, and there was a point or two that really did not resonate well.

The character Kylo Ren, son of Han Solo, and grandson of the infamous Darth Vader came off as a whiny little brat that needed a good thrashing.  Although, perhaps that was the intent; or the writers just did not know how to create that perfect villain, or maybe Adam Driver is just a bad actor.  It is hard to know, and only future editions will establish certainty on either point.  The character was not dark, foreboding and oppressive, except in costume; even then, not so much.  It was simply a typical angst riddled adolescent, with no apparent cause for discontent, who murders his father.  Yes, he murders his father. I would say by treacherous and deceitful means, but I think everyone say it coming from the sniveling little pestilence.  He pretends to “see the light,” asks for help, and then stabs his father through the heart.  It did disturb everyone in the audience, likely only because somebody had the audacity to kill Han Solo.  I was only surprised that Disney would seriously go down that path.  Regardless of the morality of the issue, is that really a lesson Disney really wants to embed in the minds of those still forming opinions on the appropriate course of action for their grievances?

As mentioned previously, the story pretty much followed that of the original, with very little variation.  A lonely Skywalker descendant leaves a desert-like planet with a robot on a mission to deliver a message stored in the robot.  They meet other people that help them and are reunited with long lost family.  They learn of a weapon similar to the Death Star, but now planet-sized.  The Rebels blow it up.  Just about the time you thought it was over though, the story whiplashes disjointedly to a sub-story and the discovery of the lost Luke Skywalker.  The End.  The underlying story of revolution?  Marginalized.  It seems that after multiple generations of war, the Rebellion is still a scattered minority with no hope of winning anything more than the occasional battle.  It seems the Force needs a bit more sleep

Although, do not mistake my grievances for dismissal or distaste of the feature.  It was a pretty good adventure movie with a generally good story and relatively good acting.  It was a Disney movie.  If I had never seen any of the Star Wars saga, I might have had a much higher opinion of the situation.   It just failed to meet my expectations and all of the hype surrounding it.  Is anyone else sick of Star Wars merchandising and commercialism yet?

Friday, December 04, 2015

the mongrels ep release party

The Anonymous Poet, Martian Face, Brother Bagman, and Supermassive Black Holes joined up with The Mongrels to celebrate the release of a debut EP by the latter.  Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club has always been the go-to spot for good local Rock-n-Roll talent, and a few YouTube from Brother Bagman sold us on the notion though. We were open to most anything anyway, but you never know what you might get, and sometimes, a few things are just not on the list.  

Indeed, the primary goal for the evening was some good music that we did not have to stay up all night for.  We were ditching another show because of that second point.  For some reason, a lot of event coordinators in KC believe that a good night of music cannot start before 10 pm; as well, any headliner should not play before Midnight.  That makes for a long night, especially on a Friday. Whatever happened to being able to go out for a little dinner and dancing?  In Kansas City that only seems possible if you are prepared to eat at 10 pm, and are willing to stay up all night.  It would be great to see a venue hosting some early evening House music. 

Davey's is dedicated to Rock & Roll though, and always serves it up early through the late hours. This event was slated to start up at 830 pm, with a few short sets by the locals, and longer sets from the headliners and those for whom the EP release party was being held.  As things always seem to go in show biz, the sets started late.  They were only an hour behind, and it was no big deal.  We were a half-hour behind anyway, and arrived just in time for the final sound check. 

A duo called The Anonymous Poet kicked things off with a solid performance of some of their work.  With one on acoustic guitar and another on a Cajon, we enjoyed listening to them trade off a couple of times, while providing some interesting Spoken Word sort of lyricism.  At the end of their set, several others joined on stage.  We really were not sure who they were, but got the impression it might have been The Mongrels.

Martian Face was next on the line-up, and included one of the duo from The Anonymous Poet on percussion.  The six member troupe, led by a bearded mountain on acoustic guitar, hammered through about 5 really good tunes that left us wishing they could play a bit longer.  While similar in style to the previous band, the additional members ramped up the energy and got a few folks on their feet and dancing.

Sometime around 11 pm when Brother Bagman took the stage.  The four-piece group changed the pace and style slightly.  There was no Spoken Word now, only a Jam Band somewhat crossed between the Dead and a little Southern Fried Rock.  The first half of the set was good, and we were a little disappointed to have to leave, but the length of the day was starting to wear on us a bit.  Someone mentioned that the band comes to Kansas City every so often, so we will have to keep an eye for the next show.  

There were no photos from the night; only the YouTube below.  Obsession with testing out video on the new phone took precedence, as did the Warp filter in post-processing.  I think I need to put my thumb over that mic though.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

a full year

The first anniversary of the beginning of this adventure came along , but there was no big celebration, party or otherwise.  I had not even noticed that it had been a year, until that very day.  It had been a wild ride across the scenery of underground dance, music, and performance in Kansas City.  I pondered whether to continue to or not, briefly.  There were so many good events on the horizon, and everyone seemed to enjoy the site, the photos, and what I was looking to accomplish.  Turns out, I was documenting a strange sort of history that nobody else knew about, outside of these circles.  Nothing else like this existed like this at the time in the Midwest.

With these thoughts swirling around my head that I headed out the door to Lawrence, on the night of this first anniversary.  I was going to check out Something Cosmic at The Pool Room.  I can’t really recall who it was that was playing, even after looking through the photos, but they were significant, and I remember that it was one hell of a set.  If anyone remembers, post a comment!

The second year began with a fantastic performance at Davey’s Uptown by a newly formed electronic duo calling themselves ebon.  That was just a warm-up for their Live PA performance later in the week at The Hurricane (now the Riot Room).  These two spots found their way on the agenda several times during the month.  Indeed, the day after the first ebon show found me back at Davey’s for the gothic band, Bella Morte.  They played a good show to a small crowd at Davey’s, hammering out tune after tune incorporating various elements of metal and synthpop.  The day after that Liquid Buzz hosted Rick West down at the Hurricane.

Likely one of the most significant events of the month was the re-opening of the basement at the relatively new Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub.  They invited me down to check out the place and take a few photos.  I was quite amazed at what they had planned and after some discussion, looked forward to being a part of their future.  This is the only club I fully documented from beginning to the bitter end, but as with everyone else, enjoyed every moment of it.

There was a return to Davey's for another show by the local performance troupe that hosted Submission.  Hosting their first x-mas special, a near full hose witnessed various fire-swallowing, oiled and bound escapades.

The month ended on a chill note, with a little New Year’s Eve house party in Topeka, hosted by 666 ZipCode Town Rekkids.  Invited to join them and play a Living Room set, I hesitated at first. I had not played any sort of records in quite a while, and lacked anything relatively new.  They were undeterred though, and it out to be a lot of fun as I loaded up an  eclectic mix of downtempo tracks from the 80s and 90s.

There is so much more I could say about these events, and will definitely return to their individual postings to elaborate there more, over time.  For now, all of the photos from these events are restored now, and accessible under December 2002 in the Story Archive.  Various notes that I had taken during that time show up there too.  If you have any thoughts towards any of these events, it would be good to hear your thoughts, if you were at any of these events.  Post a comment here, on the event, or get in touch if you would like to write about something in particular, more in depth... past ... present ... or even future.  Share your experience.