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Louder Than Bombs, the 1987 compilation album released by the Smiths, has taken on a new meaning in Kansas City. Craig Klein and Brian Klein (no relation, just coincidental) have moved their Brit-rock and shoegaze dance party from a Mexican restaurant in the burbs to Westport, where it will become a regular monthly love affair for the whiskey-and-PBR-swigging hipsters to get down and get it on. We chatted with Craig Klein about the event, how it's recently caught on like wildfire, and about what makes the Smiths (and that dreamboat Morrissey) worth the dance party.
The Pitch: So how did this thing get started, and why the Smiths?
CK: Brian Klein and I were planning a sound exhibit at the Emerald space when he asked me about doing a "Smiths' Night" somewhere. We had both gone to similar nights in other major cities we have lived in (Chicago, New York, Baltimore, L.A., etc.), and the more we thought about it, the more we realized that it was regularly one of the most fun nights in those cities. Then we decided we could probably expand on the format a bit and really make it something special for people like us, who love that music but never really hear it out at bars. (My Bloody Valentine, for instance, is way underrated when it comes to dance music.) So, Brian, Phillip Beretta (my partner on BOTNET and countless other parties), and I got to work on building a no-frills party that was really for us and people who liked the music we do.
Do the Smiths represent something for you personally?
CK: Of course we all love the Smiths, but there really is more to it than that. The Smiths (and Morrissey) have a certain emotional draw. Most of us who frequent the "Louder Than Bombs" party have probably, in one way or another, laughed and cried to their songs since the first record we bought. We've danced to them in our bedrooms while getting ready to go out, and finally there's someplace we can do it all together. There is something very touching
when a Mexican restaurant full of people raging from early 20s to 40s are all screaming the lyrics to "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" at the top of our lungs.
It's really a night for not just people who love the Smiths, or even any of the sub-rock genres we cover. It's for people who just really love music. People who have a pretty deep connection emotionally to it.
What other musicians, that you regularly play, fit into the mold of the Smiths' music genre?
CK: Well, our format is "brit/pop/dream/wave/shoe/gaze." Simply put, that's anywhere from Brit-pop to shoegaze, although music mainly from the early '80s through the mid-'90s. Outside of the Smiths, my personal favorites would be My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, the Pixies, Sinead O'Conner, the Vaselines and, of course, anything new I find that fits the format. We stick to some standards but really love to turn our partygoers on to new stuff with the same vibe.
"Louder Than Bombs" will rock the basement of the Union in Westport every second Friday, beginning March 11. The event is free.