It is with sad regret we announce the impending end to the NEON dance night on December 9. Started by DJs Konsept and Motley Cruz (also known as Edwin Morales and Stevie Cruz, respectively), NEON has been a Thursday night staple in Lawrence for nearly a decade now.
With humble beginnings as a small dance party at Mexican restaurant Coco Loco, it quickly grew to be the way college students in the know got an early start to their weekend. According to Morales, NEON's purpose was pretty basic: "I started the night as a joke or dare of some sorts in June of '01. Somewhere to play my cheesy records but still be able to play tunes that were new and that I was into."
From there, the dance night grew and shrank, but always managed to have a home -- quite a few homes, actually. From the original venue of Coco Loco, NEON moved to the Bottleneck, then to the Granada, back to the Bottleneck, and is now in the Jackpot. Interestingly, this means NEON will end where it started, as the Jackpot is located in the spot originally occupied by Coco Loco.
How did NEON last as long as it did? Morales thinks it's "because we've always provided a place where everyone can come dance. It never mattered where you were from or who you were. You were safe at our place. Mix that with a place that would literally play anything and everything, and I think that was a something in the area that was rarely seen."
Morales moved to Chicago, where he's been DJing and producing, and Cruz has been working on Hammerlord, with his DJ focus moving more towards Kansas City. While DJs Iggy Baby and Nick Thor, but the night was always the baby of Morales and Cruz. As they're unable to nuture it along as well as they'd like, the twosome is putting the night to rest.
"I think that we've done our job," says Morales of NEON's eight-and-a-half year run. "Tons of drunken nights, dance parties, and introducing young'uns to the 'nightlife,' we are done. And, honestly, I couldn't have a bigger smile on my face."
But don't put the headstone on the grave just yet. Cruz says: "We'll all still get together and throw down NEON style. It will just be more of an annual affair." In the meantime, you've still got two chances to pay your respects before the whole thing goes away. The next NEON is Thursday, November 18, and the final night is Thursday, December 9.