“It’s always better late,” Michael Henry used to say. Growing up, Michael Henry was the father of a friend, the irreverent guru to all us young rock dreamers. He remains an amazing guitarist who owns a recording studio, which we used to sneak into for secret jam sessions, and he plays around our hometown in a jazzy trio called Slow Motion Monkey, which, obviously, is the best band name ever. I always agreed and approved of everything Michael Henry said and did. He can rattle off riffs that would make Pat Metheny cry, and he reads books on philosophy and religion when he’s taking a crap. But one thing I don’t jive with is that famous night-owl credo — it’s not always better late. Especially when “it” is live music on a weeknight.
Besides the growing unpopularity of secondhand smoke, the main reason so many Kansas Citians can’t get into the music scene here is the simple fact that most of the shows that are worth seeing start and end too late — too late for working folks, and way too late for working folks in KC who might want to see a show during the week in Lawrence. You should have heard the cries of complaint when people found out that the Pitch Music Showcase was starting an hour later this year.
But I sympathize; I’m a nine-to-fiver myself. I also suffer from the nocturnal dilemma that every city’s nightlife has succumbed to: The only people who can go to shows during the week and not die at their desk the next day are musicians, bartenders, part-timers, restaurant servers, artists, afternoon coffee jerks, and general late risers. But they’re not the only ones who like live music, so why should they be the only ones who get to enjoy it?
Now, thanks to a guy called Slimm, we late-show refugees have a place to go at least one night during the workweek.
Slimm, known to his momma as Matt Adkins, is the creator of the Boozeday Tuesday Matinee. It’s a two-band show from 8 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday at Mike’s Tavern that allows us working stiffs and old farts the chance to sample live, local music and still get to bed at a decent hour.
Slimm, who, for the record, feels that weekend concerts are still better late, says he has booked Boozeday all the way through October — as soon as bands found out, they started lining up. Music fans will also be glad to learn that owner Mike Devine is taking steps to turn his tavern into a more serious music venue. For starters, he has knocked down a wall and enlarged the stage. Fancier lights are on the way, too.
Does this signal an early-show revolution on the local scene? Probably not. The time-tested attitude of wise men like Michael Henry still prevails on the club scene — and it probably should, because late nights out are good for the city. But for people who just want to see a coupla bands and go home and hit the sack, it better not be late.