Best Hideout 2010 | Kat's | Bars & Clubs | Phoenix
Benjamin Leatherman
The electricity bill at Kat's probably doesn't tax the wallets of its proprietors too terribly, as the lighting is low inside this dive bar located near Indian School Road and 24th Street. The inky interior is punctuated only by the faint glow of a few neon beer signs and a pinball machine, providing a shadowy sanctuary in which to escape the worries of the world, if only for a few hours. It's a little bit like the Batcave (or should we say, Katkave), only with beer, booze, and billiards. The barkeeps never seem to answer the phone much, either, so one will never have to worry about his or her day-drinking sessions being disturbed by a concerned significant other.
As frenetically fun and fashionable as indie dance nights like Electrostatic are to attend, the haute hipster hangouts can seem a bit blasé and predictable after a while. (If you've seen one 20-something dressed in American Apparel dropping Laidback Luke and La Roux remixes, you've seen 'em all.) Thank God, then, that our city has the Rock&RollDancePatrol around to liven things up and save us from tedium with outrageous exploits. A quintet of well-coiffed local scenesters, the RRDP bill themselves as "26th-century DJ superstars" and have appeared at such weeklies as Jared Alan's fauxShow and the Retro Hi-Fi at SideBar — and they tend to steal the show. Though true identities of this foxy five are top secret (they go by such nutty nom de guerres as Dance Armstrong, The Royal Ruffian, and Dude Huge), their off-the-wall antics are a matter of public record. RRDP members Honey Bear and Disco Tex integrate sweet guitar licks with laptop-driven electro, indie, and pop tracks as the rest of the team performs spastically choreographed dance moves. And they do it all whilst dressed in kooky or coordinated costumes, ranging from sleek business suits to a mix of ski masks and gym wear. DJ William Reed, whose defunct Shake! affair at the Rogue hosted the debut of the patrol in March 2009, describes them as a "fun and campy" experience. "It's a little corny but definitely entertaining," he says.
Like many a swanky Scottsdale danceteria, Afterlife usually has a line out the door on the weekend's wee hours. The only difference being that it's happening long after every other disco has slammed its doors shut. Last call is a forbidden concept to this after-hours party pen, which features plenty of all-night adult fun (albeit of a non-alcoholic nature) for all ages. Puff on a hookah in the Earth Room downstairs, partake in poker on the patio, or down energy elixirs or iced mochas in the drink bar. Owner Aron Mezo also has a penchant for outrageous costume and theme parties, like the Anything But Clothes party (as the name indicates, both female and male patrons sport outfits made from duct tape or other household objects). He's also hosted major label hip-hop and R&B artists like Jason Derulo and the GS Boyz. Who says there's nothing fun to do after 2 a.m.?
Phoenix's Juggalo scene has evolved in an interesting way over the past two years. Once upon a time, back when The Monstar Shop was the home base for the "family" of Insane Clown Posse fans — certainly a sub-genre of mutant superheroes, at least in our twisted mind — the Headhurtz Records crew was reppin' the clowns wherever they could. The hatchet-men logos have slowly faded from view as the crew has morphed into more of a horrorcore outfit. Actually, it's getting sort of hard to tell Juggalos from Maggots, as Slipknot's fans are known. DieNasty of the group Dark Side Immortals is certainly one of the Juggalos who's changed, and we support that. He and his group have evolved beyond just dropping ICP references and imitating the Detroit duo, and it's pretty cool to see Phoenix's Juggalos try to build their own greasepaint-covered empire off dumpy beats and bloody lyrics. That said, we can also tell he's still got mad clown love. A big "whoop whoop" from us to DieNasty and the whole DSI crew.

See: a video interview with Shaun Moss.

Shaun Moss is broke, owns a piece-of-shit car, and has no career prospects — hardly anyone's definition of a hero.

Except mine.

Because Shaun Moss loves punk. Because Shaun Moss is punk. He's the guy all the girls in high school said they hated but secretly wanted to hang out with. He's the persona of everything my Catholic upbringing said I shouldn't be. He's the image I saw in movies like Over the Edge and The Outsiders, and he was listening to the Rolling Stones when he was 8 years old. When I was 8 years old, my parents were splitting up, my mom was listening to light rock and crying all the time, and I was mad as hell. I could've used some punk. I could've used some Shaun Moss.

I found him three years ago, just after I moved to Phoenix. He was spinning records at Rogue West (one of the few true rock 'n' roll joints in Phoenix) and the sounds of bands like the Dead Boys, Radio Birdman, and Turbonegro made me want to get to know this soldier of the punk rock scene. Clad in a denim jacket, a Maker's Mark Ambassador pin, and flashing a set of bright blue eyes to rival Matt Dillon's brown ones any day, Shaun Moss plays rock 'n' roll and promotes local shows as if the scene were on life support — and some say it is.

But that's not why he does it. He does it because he loves music. He does it because it's all he knows, more than making tons of money, driving an SUV, or investing in a 401(k). And if you don't like it, he doesn't care — like a punk superhero. — Laura Hahnefeld

New Times contributor Laura Hahnefeld, who writes the paper's Fry Girl column, interviewed Shaun Moss on August 19 at Rogue West, where he DJs every Thursday night.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional skateboarder.

While I'm driving, I'm listening to music or thinking about music.

Phoenix could use more of a solid music scene.

Phoenix could use fewer scenesters and hipsters.

My best musician impression is Mick Jagger. I do a pretty good imitation of him in the "Start Me Up" video.

The first concert I saw was Conway Twitty, Mel Tillis, and T.G. Sheppard at the Phoenix Civic Center. My parents took me. It was cool 'cause Conway Twitty was kind of an outlaw. The one thing I remember to this day was that the guitar player had a silver-faced guitar, and every time he would turn, it would shine in our eyes.

Kids today are listening to punk rock that's out right now and don't know about the stuff that started it all. It's cool to see those kids getting into the people that laid the groundwork.

My hero is my friend Shag. He's like a brother to me. I help him fix tattoo machines on the side. He's helped me out more than anybody and I owe him a lot. He keeps me in line.

Right before I go to bed, I always have a smoke.

The power of flight or invisibility? Flight. If I could fly, I'd be, like, "I'm outta here. Later."

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