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Photo by JUAN SALINAS II

First of all, watch your step. Going down two flights of not entirely well-lit stairs isn’t easy, but once you hit rock bottom at Curfew Bar, you’ve entered what some regulars call the “underground rave.”

MMU attendees are there to dance, not necessarily hook up.
Photo by JUAN SALINAS II

Every Monday, this quirky, hidden watering hole downtown hosts Meet Me Underground (MMU), a party that I would describe as a time machine to the early 2000s. MMU focuses on house music and is heavily influenced by anime and gaming culture. In its few months’ time, it has gained a cult-like following, mostly for its welcoming atmosphere. Bringing in people of all sorts of subcultures that you wouldn’t expect to see mingling with one another, MMU is inviting and decidedly non-pretentious.

“There is nowhere else … that could make you feel so comfortable to be yourself,” Kamy Lafavers said. “You can dance like no one is watching because everyone else is dancing.”

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Lafavers was initially intimidated because she doesn’t usually listen to house music. However, she realized it didn’t matter, thanks to MMU’s emphasis on dancing rather than preening.

MMU Creative Director Alvaro Gonzales originally planned a limited run for event, but since it’s been so popular, he’s turned it into a weekly shindig that seems to be here to stay.

“Meet Me Underground came about from the need to dance and party again once the lockdown stuff lifted,” Gonzales said. “I was doing parties here and there and really wanted to take them to a different level and sought out clubs and bars in the area to run some parties out of.”

Gonzales is thrilled with MMU’s success and how much it’s grown over the past year.

“This journey has not been perfect, and we’ve had to adjust and learn a thing or two for ourselves,” he tweeted not too long ago, “but the support from all of you has carried us up.”

Gonzales has been curating parties at warehouses around North Texas for about 15 years. The only issue with Curfew Bar, which turned out to not be a problem at all, Gonzales said, was the day of the week, but as a year into MMU proves, Mondays work just fine.

Gonzales said Curfew’s interior and vibe were perfect for the kind of event he wanted. The place has an intimate dance floor, funky disco balls, colorful neon lighting, fun messages hanging on the walls, and TVs displaying clips of popular animes.

But the ambiance would be for naught if not for the sounds.

DJ Stephen Carmona’s recent set at Meet Me Underground had bodies pulsing for hours.
Photo by JUAN SALINAS II

The two resident DJs are C.B. Smoove and BoyBlk, a.k.a. Sterling Hasley, who said he loves showing off his inspirations when he’s spinning. He said he started dee-jaying nearly eight years ago to liven up the anime convention after-parties he would frequently attend. His sets are heavily influenced by gospel music since he spent a lot of time at church as a kid. He sees house music as a “spiritual experience” that he wants everyone in the club to feel.

“The CDJs are my bible, and the club is my church,” BoyBlk said.

He added that the difference between MMU and other, similar events around North Texas is that MMU attendees actually dance instead of trying to look cool and get laid. MMU brings back the culture of house music’s roots, he said, by creating an environment where people are there to dance and express themselves.

Zoltar is always around to give revelers some sound health advice.
Photo by JUAN SALINAS II

Even when the two resident DJs are off, the party is still jumping at Curfew on Monday nights. The last time I went was on the Fourth of July. Two local DJs, Stephen Carmona and Bout, both delivered fantastic sets, keeping the crowd bouncing and grooving for hours. While there might not have been any fireworks in the sky that night — thanks, grassfires — MMU attendees appeared spellbound by the great tunes and the delish food from the Gustos Burgers + Stuff van.

“I don’t think there’s any place like it in the entire DFW, to be honest,” said A-Wall, a Dallas artist. “The level of curation MMU brings is insane.”

A-Wall isn’t the only North Texas creative you might bump into on Curfew’s dance floor.

On the Fourth, I got to say hi to Karina Salas from Noches De Fortuna, a group of DJs who focus on Latin music. If you want to get to know the North Texas house music scene, MMU is where a lot of major players come to get loose.

“If you’ve never been, what are you waiting for?” A-Wall said.

You could tell there is so much passion and care when it comes to MMU, and it’s just something you need to experience.

“I’m not too familiar with Fort Worth [nightlife], but I do know Dallas, and MMU is different,” Claudia Castaneda said.

Gonzales said there’s now an additional location for MMU. The second spot is in Dallas at Green Light Social (2625 Floyd St, 469-871-0111), where Meet Me Underground will take place every Wednesday starting Aug. 10. MMU will also do a one-off in Big D on Thu., Aug. 18, at It’ll Do Club (4322 Elm St, 214-434-1702). MMU merch, Gonzales added, is also on the way.

“I’d just like to thank everyone that comes out every Monday,” he said. “That alone is such a wild thing to me personally.”

 

Meet Me Underground
10pm every Mon at Curfew Bar, 350 W 5th St, FW. $5.
817-725-7534.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you Juan for bringing this to light and showing off the nightlife of Fort Worth. Your article is purely a work of art.

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