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Knuckleheads Saloon
2715 Rochester, Kansas City, MO 64120
KCMO Northeast industrial area
From Independence Ave, north on Chestnut Trafficway to the bridge over the train tracks.
knuckleheads is just below the bridge.
Phone: (816) 483-1456

Unless otherwise noted photos and copyright 2005 Mike Strong KCDance.Com and Mike Strong Photo Gallery and CV Site - Email This Page
Ben Pruett - dance teacher
Click thumbnails for larger version
Rockabilly Swing: Ben Pruett with Eric Swanson and Elektra Swan   Free dance lessons at 6 - 7:30 pm on Wednesdays


Outside in the open area: Toodles and Ben to the music of The Rumblejets. Toodles and Hepcat do the Rockabilly Show on KKFI (90.1) FM on Friday afternoons.

Bob Parr and Robin

Eric and Electra showed up together
Watching a stage act in the room with the AC. Cover was only $6.

On this visit I come in early - not typical of me - so I do something else not typical of me. I order a Heineken. First I sit sipping in the hot shade (beats the hot sun), then I wander into the hot sun to say "hi" to the musicians setting up outside. Usually they play inside for this gig but there are two acts tonight. Somewhere Ben Pruett, the dance teacher, is driving in. I haven't seen Ben in a while.

I call Nicole to see whether she can join me. "I'm early here. We have lots of time," I say. She has to finish working on uploads to the class website and will have to handle a class tonight. We'll show up here at a later date.

Knuckleheads is a three section building area, really one building and two attached areas. Everything is a sort of aggregation.
1) The east side is an enclosed building with its own three sections including the air conditioned entertainment section with stage, tables and booths. The main building is itself organized into three parts. The lounge with stage is on the west, next to the two open-air sections. All together those three areas are the saloon and entertainment areas. In the middle of the building used Harleys are on display with price tags while the east side has gear and other items for sale. The guy on the cash register in the gear store has a sister who choreographs. Good companies too, modern and ballet. Reach is one of them. So on some nights you also might find him in a concert hall.
2) the middle section open to the air on the sides with a roof over it, long tables and a short bar
3) the west section is an open patio with a stage for entertainment, concrete dance area and bench seating.

Everything is located adjacent to and on the north side of railroad tracks under the Chestnut Trafficway bridge. Not exactly under. Knuckleheads is directly off the west side of Chestnut Trafficway. At this point the saloon is just about a mile north of Independence Avenue if your are coming from North East Kansas City, MO.

Ben Pruett has slicked back hair and could have come out of a 1950's movie. He had a long ponytail the last time I saw him. I tell him he gained a plaid shirt and lost the pony. Ben looks a lot like Matt Dillon, the movie star, not the Gunsmoke character. He was one of the dancers in the Blast From the Past competition as well as a regular swing dancer.

In the A/C room there is just one couple tonight at the start. They came in a little earlier. Eric and Elektra. She with tennies and bobbie socks, a sure sign that she was there to dance. The skylights in the room provide soft overhead lighting. Ben is saying, "Rock step, over, over, Rock step, over, over ..." He hovers around, casual, holding a cigarette package.

By 6:30 another couple shows up, Bob and Robin. Earlier, the bartender told me the crowd size varies a lot. Tonight is a hot summer night. The music here is rock-a-billy from the 50's and 60's and today. It all feels like the places my folks used to go with me as a kid. In a way Knuckleheads is almost a time machine.

In the 50's and 60's in the middle of Nebraska the local bars in our little towns were family spots, pubs really. The adults drank and smoked while the kids had a Roy Rogers or a Dale Evans. The meals were hamburgers and chicken in a basket. Where did all that go? Bring a kid into a bar today and you'd be up on charges. The local TV ambush team would do a big special on you. Abu Ghraid would be too good for you. No one had such a problem back then and we were fine. Even if every place had more smoke than a forest fire. It seemed. Memories.

knuckleheads does have a menu here with a kitchen and an ordering window. The window is under the roof next to the open section. A standing fan blows and kitchen smoke back and away from the stage area before the smoke has a chance to wander across the stage. Knuckleheads is a little like a time machine for me.

Moving up to show time a few more people wander in holding longnecks. When the first lesson couple is ready to leave Ben compliments them and pulls over a pack of CD's ot recommend music to dance to for them. Ben always takes extra interest. Then he is off to the remaining couple doing a little parallel dance to the side of them.

A little later the Rumblejetts start in the outside area. Usually they are inside but that is taken tonight by the paid act, a $6 cover. Behind the connected building parts which make up Knuckleheads a freight train blasts its horn as it rolls close enough to pick up a take-out at the food window. It is a long train but the sound system is up to the challenge. Everyone takes it in stride. Just part of Knuckleheads.
It's a feature you can't get in Westport.

Mike Strong
28 June 2005

Knuckleheads is built almost directly under the Chestnut Trafficway bridge over the railroad tracks just behind (south side) the saloon. The trains come right on by and blow their horns. These views show the north (front) side.



Barry Shultz, 11/1/2009
I rode my HOG to Knuckleheads on Saturday. I have been there before and love the atmosphere and the bands.What I liked even more was the very beautiful and foxy bartender in the afternoon-Kristi! What an absolute fox!

Judy Boehm, 10/5/2005
Yo! Whad up, Dudettes??? We wanna see more of Dave & Eric!

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