Local bar makes room for live music

After years of being considered a “hole-in-the wall bar” the Keystone Lounge has revamped to become one of the most popular concert venues in Joplin.

Dozer, head bartender and event coordinator, started booking acts late last year and has done nothing but improve the business since.

“Last Halloween was our first big show,” Dozer said. “We moved everything out to pack the room and realized how much space we have. We took out the pool table and things we didn’t need and it really opened things up.”

Before that show, people were skeptical of how many could fit in the bar and criticized Dozer for trying to have bands at the Keystone. But Dozer has proven those critics wrong.

“The New Years Eve show was the first time Cinna the Poet ever played in here,” Dozer said. “No one thought they would fit. And when they did it showed me I could fit pretty much anyone I wanted to in here.”

Now the Keystone averages more than two shows per week – bringing in headlining acts from all over the country as well as letting new, local musicians cut their teeth at the venue.

Dozer said most of the time he charges a cover of $5 or less, unless he has to pay the band a substantial amount of money for coming to Joplin.

Dozer has focused on bringing in a variety of music, though many people have stereotyped the music he has been playing.

“We have this reputation as being a punk rock bar because people lump it all together,” Dozer said. “I bring in everything from ska and punk to psychobilly, rockabilly and bluegrass. Then we have the more hardcore bands like All Kills Aside.”

But that isn’t all the Keystone will allow, Dozer said he’s open to all kinds of music.

“The only thing we don’t do is karaoke, open mike nights and DJs,” Dozer said. “That’s what everyone else does. We’re trying to do something different.”

For information please visit the Keystone Lounge’s MySpace page but be careful, there are two. The Keystone is a cash only bar.