Tags: alex broskow, blade god, chris cheshire, chris farmer, colin kelso, colin sander, comradery, crusty town, dance, from a roof to a rail xoxo, fuck-all attitude, get up go out and blade, in-depth slice of humanity, john bolino, julio iglesias, kc roche, love, mach-12, minds begin melting, nick labarre, overalls, painting, patrick doherty, poetry, pop-shovits, pre-humanoids, sk himself, soviet-looking military-esque garb, tucked-in-shirts, uber-clean, uber-tech, werner herzog
There are few things in human nature that come from a place of absolute purity; dance, painting, poetry, love. Pre-humanoids have moved their bodies to the flicker of campfires for eons, expressing their fears, hopes, and freedom. Creative visionaries have transmitted their visual-impressions of the world around them for tens of thousands of years (cave-painting now dates back 60,000 years, as noted in Werner Herzog's must-see film 'The Cave of Forgotten Dreams'). Words and sounds are paired to please the ear and inspire the soul in the works of the earliest literary explorers.
Review by Colin Sander
These pursuits and innate human-desires are fueled by a common thread – love. A loving heart for the entire world around a soul, (temperatures, textures, angles, sounds, smells, sights, and everything under the sun), love for the people that soul surrounds themselves with, and possibly most importantly, a deep love for the act of expression that these inspired beings partake in. In Sean Kelso's 'KCMO', he creates a visual-essay of the most pure and inspired kind, interweaving the physical world with the deeply spiritual expressions of a group of elite performers, his cinematic choices adding clarity to the already-sublime.
'KCMO' can be watched in the same way that a famous Russian ballet could, surviving centuries and inspiring recreations and re-tellings. The bleak landscape of tortched grass and crumbling buildings that is discovered by the bladers, (Alex Broskow, Nick LaBarre, Patrick Doherty, KC Roche, Colin Kelso, Chris Cheshire, SK himself, and Chris Farmer [There are other bladers too, with mini-files and fewer clips, but the high level of blading remains]) speaks to deeper issues of our society and world. We see in the background the boom and bust of economies, repurposing of land for man's ideals that veer and swerve, leaving behind dregs of it's former intent. It is only fair that certain minds could rebirth these landscapes into something of meaning, and expression, long after the rest of the world has chosen to care about the small idiosyncrasies of the man-made jungle. Like Orangutans instinctively weaving through a lush upper-layer of rainforest, the rollers in 'KCMO' weave a tapestry of invention atop their chosen-spots.
In 'KCMO', I'm not sure that a single spot is seen more than once. Or at least, it feels that way. It speaks to the absolute detail and clarity of each roller's skillset that they all choose different morphs of the landscape to rule over. It seems that their physicality (height especially) dictates a lot of how they interface with spots. The taller ones of the crew handling bigger and more burly jungle-gyms, and the smaller more punch-packing of the crew getting technical on features borderline undiscoverable by the 'average' blader. These rollers have eyes, and minds, built for what they do in this video, which is destroy.
I'm now going to get into the nitty-gritty details of this video, which upon watch-one, sat right up in my mind with the likes of 'Underestimated' (which it felt like a second-coming of) 'Brain Fear Gone', and 'VG20'.
Kelso opens with a somber shot of the skate-crew house, leaves falling beautifully in the wind. The intro is short and to the point. What looks like any city, in any town, is teed up for absolute destruction.
Farmer is up first. To a hard rap-song he laces a variety of moves that are more tech than tech itself. Neg makios on 17-stair wall-rails, a face-height soul to wallride that is his part-1 ender… which leads into a more punk-rock segment of hammers. His feel for spots is still impeccable. His ender proves part of the thesis of Farmer's skating… he can take a spot that has been skated for years and discover a new wrinkle in it. By sprinting uphill out of the grass, he creates a bank-to-rail that no one had conceived of before, and executed it perfectly. This first scene-break constructed by SK is telling of the entire crew, and film… the rest of the rollers observing go nuts in tribal celebration, knowing that they just witnessed a hammer. You can overhear gems like "He laced that", "Holy shit", "Fuck yea, Chris", SK's "Hah, you went down the whole shit" (he is speaking about the rail, but it can be also interpreted to mean the landscape itself, which Farmer found a throughline in). "That's my n*gga right there, he just gave me wheels" which we can only assume is elite-blader talk for made me feel the butterflies of impossibility being conquered. [Editors note: It appears as though Michael Collins is on brand new DEAD Broskow wheels in this scene so he may indeed just got a set from Farmer] They go on to comment on how wet his shirt is, showing the heart and dedication put in to just one trick, it's like he "Just came out of a pool". Farmer caps it with the veteran cherry-on-top of, "I'm really sorry that took so long guys". A class-act.
Moments of artistry continue to spawn throughout, next with a shot of Sean Santamaria teeing up for an in-run, his body encompassed by a vortex of leaves spinning around in a corner, him in the eye of the hurricane. It's almost as if his read on the landscape, the approach to the spot, and the time of day, is as spot-on as mother natures leaves falling into their corner of choice.
Pat Doherty's opener has the same feel, a clip of him in a rolling chair sitting, spinning down a peaceful slope of road, a ballet that involves perfect interfacing with gravity. Somehow he makes this look cool as fuck, when most mere mortals attempting the same thing would probably end up with a terrible wreck and stitches, he pulls off chair 7's as well as pop-shovits, ending with a champion-stance celebration, riding off into the sunset. More office-chair blading combos in the future? I doubt it, but this was ill.
Again, SK with a backhanded statement at just how honed these guys are. At one moment in his section (nicely paired to some classic-rock) it appears he thought about doing a down-rail on a vintage steel bicycle. Maybe it went awry, maybe he was just breaking shit, but this convey's the fuck-all attitude prevalent in the entirety of the film. Mini-moments like his running along a giant wood spindle as if it's a log-rolling contest shows that these guys are athletes who happen to blade, not just kids who got good at blading over time. SK makes more crew-statements with Doherty's ender… with Broskow and a friend running down from the top of the in-run in soviet-looking military-esque garb… probably operating as the lookout and scout from above, (as well as coaching) proving that every trick in the video seems to be a team-effort.
A friends and family section ensues, with John Bolino taking the cake for burliest trick with an ill hop-over a freeway wall, into a bank, and a subsequent huge-180 onto a tight downhill street. He navigates a maze that is very perilous, and does so with control, and downright joy. The takeoff was a bit downhill too, so you can see that the impact was massive. KC Roche shows that he's got veteran touch with flawless ledge clips that have the cleanliness of a serious vet. Note kids, that is how you do a topside torque-soul. And wallriding on chunky bricks? Not a problem.
Nemo impresses as always, with a super-tech, superclean mini segment that features an awesome kicked-at-lens liu-kang out of a zero-back-sav. Sean Kelso's touch for cutting is apparent in these friend montages. His timing of b-roll and anecdotal footage interfacing with tricks in a dance-like rhythm.
We move on to Colin Kelso's seggy, which shows veteran gyle from a guy whose knees, groins, and feet probably are more beat up than your 80 year old granddads. Colin borderline invented the early-era of this skating style that 'KCMO' showcases. The uber-tech and uber-clean on inventive spots with variation. He started it in 'The Truth' days, and only now is it coming to full fruition in this next gen of bladers. Highlights include a zero makio rewind on a ledge-to-ledge-to-ledge, and an AO-toe-roll to 270-back-backslide done at mach-12. Just CK's footwork in this section to-and-fro obstacles is enough to entertain the stingiest viewer. His section ends with a flower sniff, and one word: "Beautiful"
Cheshire shows some new skills in his mini-seggy with some negative work, and a lot of the essential style we've come to know and love. SK follows him up with more of his classic one footed spin-heavy combos, but at first it feels as if Sean put his heart and soul into the creation of this video, not solely stacking tricks for it. This thought is ousted when you realize that he has two more songs coming and about 60+ clips whose levels just continue to go up. Highlights include a fakie-270 front torque from a roof to a rail, (in which he looks like a zombie-dead-hobo floating through the air. Some of the most careless and landscape-inspired style I've ever seen) and a jersey-barrier roll to gap into transition on another. His ender is something that redefines and detonates the entire negative game. And I won't spoil it for you, just cop the damn vid. Farmer says "You dirty dog you…" afterword… with a hint of pissed-off-ness and friendly competition that this wasn't something he invented first. He teases on rails with stuff like a fakie-outspin porn, semi-budget front torque to AO makio like it's nothing. It probably was his warmup trick.
Nick Labarre has a "coming out" section of sorts, with a song claiming "Yeah it's me n*gga" and tricks showing seriously high-caliber blade work. Dude has hops, control, balls, and style. His first semi-ender has the crew looking around as if to say, "Holy fuck, why would anyone attempt something so deadly – and how did he do it that flawlessly?" Even though it's a simple straight-air, it requires the use of about 160 yards of spot-selection. His back-unity to gap off of a wobbly-rail end shows just how much touch he really has. I mean, who can hate on a guy that stacks clips with not only tucked-in-shirts, but also overalls.
Broskow's long-awaited section opens with some essential b-roll. Some faux fighting between a mother and father which results in their baby being knocked over… and hood-homies roaming the streets of Kansas City just like them, wondering "What the hell y'all been doin?" to a group of punk-looking kids sitting amongst rooftops and stairs. Broskow declares "Just hangin" in the most happy-go-lucky tone that proves he probably is a great peacekeeper and essential force in making sure the crew is rarely busted, or rolled-up on. He rocks some real-tree camo throughout this section, so you know it's going to be rad. Part one you can definitely see some of the dean-coward influence, and it's not a bad thing.
This may be one of Broski's cleanest sections ever. A perfect true-fish on one rail, leads into a flawless true-porn budget-backslide to AO fish on another. He soars over landscapes like some mix of surfer and seabird… smoother than water yet more potent than fire. The flickering-light in a building behind him on one trick seemingly notes the decay that's overtaken the landscape in the whole video. A perfect back-fastslide on a rail, followed up by a switch front-fastslide to AO porn, mmmh. His first 540 gap has a ridiculously tech in-run, and the bar keeps being rased. His second 5 has a landing patch of about 18 square inches, and he flawlessly stomps out, cess-sliding into a corner afterword. Things really open up when he cab-AO-topsouls both ways. Minds begin melting when he cab-topsouls a rail that is literally invisible within an overgrown bush, and he reaches out, locking it with that signature flawless confidence, even though it can't even be seen. The rest of the hammers flow like a great freestyle, and I won't spoil them for you. But I remember sections as early as his 'NOIR' death-defying stunt work, and this outdoes them all, in terms of clarity, and cleanliness.
'KCMO' can really be seen as a performance-piece, not just a skate-video, and an in-depth slice of humanity. The common thread running through of comradery, and pushing one's physicality for the sake of discovery is something that can translate across time and eras. Show this video to anyone in any action-sport, surfing, skateboarding, BMX, freestyle-ski and it will challenge their perceptions of style, execution, spot-selection, and how to read terrain. Sean Kelso has really assembled a masterpiece that is bigger than just this video. There can only be one time and place like Kansas City, Missouri. 'KCMO' is an event of months of collaboration and real living, in all its essence, in which the elite players in our sport descended upon one crusty town and squeezed every last bit of joy and ingenuity out of its tortured landscape. If nothing else, above all, this video will do one thing that all of the great videos of all time make you want to do: Get up, go out, and blade.
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