James Bobetsky, better known as “DJ Carbon” to his fans, thinks there’s a big gap in Wichita’s nightlife. And he’s out to fill it, at least once a month anyway.
What’s missing, he says, is a place where people can get dressed up, dance and drink in stylish surroundings, and not have to plunk down a tidy sum just to attend. Most such gatherings are fundraisers that charge $50, $75, $100 or more per person.
“The only time you see people getting dressed, it’s way too high-dollar for a night out,” Bobetsky said.
On Saturday, Carbon hosts his fourth Refresh event at Abode Venue. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door for the evening; no jeans or sneakers allowed. Bobetsky will spin his eclectic mix of dance music, Rudy Love Jr. will sing and play with his band, The Collective, and the two will perform together as well.
Bobetsky titled Saturday’s Refresh show “Switch” because he’ll open for Love. In the past, solo acoustic acts have kicked off the proceedings for him. Carbon says he’s trying to throw different elements into every gathering, from tapas and a photo booth to Saturday’s cigar bar brought downtown by Humidor West. Abode employees will staff a full cash bar, concocting “event cocktails just for the evening,” Bobetsky said.
But the music’s the main thing. Carbon, a New York native, has been a DJ for 20 years, the last 15 of them in Wichita. He’s provided the soundtrack for just about every dance floor in Old Town, not to mention events such as Zoobilee, ArtAid and the Tallgrass Film Festival.
“I’d say I’m known for doing just about any and everything,” he said. “It’s ’80s fun stuff – soul, hip-hop, jazz, funk. It’s always going. If you don’t like the song, wait a minute, it’ll change.”
If you don’t like his music Saturday, you can wait around for Love, a member of one of Wichita’s best-known musical families who also performs frequently in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
A singer, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist, Love said he met Carbon about six years and has played several shows with him.
“It’s a lot of different combinations of things,” Love said of working with Carbon.
Sometimes the DJ will isolate a vocal track from a hit recording and Love’s band will provide the backing instruments. Other times, Carbon may provide the thumping dance beat for a song Love has written.
“With his ear, it’s so awesome, he can hear different songs,” Love said.
Love said he’ll start out playing with two fellow members of The Collective – Scott Fowler on guitar and bass, and Raymond Davis on drums and vocals. “But it always gets bigger as the night goes on.”
“His (Bobetsky’s) goal, our goal, is really to kind of throw that idea of the live band showcase out the window,” Love said. “We want to do a party where there’s nonstop dancing.”
Carbon said the first Refresh event brought out mainly a younger crowd. He pegged the average age of the most recent one at 31. He says it’s a scene unlike any nightclub in town.
“Basically, I thought I’d build my own and do it once a month.”
If you go
What: Music by DJ Carbon and Rudy Love Jr. and The Collective
Where: Abode Venue, 1330 E. Douglas
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $12 in advance at www.eventbrite.com, $15 at the door (21-and-older event)