Relocation Blues

Venerable Valley roots club is on the move

Late news this week that Phoenix's preeminent roots venue, the Rhythm Room, will be closing its doors in the next few months. Promoter/co-owner Bob Corritore says he and fellow Rhythm Room boss Kenny Cahill just received the word from leaseholders that they would have to vacate their central Phoenix digs by the end of the year. However, Corritore assures us that the club will find another home, and that he's already begun looking for a new location.

It's not clear what the current owners of the property intend to do with the space, but the nightspot is tentatively set to have its final celebration over the New Year's holiday with the actual closing coming on January 1.

Corritore says he would like to open the new club sometime shortly thereafter, with a target date of mid-January. Of course, all that will depend on how successful the search for a new place is.

"Obviously, we'd like to segue into a spot that we could make happen kind of quickly. But if it takes a little while longer than that, it's okay," explains Corritore. "The main thing is to be able to continue doing what we've been doing -- bringing the kind of acts we've specialized in into the community. That's the bottom line."

What Corritore has managed to do in the past half-decade is expose Valley audiences to a bevy of national touring blues, country and rockabilly acts. He adds that despite the initial shock, he is optimistic about the future of a relocated Rhythm Room.

"I'm upbeat about it, because there's room to grow. The idea of a new place has a lot of wonderful possibilities, so we'll see."

Dawg Day: Admittedly, Bash & Pop's taste in films, like those in music, runs toward more elitist fare -- the transcendent works of Jean Renoir, the uplifting oeuvre of François Truffaut, the allegorical brilliance of Philippe Garrel.

Yet we recently found ourselves riveted to a cable broadcast of Road House, the 1989 action romp starring Patrick Swayze. While the film is unquestionably the Citizen Kaneof bouncer movies, there's still something ridiculous in watching the five-foot-nothing Swayze repeatedly trounce men twice his size, while hearing the heavies deliver lines like, "I used to fuck guys like you in prison." (Is that an insult or a compliment?) Or worse, having to endure Ben Gazzara hamming it up unmercifully with the Dirty Dancing star -- though for sheer pork content nothing can compete with Swayze's mano-a-mano battle with Keanu Reeves in Point Break, the Citizen Kaneof FBI-agent-going-undercover-as-surfer films.

More to the point, after a careful viewing of this flick, we realized that the bar band in Road House seems woefully out of place -- composed essentially of four mo-mos and Jeff Healy playing half-assed covers. If they plan on a sequel (and who among us wouldn't queue up for Road House 2: Roadhouser?), might we suggest a far more appropriate choice for house band is the Diesel Dawgs.

The blues-rock quartet, which relocated to Phoenix from Maryland in the spring of '98, has been earning notice and sharing Valley stages with like-minded exponents of the Skynyrd-Allman-Marshall Tucker triumvirate. This week finds the band releasing its first full-length studio effort, Sleep Is Not an Option. Produced by Hayden's Ferry honcho Stu Baker and released on its own Westwind Records label, the disc boasts 14 swamp-flavored harp-and-horn numbers that sound as if they were destined to be played behind chicken wire.

The group will be celebrating with a CD release party this Saturday, July 22, at the Bash on Ash in Tempe. The all-night bill starts at 8 p.m. and includes performances from stylistic comrades Glory Revival and Muddy Violets, as well as alt-country burners Truckers on Speed.

Glori Be: A bit of news from the Gloritone camp. First, it appears the Tempe power poppers have decided to stick with drummer Scott Hessel. Hessel and the group, you will recall, elected to part ways back in February. Apparently, both sides had a change of heart as the trapsman -- formerly with the Jennys and Stumbles -- has continued performing with the band since the trio resumed regular gigging after a brief layoff. Those attending recent shows will have also noticed that the band is pushing a bit of new product, a limited-edition disc titled Before the Paint Had Dried. The CD collects a batch of Gloritone's 1999-2000 demos, recorded mostly to four- and eight-track (for a full review, see next week's Recordings).

The group, which is still signed to RCA-affiliated imprint Kneeling Elephant, is somewhat unclear as to its future with the label. Kneeling Elephant is in the midst of an internal upheaval which may result in the company revamping most of its young roster, focusing instead on a number of more established acts and precluding it from dedicating the kind of time and resources needed to push baby bands.

Still, general industry interest in Gloritone seems relatively high, with several major labels reportedly expressing interest in signing the band should the Kneeling Elephant situation sour. In any case, the group hopes to begin recording its sophomore effort -- the long-awaited follow-up to 1997's Cup Runneth Over-- for someone before the end of the year. Gloritone will next perform on Friday, July 28, opening a Nita's Hideaway bill for Minutemen/fIREHOSE punk legend Mike Watt.

Road Woes: Much to our collective chagrin, last Friday's Chuck Prophet show at the Arizona Roadhouse was canceled, as the guitarist and his band came down with an unexpected case of the Econoline virus (read: van trouble) somewhere outside of Chicago. Opener Marlee McLeod stepped into the headlining slot playing a fine two-hour set, augmented by an acoustic warm-up from the aforementioned Diesel Dawgs.

Prophet's management company says the Arizona show will be made up. While no specific date has been given, the rescheduled concert will likely happen in mid-September.

Prophet's is the latest in a rash of Valley no-shows that includes Frank Black, Shelby Lynne and The The. Of slightly bigger note is the cancellation of a Phoenix stop for the Musicmaker.com tour, featuring back-to-back performances from the Black Crowes with Jimmy Page, and the Who.

The concerts were originally set for August 13 and 14, and according to local promoter Evening Star, the shows will not be rescheduled. However, those who were anticipating Levi's First Stage gigs from Philly rock quartet Marah during the Musicmaker double bill are in luck, as the band plans to honor an August 12 engagement at Long Wong's on Mill.

Movin' On: Singer/songwriter Jim Beach (who, along with his backing combo -- pianist Matt Mahr, bassist Will Lovell, drummer Jamal Ruhe and pedal steeler Jon Rauhouse -- was featured in this column a couple of weeks ago) is leaving town. The lifelong Valley resident and music-scene stalwart is heading to San Antonio with his fiancée. His departure brings an end to a local career that saw him front the Hucklebones and Dialectrics, among others. Beach and company played their final shows last week opening for the Revenants and Los Guys.

Mix work on Beach's recently recorded solo album has just been completed by Ruhe. There's no word on when the disc will see the light of day, but expect it to surface late this year or early next on an out-of-town imprint.

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