Checkers, Anyone?

Like game pieces, Tempe music venues keep jumping around

Generally, promoters keep the door fees from shows, while the club owners keep the money made at the bar. That means the bar is less likely to rake in a respectable buck with minors roaming in the crowd. Vassett, for her part, doesn't dispute that the all-ages issue was a sticking point, but says she was usually kept in the dark about how much money had to be collected to break even or make a profit.

Regardless of the shit-tossing, both parties have turned the corner ("Yes, we didn't make thousands of dollars [per show], but yes, we created a venue people could fall in love with," says Vassett, who maintains she's grateful for her Clubhouse experience). The Clubhouse is now pointedly veering toward a more upscale entertainment bill. While the club has only been open on weekends, the Clubhouse wants to expand that to seven nights a week, using theme nights to attract young adults.

It also clearly is gunning for drinkers in their 20s -- maybe it'll morph into a Scottsdale-style snob hole. Stacy Funk, formerly manager of urban-oriented Tempe club Last Call, will be handling a majority of the booking. Funk's plans for the room include comedy and other theme nights, freestyle rap battles and occasional rock shows (which, from the sound of it, may feature her own ska-pop outfit Girl Kicks Boy). Her first show at the reopened Clubhouse took place September 6. It was a hip-hop bill featuring acts such as Judge N' Jury, Fabel Fam, Megamaynx and DJ Direct, a far cry from Truckers on Speed blasting through a triumphant final set; rather, it was a few loose grooves for gin-and-tonics sipping.

The Clubhouse (below), modeled after Nita's, moves to Nita's. Huh?
photos by Emily Piraino
The Clubhouse (below), modeled after Nita's, moves to Nita's. Huh?

So . . . Nita's is on its way to resembling Nita's again, and the Clubhouse has turned from Tempe rock savior to comfortable dive for the sophisticated set. And the moral of this story: Try not to tout today what might not be there tomorrow.

Remember September 11, 2001! Share your thoughts with Kick & Scream about post-9/11 pop music at the author's online address,, or at 602-407-1715.

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