In its 1990s heyday, the Icehouse was the epicenter of Phoenix rave culture. Legendary parties lasted all night long within the walls of this cavernous downtown space, making it a natural anchor of the art and music communities. Then, as the times changed, so did the nightlife, and the Icehouse seemed to fall off the local radar. It continued to host events, but only sporadically. Most nights of the month, the grand building loomed large and silent on a dark stretch of Jackson Street.
But lately we've noticed that the Icehouse is reasserting itself as a place to see and be seen. Not with old-school raves, exactly, but with the sort of over-the-top multimedia events -- live bands, DJs, fashion shows and art installations -- that Phoenicians adore, including the now-annual LIFE Festival, an alternative Fourth of July celebration of "Liberty, Independence, and Freedom of Expression." Welcome to the new Ice Age.