If you had asked me a month or two ago whether Tempe had any chance of re-establishing itself as the center of the local music scene, I would have said no.

Actually, I probably would have said, "Hell no, dude. Are you fucking serious?"

But that was before huge news about the two most important concert clubs in town — one in Phoenix, one in Tempe.

Kimber Lanning
Chris Loomis
Kimber Lanning

Location Info

Map

Yucca Tap Room

29 W. Southern Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85282

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Tempe

Turns out Yucca Tap Room is adding an all-ages venue that will finally allow the Tempe watering hole to compete with other small venues. Rodney Hu, whose family has owned the bar and the plaza it's in for two generations, finally got the city's permission to expand into the club's neighboring space and will do so in December, making a huge move toward taking the club, which came to prominence as the home base for The Refreshments during Mill Ave's heyday, to the next level.

By coincidence, Modified Arts, the heart of the CenPho music scene, is "going gallery" around the same time. Kimber Lanning, the Stinkweeds Records proprietor who owns the building and ran the venue, has become more involved in community-development projects and is turning the venue over to a husband-and-wife team who plan to make the space a little fancier.

"The big indie-rock shows you've come to know and love at Modified will have to find another home," Lanning said in a news release.

Until a few weeks ago, it seemed all the momentum in local music was pushing to downtown Phoenix. Modified, the heart, was pumping energy toward Trunk Space on Grand Avenue, which is becoming a miniature version of L.A.'s The Smell, and toward the Rhythm Room, which has had many more great shows than the only venue it has to compete with, the Clubhouse in Tempe.

What will happen? Well, you can read a balanced discussion on the matter, including posts from Kimber, me, and half of Phoenix, at our music blog (www.phxmusic.com) or you can accept what I say here. And that is this:

Downtown is ovah. Sure, Roosevelt Row is cool if you're a too-hip-for-Scottsdale oldster looking to buy expensive art for the loft you furnished at CB2, but if you wanna be in on the ground floor, head to Tempe.

Now, obviously, a lot can happen quickly regarding such matters — it just did! — but it's hard to imagine someone opening an alternative in Phoenix when all the people I talk to say all the damned speculators are still speculating, keeping real estate out of the hands of the sort of people who'd open a cool indie-rock venue. Meanwhile, by happenstance, Tempe just got such a venue.

True, Modified still will have smaller "experimental" shows. Adam Murray, who will be running the gallery with his wife, Kim Larkin, was opaque about his plans when I chatted with him on Friday. In an e-mail, he said, "Thank you for the interest in what Kim and I are planning for Modified Arts next year. What I would like to do is revisit this topic at a later date, when we have fully fleshed out the first quarter of 2010, so I can let the calendar do the talking."

What does that mean? I dunno. Maybe it'll be awesome, but I'm not holding my breath.

From what I've observed, music venues tend to operate best with synergy. Drop one cool venue someplace and more will follow. Remove the heart? I'll answer that question with a question: How many shows have you seen on Mill since Long Wong's closed?

Now, I know Kimber Lanning has faith in downtown's Wolverine-like healing powers or she wouldn't make this move. And, true, Lanning knows a shit-load about urban planning and I do not. But I've read Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and I've lived a few places. From what I'm seeing, it looks as if it's Tempe Time — for local and indie music, at least.

Here's the canary in the coalmine: Downtown Phoenix is now losing its marquee record label and the bands on it. Modern Art records' house producer, Ryan Breen, who records as Back Ted N-Ted, has moved to New York. Breen was, in my opinion, the most talented man in local music, so this is a huge blow. The rest of the crew, including Miniature Tigers, is following. Here's a status update on label owner Ben Collins' Facebook page: "Ben Collins will be residing in Brooklyn, NY as of Nov. 1st!"

Yeah, he said Brooklyn, not Tempe. Point is, Phoenix is the loser. It's sad, but the downtown scene just didn't mature fast enough to keep guys like Collins around.

Now it's Tempe's turn to try.

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24 comments
babosoff30
babosoff30

As for Modified I've been in The Valley for 15 years (after living in Minneapolis and Milwaukee), and Kimber Lanning is and has been the local music scenes most vocal advocate and I'm sure she will continue to so. She's clearly put her money where her mouth is and we all owe her a great debt of gratitude for it. That said I really don't think losing Modified has any real bearing on the CenPho music "scene".

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meloneater
meloneater

There has never been a place known as "CenPho" or "DownPho".

Only some asshat out-of-towner wanna-be hipster would come up with some crap like that. I don't know where you're from or why you came but you should probably pack your bags and hit the road.

David
David

.... and so the New Times remains quite less-than-relevant...

Pete
Pete

While I don't typically read the alternative weekly, this article was brought to my attention by a couple of individuals left scared and confused - mostly confused - by its contents. Therefore, to avoid further confusion, I submit easy-to-understand translations of the key points.

(Translations noted in brackets for those of you playing along at home.)

-

Kimber Lanning, the Stinkweeds Records proprietor who owns the building and ran the venue, has become more involved in community-development projects and is turning the venue over to a husband-and-wife team who plan to make the space a little fancier.

"The big indie-rock shows you've come to know and love at Modified will have to find another home," Lanning said in a news release.

[[TRANSLATION: Big indie-rock is a dead man walking. Everybody can plainly see the elephant in the room so there's no need to report it here. That would've been like reporting the death of big-hair metal bands... in 1988. In other words, it'll take a couple more years until rigor mortis sets in. Until then, we can keep beating the big indie-rock horse. Whew, that was close!]]

-

Until a few weeks ago, it seemed all the momentum in local music was pushing to downtown Phoenix. Modified, the heart, was pumping energy toward Trunk Space on Grand Avenue, which is becoming a miniature version of L.A.'s The Smell, and toward the Rhythm Room...

[[TRANSLATION: If not for apple trees, we wouldn't have orange trees. They are exactly the same. Pay no attention to the fruit. A tree is a tree. It's not about the fruit. It's all about wood. And bad analogies.]]

-

Downtown is ovah.

[[TRANSLATION: Yes, I know its spelled o-v-e-r. I spelled it that way, italicized no less, because I'm hip. Oh sure, I could assign stories to writers with the knowledge and journalistic cajones to cover both local and touring ground-breaking acts more frequently, but that would take a lot more time and effort on my part. And I might not know what the hell they're talking about when the article is turned in. Why go through all that when I can instead do it with four simply hip letters. O-v-a-h and owt.]]

-

True, Modified still will have smaller "experimental" shows... ...What does that mean? I dunno. Maybe it'll be awesome, but I'm not holding my breath.

[[TRANSLATION: When I don't want to be overtly dismissive, I put it in quotes. It's a journalistic sleight-of-hand technique. Then, for readers not familiar with this technique, I add something dismissive later so they get the point as well. I can do that, because I'm a "music editor".]]

-

Now, I know Kimber Lanning has faith in downtown's Wolverine-like healing powers or she wouldn't make this move. And, true, Lanning knows a shit-load about urban planning and I do not. But I've read Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and I've lived a few places.

[[TRANSLATION: Now what are we going to do without our big downtown indie bread and butter? Ok, think, man, think. Maybe we can cover small indie-rock instead? No, wait, that's stupid. Plus, some of those bands are more experimental. Fuck, we're screwed. I've already thrown a variety-ton of music under the dismissive umbrella of "experimental" then basically painted all of it with one big suck brush. If there's a silver lining in any of this, it's the fact that I know how to read.]]

-

Ryan Breen, who records as Back Ted N-Ted, has moved to New York. Breen was, in my opinion, the most talented man in local music...

[[TRANSLATION: I spend way too much time at home. When I'm not at the office. Maybe I should visit the lungs, kidneys, and bowels of downtown? Um. Maybe not. I like my home. I like my office. These places are clean and safe. If I were to venture out, I could possibly meet other talented people - but I'm not holding my breath. So why big indie-rock the boat?]]

-

It's sad, but the downtown scene just didn't mature fast enough to keep guys like Collins around. Now it's Tempe's turn to try.

[[TRANSLATION: My friends call me CenPho Cizmar. I am the music editor. So quit pining for the days of Tempe D'Andrea. She ain't coming back. And I'm not going anywhere. Not while I still have something to say. Or not until we've written articles about every 18-year old woman that plays an acoustic instrument in this town. Whichever comes first. Yup, either way, it ain't ovah till it's ovah. Damn, that last sentence was hip as fuck. Go me!]]

Johnny
Johnny

Hotchman,

I agree with your comments about this being a Valley music scene and that we need to support it as a whole and not in separate parts but it is hard to overcome biases towards the scene when you have owners of local labels that are working at supporting it and yet making comments about Martin's article like this one "He imagines a return to the glory days of Tempe when the Refreshments ruled the roost. (Excuse me while I throw up) How would he even know what life was like back then!???

What exactly does he mean by that? Is he questioning The Refreshments importance for this Valley's music scene? All it takes is negative comments like that to give the perception that the scene is really in different parts.

Martin Cizmar
Martin Cizmar

Thanks for the comments guys -- a lot of good discussion here. I've enjoyed reading both sides of it and am processing it all for a followup.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee

It is pretty silly to get worked up over a little article in a less-than-relevant news source by a less-than-relevant journalist... but if i were Mr. Ben - or any downtown establishment - i would be upset as well. Journalists have a responsibility to the constituency for which they write. This is especially true in terms of arts and culture, where the subject matter is all at once a particularly important sign of a healthy community and an ever-shifting enigma which is constantly being re-evaluated by said community.

Sure Mr. Martin was merely offering up his humble opinion pertaining to the state of our music scene here in Phoenix, but there is most certainly a choice involved when one sits down to write a piece such as this, and it is a choice which exposes the true personality and demeanor of the journalist and/or their intentions.

The facts mentioned in this piece cant be argued with: we are losing one of our most relished downtown cultural venues (did you catch that Kimber? CULTURAL, meaning all-encompassing in terms of human expression...), and Modern Art is indeed branching out to greet opportunity where it resides (kudos to you proactive boyees), and Tempe will soon gain a new all-ages venue..... but it is all in how you decide to spin it; and this is why i think Mr. Martin is the WRONG person to be in the position that he is in.

Im sure this article might have been taken a bit more lightly, had it not been another in a series of poor interpretations and opinions about our music scene which have been made by this outsider. Ive spent way too long on this comment already, but id like to make the point that just as much as we need viable venues, promoters, musicians, and open minded people to make this scene flourish; so too we need viable, knowledgeable, and supportive journalists to help connect and propagate our scene to the public and beyond.

Shape up or ship out.

jeremx
jeremx

fuck'em both! what about scottsdale? martini ranch ftw!

(ok, altho that was in jest.. i did dig ida maria and gaslight anthem there recently)

on any given night there are large and small shows happening in both towns. whenever venues have closed, bands and promoters have always found a way to make shows happen. as shitty as seeing good venues die is, i'm confident we'll always have somewhere to see/hear what we want.

not to mention you'll always be able to say, "i saw so and so at the modified years ago" and have a transplant or youth say, "aw man, i've heard of that place" just like some of us say "i remember this time at the nile" or "i saw such and such at the party gardens." everyone's cool points are about to get a bump. and that's all that really matters anyway. ;-)

Tony Poer
Tony Poer

Between this article and the one about Kimber leaving Modified, Martin has generated a ton of commentary and driven a lot of people to check out these articles in the online and print versions of the New Times. I've seen comments (here and in other forums) saying he's a bad editor, or that the NT is out of touch or irrelevant. The fact that so many people are reading his words and have passionate responses about them seems to disprove that theory.

I don't agree with his assessment of downtown, but he got us all reading and talking. Like his opinion or not, that's his job, right? No different than anyone else in the media.

Steve
Steve

What, there's not enough rancor between Tucson and Phoenix, now we're making a big deal about PHX versus Tempe? Jeez, in the old days we called it THE VALLEY OF THE SUN. Do we have to actually live in the city where we listen to music, or can't we, via the wonders of cars,light rail and bikes, just go where the music is?

Phoenix loses nothing by Tempe's success, Tempe loses nothing by Phoenix's success. If it's a case of sales tax, our music scene is a financial blip on the radar. If it's about bragging rights, perhaps we need to consider what's most important.To me,what's important is that there IS ANY live music in an era where the majority of folks work, drive and interact with ear-buds constantly playing their own canned and perhaps purloined music.

Dan Gibson
Dan Gibson

I love pseudonyms, especially when they allow someone to make anonymous comments/insults without opening themselves up to the same level of criticism. Awesome. Hit me up on Facebook, dude. Let's be friends.

First, I spent a fair amount of time criticizing Niki's work publicly on Idolator, so I think I'm on the record for what I think of her writing/choice of material to cover (although that's nothing personal, either). Brendan, I thought was better than Niki, but too infatuated with the scene he covered, especially considering he would insert himself into the story a fair amount, talking about who he was hanging out with, etc. Who held the job before Brendan? Michelle? I don't really remember. I stand by my statement.

However, I guess the one paycheck I've received from freelance work (and the one forthcoming) could be perceived as bias, if you want to think so. It generally takes more than a couple hundred bucks to change my opinion, but maybe that's different for you. Everyone has their price.

I think you're somewhat confused on what Martin's role is a journalist. He's not being paid to support the "scene" (WTF that term means, I don't even know), but to report and entertain. Get people to pick up papers and visit the website. Kimber's organization or the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce or whoever don't pay Martin's salary any more than Audio Express and Asian massage joints do. Martin's job isn't to like exactly what you like or promote the venues you happen to hang out at, it's to offer opinions, like the one above. At face value, barely knowing either Kimber, Ben or Martin, I'd have to say Martin's statement that the balance of power is shifting to Tempe is probably more pro-Phoenix than Kimber handing off the Modified or Ben leaving town. Who knows what will happen in the end (Ben might be right about Modern Art, downtown might explode with new venues), but getting upset about something like this article probably just means you need to get thicker skin...something "scene" types aren't really known for, even if they have lived in Phoenix for twenty years.

Hotchman
Hotchman

As someone who used to work for a local indie label that fell apart for about a billion reasons I can tell you that Ben's comment of needing to be in faces is true. If a label wants national attention than they have to be in NYC, LA or Nashville in some capacity. People have mentioned some indie labels that have stayed in their towns and "succeed" but I would argue that true success never really found those labels or their artists when they were on those labels. To find success for the label, and not loose your artists to a "major" later some people from the label need to be in the meetings, at the offices, in the bigger clubs and talking to the right people. Could Modern Art only have offices in the Valley and find success? Of course it could, but that success would be limited and the Valley would loose its bands to major labels a hell of a lot quicker.

To Martin's point about the Downtown Scene vs. The Tempe scene. I say that is a whole lot of CRAP. I have watched the VALLEY music scene for 15 years now, from deep in the trenches and high in the stands and one thing stands out to me: People need to realize that to find real success we need to consider our scene as the WHOLE VALLEY! I am very very happy for every on at 23 West and every bar in Tempe that has live music but critics and haters need to realize a couple things:1) It takes a max of 45 minutes to get to any club in the valley these days.2) The Tempe of the 90's is never coming back. Forget it, move on.3) The Valley Music scene has always grown in pockets, died in pockets and came back in pockets.4) And finally: Opinions are like arseholes, everybody has one, and the Valley has more of them than a proctologist's office during a hemorrhoid out break.

This is a VALLEY MUSIC scene so people need to stop talking about the death of one area and the rise of another.We all need to support MUSIC in the Valley not CenPho, DownPho, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, etc. THE WHOLE GODDAMN VALLEY!

Ima Sphincter
Ima Sphincter

Really, Dan, Cizmar "the best music editor they've had in recent years"? I wonder if you say this because he was the first one to give you a job freelance writing for New Times? And Niki, I do have some analysis to add, and that is this: I've lived in this city for more than 20 years, and I resent someone who's only lived here for 2 acting like the scene lives and dies by his opinion. Kudos to people like Kimber Lanning, Rodney Hu, and Ben Collins, who are actually doing something for this city's scene aside from just tearing it down from a lofty, haughty position.

Ben Collins
Ben Collins

Look, the statement "only time will tell" is something I can live with. Thats just a fact of life I'm not going to argue over.

I do not mind skepticism, but to blatantly proclaim that we are the "canary in the coal mine" and automatically assume that Phoenix has lost Modern Art is dead wrong. Especially when we are rallying and expanding our local resources all the while involving national distribution and promotion that can really help bands in this city.

The statement that " the downtown scene just didn't mature fast enough to keep guys like Collins around." is the kicker. Who says? Where does this fact come from?

Yes there are indie labels around the country that exist without living in New York. Scratch the surface there and you will realize that 95% of the bands on those labels are underserved....and wind up leaving those situations as quickly as possible.

We're doing our best, thats all I can say....I look forward to unveiling our new local partnership in the near future, I think most people in Phoenix will be pretty excited about it.

Dan Gibson
Dan Gibson

To me, at least, it seems like Martin's column is a lot more reasoned than people are giving him credit for (especially since he does mention near the beginning that he's expressing his opinion), but I can see where people like the Modern Art folks might be a little defensive about the idea that they're abandoning the town that nurtured their success. Believe me, I'm no Cizmar/New Times apologist, although I think he's probably the best music editor the paper has had recently.

Still, I think Ben's argument that Modern Art NEEDS to be in NYC is a little fallacious. Sub Pop might not be the best example, but labels with major label deals or upstreams are all over the country and especially in the internet age manage to stay connected to their corporate overlords. If you feel like the best thing for Modern Art or your wallet is to move, go ahead and move...but it seems difficult to parse as a "good thing for Phoenix". The best thing for Phoenix is likely to keep creative people at Arizona influencing others (think Saddle Creek's connection to Omaha, let's say), not to have well connected friends in the big city. It's hard to love two cities simultaneously, and you tend to love the one you're with. Only time will tell, but I think it's fair to be skeptical, at very least.

Ben Collins
Ben Collins

Martin Cizmar's recent column spelling out the death of Downtown Phoenix is so far off the mark I have felt the need to write a response addressing the statements made regarding Modern Art Records:

Amongst the vast buffet of negative mis-informed statements made in the story, Cizmar writes that Modern Art is leaving Phoenix.

This statement could not be further from the truth. We are expanding our operation in order to bring MORE resources to the scene. We are simply splitting our operations between Phoenix and NYC. Modern Art has forged a new LOCALLY BASED alliance (of which I will reveal at a later time) all the while striking a national distribution deal with the Warner Music Group. An office in NYC is imperative to facilitate proper attention and funding (as this is where our Warner team is based) with the hopes of shedding light on the very scene we are supposedly abandoning.

We will continue to sign bands from Arizona and give them a platform to make careers for themselves in music. We will also continue to keep our spending local as often as possible. (such as manufacturing our advance CD's, merchandising, promotional posters, freelance graphic design, etc.)

In the world of major label politics and funding, you have to constantly fight for EVERYTHING! And that means being in the faces of these suits on a daily basis! I will fight for the cause of Phoenix until I cease to exist!!!

I don't know how that hurts the 15 year old kid in Gilbert who wonders how he's going to get a break in music?

For Martin to claim that our city is dead, is like writing a review of a movie he only saw half of. Where was Martin when Roosevelt Row was NOTHING 5 years ago? What did Martin think about Grand Ave when it was a ghost town? I wonder what he would have thought about First Fridays when we were struggling 10 years ago to get 150 people out on the circuit? He's been here 2 years and now fancies himself an expert. For the life of me, I can't figure out how anyone that has seen the rise of our city could conclude that our scene is dying today.

He imagines a return to the glory days of Tempe when the Refreshments ruled the roost. (Excuse me while I throw up) How would he even know what life was like back then!???

The transformation of Modified does demonstrate that we have challenges ahead of ourselves. But we are not dead, we have simply outgrown the clothes of our youth and it's time we get some new threads.....and Kimber Lanning is doing us all a real favor by forcing the issue. Sometimes the medicine doesn't taste good, but it is much needed for our development.

"Well Sub Pop stayed in Seattle...why can't you?" Martin reasons.....the answer is, I simply can't afford to fly back and forth between to make the wheels turn on a national level for our artists. I have spent more money the last year and a half on travel expenses then my own rent in Phoenix...and all this is cash that could be better spent on our artists!

If I had a deeper pockets or a larger travel expense account, I would gladly stay at home with my beloved family, 90 year old grandparents, best friends, etc. I GUARANTEE you that the heads of other indies have traveled extensively to Los Angeles and NYC to ensure their artists and business are getting their proper due.

To me, the music editor of a weekly in a major city has journalistic responsibilities. He is not there to be a cheerleader, but a professional reporter should check his facts and do their best to get an idea of the context of the information being relayed.

In the final paragraph of the story, Cizmar writes "the scene didn't develop fast enough for a guy like Collins to stick around" . This is the statement that irks me the most as it's complete speculation and TOTALLY untrue as it implies that I'm turning my back on Phoenix.This move to set up a 2nd office is motivated by the drive to improve my hometown and like I wrote above, to garner more resources and attention to the music scene in Arizona.

Martin wrote to me, "Everything in my story is accurate Ben, enjoy Brooklyn". This writer is so arrogant, he thinks HE determines what is fact and what is fiction. Without speaking to anyone he went ahead and drew his own conclusions and when called out, has the audacity to claim that he knows my intentions better then I do. Apparently the job of music editor gives one god-like status.

Myself and the rest of the Modern Art crew will have nothing to do with this paper until these sensationalist, factually untrue statements are retracted. Our longtime weekly's music section is better suited for the checkout line next to The National Enquirer now that credible reporting has taken a backseat to rumor and inuendo.

Martin, the next time you or one of your reporters wants to call me at 11pm on a Sunday to address the scene rumors you hear at Bikini Lounge, think of another source. I love that you take the time to fact check silly bar talk and then abandon that practice when it comes to writing a hate piece about the scene that keeps you fed.

I look forward to the day when Phoenix can have a legit weekly to accompany and appropriately document the historic rise of our community....the good and the bad (using FACTS not opinion based on incomplete experience).

Phoenix you are not dead, do not let uninspired/uninformed outsiders like Martin Cizmar shape our story for their own jaded benefit.

Dave Brookhouser
Dave Brookhouser

I think the reality of it all is that The Valley has a god awful music "scene" (I use that term very loosely). And the only one to blame is US (and I suppose a lack of a college radio station and a real Independent Alternative Weekly).

That said as in any city we ARE flush with great bands that get zero traction because no one follows bands here (other than their immediate friends and family). Even the bands on the same bill rarely hang around to check out the others on the bill (a real shit move in my opinion, and they to are part of their own problem).

Unfortunately (for us CenPho-ites) Tempe HAS and continues to be where most of the music venues are. i.e. The Last Exit, Yucca Tap Room, The Marquee and The Sail Inn all have great bookings on a nearly daily basis.

On the other hand CenPho has: The Rhythm Room, The Ruby Room, The Lost Leaf, and to a much lesser extent Chars Has The Blues (which doesn't even try), The Celebrity Theatre and a TON of Galleries (of which I don't really count due to the lack of liquor and inability to generate enough money to book established local acts much less national touring acts). With that in mind I'd say between CenPho and Tempe they are pretty equal at this point.

As for Modified I've been in The Valley for 15 years (after living in Minneapolis and Milwaukee), and Kimber Lanning is and has been the local music scenes most vocal advocate and I'm sure she will continue to so. She's clearly put her money where her mouth is and we all owe her a great debt of gratitude for it. That said I really don't think losing Modified has any real bearing on the CenPho music "scene".

The fact is that BOTH Tempe and CenPho COMBINED are a BILLION miles away from having a vibrant local music scene ala Chapel Hill, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, New Orleans and even Milwaukee (amongst others).

And to make matters worse we lost Nita's Hideway many years ago (a like wise venue that we desperately need back) and before that The Electric Ballroom.

We all need to find our favorite bands and then support and follow, them it's that simple. And speaking of ... you could start here (links to local bands and their music).

http://www.cenpho.tv/Personal_...

Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz

the fact that mr. cizmar says the trunk space is becoming a "smaller version of the smell" demonstrates everything that is wrong with the alternative music press in phoenix right now. phoenix doesn't need a smaller version of the smell, nor is the trunk space a smaller version of the smell. the trunk space is a gallery that opens its doors to music run by two people who do everything they can to support local musicians, regardless of genre, politics, or fiscal aspirations.

why is there any need to compare it to a space 600 miles away? why not celebrate all the great shows that happen there on a regular basis? why not wonder why more people don't take advantage of it?

moreover, how often has the new times considered how many MORE all ages venues there are in the Valley than in other big cities that are actually accessible - financially - to promoters and bands?

i guess i don't really understand the reason for this column. this is all news that has been reported.

i guess the first defense of stuff like this passing as any kind of journalism is usually "a column is, like, OPINION, man, DUUUUUUUH." ok. but i think a good column advances more than the level of discourse you'd expect to find being shouted over the jukebox at the bikini lounge at 2AM on a wednesday.

phoenix and tempe both have really vibrant house show scenes. the manor, the old bike saviours co-op, the tribe, the son house. and both have pretty good gallery scenes. and touring bands that get accolades and acclaim from people across the country in bars, basements, and venues.

a scene isn't something you tabulate in record deals or "professional" musicians. it's what you live when you spend nights drinking in wonderful music with old friends, new friends, potential friends, neighbors, visitors. phoenix doesn't have a lack of amazing bands or people - or places for the two to meet.

modified was an amazing venue. i wasn't really ever into the modern art scene, but from what i hear, those were solid dudes who made good music. i'm sure folks'll miss'em, but come on! get real.

Shane William Kennedy (Turn Ba
Shane William Kennedy (Turn Ba

Downtown Phoenix is losing ONE place, a very important place, and Tempe is gaining one place, with has the potential of being a very important place...However Downtown Phoenix is gaining something, too, which again, has the potential to be very important...As, primarily, a music fan, but also a member of BOTH the Downtown Phoenix music community AND the Tempe music community, I see this is a win/win for our city. I'll go to see band that I like in EITHER city, and I will perform, happily, in EITHER area. It's not constructive to get in a Phoenix vs Tempe squabble. I expect GREAT things from the new Modified, different things, yes, but GREAT, and I expect great thigs from the Tempe crew. Change happens, & we can make it what we want it to be, we are in control of it. Certainly there are enough amazing musicians & visual artists to go around, and certainly enough music & art fans...Remember folks, Mr. Cizmar is expressing his OPINION, and he is just one man. We have the power to prove him wrong, which I suspect he would like us to do. We are really all one city! Support great art & music WHEREVER it happens to be...and next year Mr. Cizmar, I'm sure, will be pleased to write a follow up saying how wrong he was. We, the fans, the musicians, and the artists are in charge of the success or failure of our communities, no one else.

Ben Mantooth
Ben Mantooth

This is probably going to come off the wrong way, so apologies to the author...we really do appreciate the free press, even before we open the doors.

I just want to point out that the new venue in Tempe, 23 West, is not necessarily an addition or extension of The Yucca Tap Room. True, Rodney does own the building, and he is a tremendous asset to have on our team (both in vision and hard work), but I just hope people don't assume the the two venues are essentially one in the same.

All booking and general oversight of 23 West will be conducted by The Mantooth Group. We are excited to be a part of Rodney's concept of bringing arts and music back to Tempe, and we hope both businesses continue to thrive for years to come. We are certainly disappointed that Phoenix has decided to start closing up shop, when it seemed they were looking to set the bar for urban culture in the Valley.

Like I said, this post probably comes off as ___________. But it's nice to meet you.

-Mantooth

Niki
Niki

Hey Sphincter, did you actually have any analysis to add to the discussion, or did you just want to take a cheap shot at Martin? Personally, I think he has a point. It'll be interesting to see if Tempe actually starts to get more shows with bigger crowds now that Modified's changing. I'm not sure I agree that the Rhythm Room, as the Valley's premier blues venue with the occasional rock show, has any competition at all, least of all the Clubhouse. Two vastly different venues with two vastly different crowds, I think. But I definitely see the crowd that used to frequent shows at Modified gravitating toward Hu's new place.

Ima Sphincter
Ima Sphincter

Everybody look out. The mighty Martin Cizmar, purveyor of all that is cool in a city he doesn't even know, has decreed that "downtown is ova." Obviously, he's the Ohio version of pop culture Nostradmus, come to Phoenix to give his oh-so-lofty opinion. So it it written, so it is ova? Whateva.

The local music scene does not live and die by Modified alone.

 
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