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Arts & Entertainment

  • BEST HIP-HOP RADIO STATION

    KKFR-FM Power 92.3

    Power 92.3 has been bringing hip-hop to Phoenix since long before OutKast had every yuppie in town singing "Hey Ya!" at the company picnic -- and good thing. This stop on the dial puts formula-driven stations on the front street with rambunctious personalities and programming actually worth listening to. Our favorite is the "3:30 Dirty Dirty" where listeners get to… More >>
  • BEST CD STORE

    Stinkweeds Record Exchange

    As an independent business, Stinkweeds sets the right example. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, the store's new and used merchandise is well-defined: everything that's under the radar, from indie rock and punk to alt-country and electronica. Shoppers don't come here for the latest Top 40 hits, because they already know what to expect. And sometimes… More >>
  • BEST COUNTRY RADIO STATION

    KSWG-FM 96.3

    Although Phoenix now stands as one of the major markets for traditional country, many old-school country fans have become alienated by the city's other C&W radio outlets. Both come off a little too slick and commercialized compared to the off-the-beaten-path playlist favored by Wickenburg's high-powered KSWG. Calling itself Arizona's "Real Country" station, KSWG features a mix of old artists rubbing… More >>
  • BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC STATION

    KBAQ-FM 89.5

    Still the Valley's only classical music station, KBAQ differs little from the longhair outlets found in other major U.S. cities -- it's public-supported (and hence, subject to periodic pledge-week begging), run out of an educational station based at a university, and gets much of its programming courtesy of National Public Radio. Still, dependable "K-Bach" offers a tasty mix of specialty… More >>
  • BEST RADIO PERSONALITY

    Alice Cooper

    The Valley's own master of shock rock has been mining his shtick for so long now -- 35 years and counting -- it's easy to take his contributions for granted. (Who else would we have to blame for Marilyn Manson?) And Cooper's recent ventures, from the establishment of his downtown Alice Cooper'stown nightclub to his stint as the 7 p.m.… More >>
  • BEST BIG-CITY VIBE

    The Old Brickhouse Grill

    High ceilings, original artwork hanging on the brick walls, choice beers on tap, good lighting and sound for a stage that's visible from all over the room -- is this club really in downtown Phoenix? Believe it. The Brickhouse attracts a young, good-looking mob of music lovers with its casual, urban atmosphere as much as with its concerts. Strangely enough,… More >>
  • BEST EVENT THAT'LL NEVER GO MAINSTREAM

    Thru the Wires

    Hands down, this monthly experimental electronica night at Modified Arts cranks out the weirdest, most original sounds around. As you step through the doorway, the loud blast of breaks, digital beats and samples coming from inside will make you feel like the world's turned sci-fi. Depending on who's fiddling with the laptop on stage, the music that emerges from… More >>
  • BEST C&W NIGHTSPOT

    Handlebar-J

    With the granddaddy of Valley country clubs, Mr. Lucky's, closing last month, Handlebar-J, near the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Shea (a now prime piece of real estate it's occupied since the '60s), has become the default "king of clubs" for country music fans. Anchored by the Herndon Brothers Band, featuring loyal sons of original house band leader Brick Herndon… More >>
  • BEST CLUB FOR BLUES

    Rhythm Room

    Run by longtime Valley blues impresario Bob Corritore (host of KJZZ's 20-years-running Sunday night showcase Those Lowdown Blues), the Rhythm Room has earned its rep as a major house of blues by regularly hosting the biggest names on both the local and national blues fronts. Elwood Blues himself, a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd, heralded the RR as "one of the great blues… More >>
  • BEST CLUB FOR SWING

    Kyote Ballroom

    Being a swing dancer often means familiarizing yourself with all the places you avoided in your youth: senior centers, RV parks, Elks lodges and American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. And certainly, the Valley's VFW posts in both east central Phoenix and Sunnyslope offer a great swing scene on Sunday nights. But the Kyote Ballroom, behind the Denny's… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BAND

    Reubens Accomplice

    Jimmy Eat World doesn't have to go it alone in the national spotlight now that Reubens Accomplice is riding high on its excellent second album, The Bull, The Balloon, and The Family. Produced by J.E.W.'s Jim Adkins and released on Western Tread -- the fledgling label owned by Adkins and Valley promoter Charlie Levy -- this album has the satisfying… More >>
  • BEST BAND ON THE RUN

    The MadCaPs

    The first time we saw The MadCaPs, we did a double-take. This three-piece garage band was slowly cruising Roosevelt Street on a First Friday, performing out of the back of a pickup truck and turning heads the whole way. When they pulled into the parking lot of a nearby gallery, the impromptu concert attracted not only a bunch of art-walking… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP NIGHT

    Blunt Club Thursdays, Boston's inside PI (Priceless Inn)

    As even the most non-hatin' hip-hop head will admit, the only people supporting live hip-hop in town are the rappers who take their own turns on the stage. That said, Blunt Club Thursdays at the Priceless Inn in Tempe host more local rappers -- not to mention DJs, break-dancers and graffiti artists -- than anyplace else in town. Hosted by… More >>
  • BEST VENUE FOR NATIONAL ACTS

    Marquee Theatre

    Bellyache all you want about the beer prices or paying to park. When the legendary Nita's Hideaway closed its doors late last year, the Marquee came to the rescue. Without the Marquee, you have to wonder if we would've seen so many noteworthy national headliners, including The Strokes, Sonic Youth, Kanye West, and Motörhead. After all, it's pretty much the… More >>
  • BEST VENUE FOR LOCAL ACTS

    Yucca Tap Room

    We'll always be nostalgic for the mighty Long Wong's on Mill, the demise of which, earlier this year, left us scratching our heads about the future of local music. But it didn't take long for us to learn that the Tempe scene didn't die, it just found a new home at the Yucca. Rock and roots bands like the Pistoleros,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO HEAR EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC

    Arcosanti

    With apologies to those goodhearted kids who make up the local music scene, the real place to go for truly experimental tuneage isn't even in the Valley itself. Be warned, getting a mate or two to accompany you on the hourlong drive north to Paolo Soleri's hippie-dippy haven, perched on a windswept hillside, is almost as frustrating as trying to… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO TIME TRAVEL

    Memory Lane Records

    The kid is croupy and the boss is bitching and the mortgage is due, and, oh, for the good old days when the most important thing in your life was the release of the new Supertramp album. Which today is a very old Supertramp album, but which you can still buy (and maybe even a sealed copy!) at Memory Lane,… More >>
  • BEST ROCK RADIO STATION

    KCDX-FM 103.1

    While many of the nation's fed-up rock radio listeners have been fleeing to satellite pay stations to escape commercials and obnoxious DJ banter, the Valley's classic-album-rock fans continue to get treated to the equivalent of Sirius' "deep cuts" channel, The Vault, without the $12.95-a-month subscription fee. Thanks to a mysterious radio station owner named Ted Tucker who, near as we… More >>
  • BEST BLUES/JAZZ RADIO STATION

    KJZZ-FM 91.5

    A National Public Radio affiliate by day, KJZZ transforms into a chilled-out jazz station at the workweek witching hour of 7 p.m. Dominating the night is "Acoustic Jazz," a mix of jazz classics and newer traditional tracks, with silky-voiced local diva Blaise Lantana hosting the earlier segment and Paul Anderson, Michele Robins, Steve Conrad and Phil Pollard taking over in… More >>
  • BEST ALTERNATIVE ROCK RADIO STATION

    KEDJ-FM 103.9

    Even if The Edge didn't use "Independent Radio" as its catch phrase, we'd still be able to hear it in the station's pleasantly unpredictable programming. We love it when radio catches us off guard -- a rare thing these days -- and Edge DJs aren't afraid to spin something by the Supersuckers or Echo and the Bunnymen along with the… More >>

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