Comings and goings on the local scene

Where do underage pirates go when they're thirsty? To the soda barrr!

Or at least that is where Jake Slider and Jason "Ace" McClellan hope underage music lovers will go if they're thirsting for local music. The co-owners of Neckbeard's Soda Bar have laid anchor in Tempe and hope their pirate-themed, alcohol-free venue becomes a mecca for lovers of local music, no matter their ages.

"Every venue in town makes underage kids feel like shit," McClellan says. "Lots of venues charge kids higher admission and have physical barriers that cram them into the back corner where they can't see the band they paid to see."

Neckbeard's boasts more than 40 sodas in old-fashioned glass bottles, along with a sound system to rival most venues in the Valley. "Most clubs are a bar first and a venue second," Slider says, "but when you walk into our place, you should see it as a fun place to enjoy good music."

The grand opening of Neckbeard's, located at 7 West Baseline Road in Tempe, will be held on Saturday, February 26. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Call 480-516-4211 or see for details. -- Lynh Bui

"We are not accepting any bookings at this time and we are now closed, indefinitely." So reads the Mason Jar's Web site, and at press time that was all anyone would say on the record. Owner Michael Manfredi abruptly shut its doors and cleared out his PA last week after a rumored standoff with Franco Gagliano, the former owner and founder of the club and current holder of the property lease. Several of the Mason Jar's scheduled national acts, like Acceptance, Blood Brothers, Entombed, and Amorphis, were shuttled over to the Old Brickhouse, Modified and the Big Fish Pub, with no further word of what, if anything, would become of Phoenix's longest-running rock club. For most of two-plus decades, the Jar served as a heavy-metal mecca, a place where touring bands on their way up or tobogganing downward could play. Guns N' Roses and Nirvana paid dues there in their early days, while Molly Hatchet and some fractured incarnation of the Bay City Rollers had the club on its '90s itinerary. Under the supervision of Manfredi, who owns the Mason Jar name, the club still managed to bring in great shows, from Frank Black to Turbonegro to Monster Magnet, so it seems unlikely that Franco would let the club slip into the ether without buying it back and installing another manager. Could he be looking for a place to hang his 8x10 glossies again? Stay tuned. --Serene Dominic


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