You won't be able to catch local indie band The Brown Tones performing at the Ice House Tavern later tonight. Ditto for Six Gun Satellites and their gig on Saturday night at the dive bar.
That's because all upcoming live music events at the Ice House Tavern have been canceled.
A message posted to the tavern's Facebook earlier this week by former owners Daryl Chester and his wife Kenda, who sold the place last month in order to spend more time with their family, announced the news.
And the reason for the cancellation? Its new owners supposedly aren't ready to handle live music, at least not now. Possibly forever.
We regret to inform you that the NEW OWNER of Ice House Tavern Phx has asked us to cancel ALL SHOWS booked at the ICE HOUSE TAVERN. APOLOGIES ALL AROUND.....they are not quite ready to handle the FANTASTIC COMPLEXITY that is the local music scene! SINCERELY, Kenda & Daryl, former owners Ice House Tavern.
A second message posted to Facebook a few days later seems to hint that the move may be permanent.
"Effective 11-01-2014 the Ice House Tavern has changed ownership and discontinued live music. All shows are cancelled. Thank You." New Times reached out to Chester, who booked live music at the bar, as well as the Ice House's new proprietors for comment and further explanation but haven't heard back as of this writing. Andy Mellen, one of the property's co-owners, referred us to the tavern's new managers.
UPDATE: Chester got back to us but declined to comment on the matter.
About a half-dozen upcoming shows scheduled to take place in November and December -- including performances by rock and indie bands like Venkman's Ghost, Captive Crooks, Peasant Empire, and Mill's End -- have been nixed.
As we reported last month, Chester had hoped the Ice House Tavern's new ownership would continue featuring bands at the bar, which is located rinkside at Arcadia Ice rink and has become a local music hub in the last several years.
He told New Times at the time that he was under the impression that the new ownership would continue hosting live entertainment and that all of the upcoming shows that he booked would go off.
"That is that they have led me to understand," Chester told us in October. "Now, anything could potentially change down the road, but if I were to believe that they weren't going to keep having [shows], I would've called the bands and told them I'm selling the bar and canceled. But I truly believe that those nights will go on, the bands will be able to play there and I think they're going to continue with live music."
Guess not. At least, not for the foreseeable future.
Response to the cancellations has been one of both sadness and anger.
A response to the more tersely worded Facebook announcement regarding the cancellations from Ice House Tavern patron named Chad Martin was a bit on the irate side.
"Man, someone really feels bad about cancelling these shows and no longer supporting live music. The emotion really oozes from this message. Won't be going here anymore."
Another response from a local named Shane Collie was equally as incensed.
"Good luck getting people in the door," he wrote. "Live music there was probably about the only thing keeping that bar in business."
Musician and Ice House regular Lewis Ray Cammarata was a bit more subdued in his response.
"[Thanks] for the heads up Daryl and Kenda," he wrote. "I know I speak for all of us here when I say how much we miss you and your commitment to this cool little scene you established. Too bad just too damn bad."
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