After darkness falls every weekend night in Scottsdale, the city's entertainment district and its many bars and club pulsate with a cacophony of beats, thumps, and the lively thrum of happy chatter. Come daytime, however, its replaced with a nonstop thrum of pounding, grinding, and a flurry of beeps from heavy equipment in motion.
Construction is taking place seemingly everywhere in the area as there's a major drive going on right now in Scottsdale's nightlife scene. And much of it is in preparation for the two big party occasions on the horizon: New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl week.
Over the past year, one of the major projects in progress has been the construction of Livewire, the 11,000-square-foot live music and entertainment venue along Indian Plaza that will open on Saturday, December 27, will host concerts, comedy shows, and other performances.
It's one of the more high profile and much-anticipated establishments in the works for Scottsdale's entertainment district, as well as being one of its most unique. In an area of the city renowned for being a hotspot of DJs, dancing, and nightclubs, Livewire will offer something a bit different: live music and big concerts.
And that's one of the reasons why its proprietors at feel it will succeed.
"Something like this has never been done before," says Les Corieri, co-owner of Scottsdale-based Evening Entertainment Group, which operates Livewire. "That's why we love the idea so much and wanted to do this. Nobody's doing this type of entertainment in Scottsdale at this level."
While live music isn't a foreign concept to the city, as venues ranging from bars like The Rogue and Pub Rock to the esteemed Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts regularly host concerts -- it's something of an anathema in the club-heavy entertainment district. That's doubly true in Livewire's neck of the woods, where DJs and bottle service are the norm and the volume and energy level seems to be permanently ratcheted up to 11.
Corieri, who co-owns EEG empire of nightspots like The Mint and Hi Fi with his wife Diane, feels that Livewire could fill a certain niche.
"This is certainly the first of its kind and we're proud to have done it because we really believe in the project and we want to bring something different to Scottsdale," he says.
Livewire is located on the property that formerly hosted Axis/Radius, the iconic Scottsdale dance club that operated for 16 years before its closure in 2013. Towards the end of its run, Corieri says they were considering what could possibly come next. Instead of adding another nightclub to area's glut of danceterias and bars, they decided to go in a different direction altogether.
"When we were deciding to revamp this street and revamp Axis/Radius, we kept thinking about what we wanted to do," he says. "'How do we add to what we have in the district now? Do we want another nightclub like Radius? Well, we have one right now with Maya and The Mint.' It made no sense. So the missing piece, for us, for this district is live music on a big scale. Through years of designs and thoughts and talking to people on what we need to make it a great venue, this is what we came up with."
Livewire was clearly designed with live performances in mind. From the box office outside to a customized nook where bands and performers can sell merchadise, its focus will decidedly be on concerts and show. With a capacity of 1,130 people, the venue is certainly a big room. It's optimized acoustically and boasts a top-of-the-line Anya sound system (the kind used at the Coachella Music Festival) and an enormous stage that can be expanded for larger bands and ensembles and is backed by a 25-foot LED wall and ringed with a proscenium arch.
"You don't see many of those any more," Corieri says. "We wanted to have a classy vintage feel, so we wanted that arch. And it cost a lot of money to build one of those but we felt it was well worth it. It really sets the mood when you get into the venue."
The vintage flair is also extends throughout the décor, which includes wrought iron fixtures, a crystal chandelier, and a grand staircase that will lead patrons up to Livewire's second level.
Upstairs, a second bar, recessed VIP lounge seating allow the chance to view concerts from high above. Corieri promises, however, that the views are just as good downstairs, either at the expansive main bar or in standing room only audience section, as much thought was given to the venue's sightlines.
"Our sightlines to the stage are going to be incredible. The only way that you don't see it is if you go out on the outdoor patio, which, in that case, there will be TVs with feeds of the show," he says. "Acoustically, it's going to be a great room, big yet intimate."
Although a majority of the shows taking place at the venue with be live music, Corieri says EDM and comedy will have a home there as well.
"Yes, it's going to be primarily live music, but there will be EDM artists as well," he says. "This will be about all genres of music. You're going to see shows that cater to 20-year-olds all the way up to 50-year-olds."
The first concerts that have been announced for Livewire -- such as actor and musician Jeff Bridges and his Americana/folk side project The Abiders on January 9, ska legends The English Beat on January 10, and electro-house icon Steve Aoki on February 19 -- illustrate this balance.
Naturally, Corieri promises that Livewire will host some big concerts during Super Bowl week, although he isn't ready to divulge any names as of yet.
"We can't announce them yet because the contracts aren't signed yet, but, yes we will have some big things in the works," he says.
According to Corieri, most live music shows will be booked by Nashville-based promoter Madison Entertainment while EDM acts will be handled by frequent EEG partner Steve LeVine Entertainment. That said, however, Corieri states that they're amenable to working with local promoters as well, such as Lucky Man Concerts or Stateside Presents.
"Absolutely, our doors are open," he says. "We're here to work with other venues and promoters. No question."
He's also says the venue is open to any type of genre, from indie rock and metal to country and folk. And perhaps there's no greater proof of that statement than the first act that will perform at Livewire during its grand opening on December 27: indie folk-rockers Jared and the Mill. While the South-by-Southwest faves are not strangers to Scottsdale, having previously played at the Rogue Bar and Pub Rock, its certainly will be the first time gigging in the heart of clubland.
It's a perfect illustration, in a sense, of how Livewire differs from its neighboring establishments. It's a gamble, Corieri admits, but believes that ultimately, its one that will succeed.
"I think that's an honest question, but for us, I wouldn't do this in the middle of Phoenix. This is built within our district that we started and we feel comfortable here," he says. "We believe that this is something that people are wanting to see, want to see live music come to Scottsdale, and to be able to see a show, hop around to other bars and restaurants, and make a night of it. Instead of pulling into somewhere that's a destination [venue] and then pulling out and driving somewhere else."
Livewire's grand opening featuring Jared and the Mill takes place on Saturday, December 27. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10.
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