Big changes took place in the Valley's nightlife landscape, to say the least. Music venues, nightspots, and dance clubs alike all entered and exited the scene. The loss of some (say like Jugheads, PHiX, or the Copper State Tavern) were mourned greatly, while other more reviled establishments (Club Mardi Gras) saw folks pissing on their graves.
Meanwhile, 2010 saw the coming of a new batch of live music options to the East Valley, include the Nile Theatre, 910 Live, The Underground, and Long Wong's.
Here's a complete rundown of which places came and went, as well as some of the bigger openings and closings.
BIGGEST OPENINGS OF 2010:
Long Wong's at the Firehouse: While it's nowhere near as cool as the old joint on Mill Avenue where the Gin Blossoms, The Refreshment, and other renowned bands got their start, the new version of Long Wong's in Tempe has been serving up live music from outstanding local bands on practically a nightly basis since opening back in February. Some of the killer acts I've personally witnesses at the establishment include Kirkwood Dellinger, Kevin Daly's Chicken and Waffles, and Hashknife Outfit.
School of Rock: Mill Avenue went through plenty of changes as well. Sucker Punch Sally's, The Library, and Cherry Lounge & Pit all went away, only to be replaced by Diverti, Blondie's, and this nightclub and rock bar which features a variety of drinks, dancing, and live music throughout the week.
The Underground/Nile Theatre: Not only did the aforementioned Long Wong's re-debut, the old Boston's was reincarnated into 910 Live and the legendary Nile Theatre and its basement performance space made a long-awaited return. Although its true that the focus of both the Underground (which debuted in February) and the Nile (which opened in July) has been more on pop-punk and indie rock bands, it's still pretty cool to have live music gigs taking place again in downtown Mesa on a regular basis.
The Firehouse: Old Town Scottsdale has seen plenty of new lounges and dance clubs spring up over the past 12 months, including Revolver, Shotgun Betty's, and Smashboxx. But the new undisputed king of the scene has to be the Firehouse. It's done boffo business ever since the establishment opened in October in the space formerly occupied by Mickey's Hangover, with dames and dudes flocking through its doors to dance and debauch until 4 a.m. on weekend nights.
The Blooze Bar: The owners of this North Phoenix bar and music joint were deqalt a bad blow when the Blooze Bar was ravaged by fire in July and nearly completely destroyed. They managed to bounce back and completely restored the Blooze to its original luster after more than a dozen local bands pitched in with benefit shows over the summer to help fund the effort. As a result, the Blooze made its return in the fall.
Here's a complete of establishments that made a debut this year.
Denim & Diamonds
Long Wong's at the Firehouse
Musical Instrument Museum
School of Rock
The Sweet Spot
BIGGEST CLOSINGS OF 2010:
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Chyro Arts: Live music venues really took a hit in 2010 (Mardi Gras, Sucker Punch Sally's. et al). One of the first to go was this Scottsdale gem that hosted a variety of intimate performances by indie and underground artists.
Jugheads/Copper State Taven: After 12 years of serving as a home for punk rock bands both local and national, this East Phoenix instituion gave up the ghost over the summer. And then the punk community took another hit this past month when Glendale's Copper State Tavern (which its owner described as the "West Valley's version of Jugheads") went belly up as well. Punk rock may never die, but local venues offering the genre are definitely dropping like flies.
Club Forbidden: The property at Fifth Avenue and Indian School Road in Scottsdale made its name in the 1990s as the venerated Anderson's Fifth Estate. Around two years ago, however, it became the gay-friendly joint Club Forbidden. In the last month or so, it was reformatted once again, this time into the Vagabond Ballroom.
COMPLETE LIST OF CLOSINGS:
AZ Country USA
Copper State Tavern
Howl at the Moon
In the Zone Sports Bar
The Library Bar & Grill
Sucker Punch Sally's