With the impending arrival of Filter Magazine's Phoenix newsletter, it feels like a lot of eyes are on our music scene. Here's hoping Filter digs in and really investigates. I did so in April 2010, attempting the goal of going out to a different show every night for the entire month.
The idea was mainly a way to keep myself occupied as I got over a breakup (Hey! It turns out dudes want to talk to 22-year-old girls who are alone at bars!) but it made me realize just how much live music goes on in this city every night.
People complain that we're not like Nashville or Austin, but we still have our nightly music options open. Phoenix is a musical city, you just have to know where to look.
With the budding success of downtown venue Crescent Ballroom's I thought it was a nice time for a look at a few venues who have been doing the nightly music thing for years.
Here's a few of our favorite places to see a show.
The Lost Leaf
Blink and you'll miss it. The Lost Leaf is a converted house near Downtown's Roosevelt Row
. It isn't as "underground" as some of it's bearded, plaid-enthusiast patrons wish it was, but with a nightly schedule of solid local acts and touring bands, The Lost Leaf has solidified itself as one of the coolest bars in Phoenix. Drop by for The Hot Plate with DJ Smite
for a little dancing action, or chill out with regulars Fatigo, Jiggle, DJentrification, Running From Bears
Named after the legendary '90s Mill Avenue mainstay, Long Wong's at the Firehouse carries on the musical tradition of it's namesake. Their shows are like clockwork. Everyday of the week, the venue has one "regular," which include Darkness Dear Boy and What's Left on Wednesdays, Poem on Fridays and Andrew Brown on Saturdays. They also throw in the occasional touring band or "big time" local act.
For decades, Yucca Tap Room has made its home in a shitty Tempe strip mall, but the venue consistently hosts not-so-shitty music. Rodney Hu suggested to his father, then-owner of the bar, that they start hosting live music in the '90s. The key was to never, ever charge a cover. Since then, Hu has been the first to see small local acts blow up into national stars.
Since reclaiming it's spot on Farmer Avenue, right near Mill Avenue in Tempe, Sail Inn has really cut back on the stab-factor. I appreciate that. They've always been local music purveyors, but now with a solid lineup of local acts every single night (and some fairly big national ones,) you can drop in any night and catch something cool. They almost always have a cover, but when you mix in the occasional shitshow customer, it's kind of two shows in one. Worth it.
It's a rare night when Rhythm Room isn't hosting music. Traditionally a blues bar, Rhythm Room also hosts a long lineup of regular rock acts. Sized somewhere between The Clubhouse and Trunk Space, it's the perfect fit for bands that are just starting to gain momentum.
The name pretty much says it all. Char's primarily hosts blues, R&B and funk, and they do it every single night of the week.
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Same location, two different venues. Club Red and it's smaller counterpart, Red Owl, see a steady stream of rock, metal, punk, ska, rap, hip-hop and other artists. No doubt there's always something going on in at least one of these venues. Since they host just about any kind of music, it's best to check their concert calendar
before dropping in.