The 15 Most-Read Metro Phoenix Music Stories of 2016

The Flaming Lips performed at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, October 22, 2016, in Phoenix.EXPAND
The Flaming Lips performed at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, October 22, 2016, in Phoenix.
Jim Louvau

What a tremendous year 2016 was. The music scene in Phoenix was no exception to the tumultuous turns of the past 12 months, and the community saw the openings of several exciting new nightlife spots and music venues and the release of some of the best local albums to come out in recent memory. The music scene also came together to mourn the too-soon passing of several beloved community members, from business owners to musicians.

Check out the biggest music stories to happen in Metro Phoenix in 2016.

Cobra Arcade
Cobra Arcade
Benjamin Leatherman

Cobra Arcade Bar Officially Opens on Friday
Cobra Arcade Bar added another feather to the cap of downtown Phoenix nightlife when it opened in early January. The arcade bar, which features around 40 classic arcade cabinets, was an instant hit, and it was nearly impossible to get in without first waiting in an excruciatingly long line. The bar continues to host not just arcade lovers but a number of nightlife events as well, including a DJ set by comedian Hannibal Burress earlier this year.

Jon Taffer hollers at AJ Hunter (center) and her two daughters during Brick and Barley's Bar Rescue episode.
Jon Taffer hollers at AJ Hunter (center) and her two daughters during Brick and Barley's Bar Rescue episode.
Screenshot via Spike TV

Baseline Sports Bar in Tempe Becomes Brick and Barley, Thanks to Bar Rescue
There was plenty of classic Bar Rescue drama when the crew stopped by Baseline Sports Bar in Tempe, a floundering sports bar that was so desperate for customers it hosted spaghetti wrestling nights. The irascible crew spruced up the interior and made some minor tweaks to the menu, and we all got to see the sausage being made.

The 15 Most-Read Metro Phoenix Music Stories of 2016EXPAND
Jim Louvau

Justin Bieber Looked Bored and Miserable at Gila River Arena in Glendale
Before you Beliebers start in on us, know that we weren't the only ones unimpressed by Justin Beiber's spring tour. It received a wide number of bad reviews, and Bieber released a bizarre rant on social media during which he interacting with his fans made him depressed. Sadly, it appears like the singer was going through some tough mental times when he stopped by Arizona, and it was reflected in his stage demeanor.

Brian Faber of Zia RecordsEXPAND
Brian Faber of Zia Records
Mary Papenhausen


Brian Faber, Owner of Zia Records, Died on Sunday
Tragedy struck Phoenix when Brian Faber. the owner of the beloved music/entertainment retailer Zia Records, died suddenly after suffering a brain hemorrhage and a stroke. An outpouring of support flowed for Faber, soon after, underscoring the depth of the loss of the man behind Zia Records' success in the past decade.

The Flaming Lips performed at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, October 22, 2016, in Phoenix.EXPAND
The Flaming Lips performed at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, October 22, 2016, in Phoenix.
Jim Louvau

Here's Every Single Concert That's Happening at This Year's Arizona State Fair
Arizonans love their state fair, and so do we. The bands that come to the fair every year are of consistently high quality, and this year was no exception. You could've seen Slayer, Big & Rich, Charlie Puth, and more.

5 Seconds of Summer's Luke Hemmings — rock star?EXPAND
5 Seconds of Summer's Luke Hemmings — rock star?
Leavitt Wells

Rock Is Not Dead, And 5 Seconds of Summer Proved It In Phoenix
We posed the age-old question of "is rock dead?" when we saw 5 Seconds of Summer this year.  But after hearing the ear-splitting shrieks of more than 10,000 young fans cheering on a pop-punk band of kids barely old enough to drink, we had to take another look at our assumptions about the musical tastes of young people. We ended up writing, "Rock may be dying, but it's not dead yet. For better or for worse, 5 Seconds of Summer is now the young face of rock music's shriveling monoculture. Eat your heart out, America."

Tempe's Brick and Barley thankfully didn't wind up suffering the same fate as the late Rocky Point Cantina.EXPAND
Tempe's Brick and Barley thankfully didn't wind up suffering the same fate as the late Rocky Point Cantina.
Benjamin Leatherman

10 Things You Didn't See During Brick & Barley's Bar Rescue Episode
We took a behind-the-scenes look at what Brick & Barley went through when it transitioned from Baseline Sports Bar. Some of the gems we discovered were that some of the problems the restaurant encountered during the infamous "stress test" the show puts owners through were manufactured, the specialty cocktails the crew recommended weren't popular, and that employees hate the new uniforms.

Masta AceEXPAND
Masta Ace
Courtesy of Masta Ace

Masta Ace: Don't Blame Artists For Bad Hip-Hop, Blame The Fans For Supporting It
When a low-key legend like Masta Ace tees off on fans, people tend to listen. And listen they did, as readers continue to flock to this story to this day. The gist of Masta Ace's point is that artists are who they are; they're not going to change what they do to fit a preconceived notion of what makes for "good" hip-hop. He was discussing guys like Young Thug and Migos, and he said that if you don't like how a new wave of hip-hop sounds, don't blame the artist — blame the fans for making it popular.

The exterior of The Womack.EXPAND
The exterior of The Womack.
Benjamin Leatherman

The Womack — A Vintage Lounge and Nightspot Inspired by Chez Nous — Opens in August
When Chez Nous closed back in 2009, Phoenix lost a beloved nightspot that provided live music, drinks, and a dark dance floor on which the people of the city could forget their worries. So when we heard that Tucker Woodbury, the man behind some of our favorite spots for music and food, was creating a new nightspot inspired by the bygone lounge, we got excited. So did the people of Phoenix.

Flathead performing at Long Wong's a long time ago.EXPAND
Flathead performing at Long Wong's a long time ago.
Courtesy of Tempe History Museum

25 Legendary Tempe Music Venues: Then and Now
Tempe's music scene has gone through a transition of sorts these past few years, but in the past, the city hosted a vibrant scene of bars and venues that made weekend nights in the town positively musical. We took a look at some bygone and beloved venues from the music scene's past and then shot pictures of what is in their place now. In some places, the buildings remain unchanged except for the occupants inside; in others, the old venues have been completely razed and replaced with something entirely unrecognizable.

Brian "Head" Welch performs with Korn at the 2012 Pot of Gold Festival in Tempe.
Brian "Head" Welch performs with Korn at the 2012 Pot of Gold Festival in Tempe.
Jim Louvau

Korn's Brian "Head" Welch Left Band, Found Jesus, and Almost Lost Everything
The tale of Korn's Brian "Head" Welch is one of success, drugs, rehab, and religion. On the way he almost lost everything to a conman, and in a surprisingly candid interview with us, he shared the details of the trials and tribulations of what happened after he left the band, found religion, and then triumphantly reunited with his former bandmates.

Lefty, in a screenshot from the now-private music video for "Jodi Ann Arias."EXPAND
Lefty, in a screenshot from the now-private music video for "Jodi Ann Arias."
Michael Cardoza/from the music video for "Jodi Ann Arias"

Phoenix Rapper Lefty Releases Music Video About Jodi Arias and PTSD
Lefty released a song and a music video proclaiming convicted murderer Jodi Ann Arias' innocence early this year, and the reaction was decidedly mixed. This being the Internet, people didn't just politely disagree and argue with the rapper's beliefs about the Arias trial; they viciously attacked the rapper's character.

The 15 Most-Read Metro Phoenix Music Stories of 2016EXPAND
Benjamin Leatherman

Now Open: Bones Rock 'n' Roll Strip Club in Scottsdale
A rock 'n' roll strip club sounds like something out of Quentin Tarentino's dreams, and there is something quite novel to the idea of a themed gentlemen's club. “We want to be unlike your typical strip club,” DJ Dave Wave told us at the time.

An artist's rendering of the 1,800-person capacity music venue that Charlie Levy is planning to open next spring.EXPAND
An artist's rendering of the 1,800-person capacity music venue that Charlie Levy is planning to open next spring.
Courtesy of Pat Cantelme

Charlie Levy To Open New 1,800-Person Music Venue in Downtown Phoenix
If you think of the downtown Phoenix music venues, the small-cap places are plentiful — Lost Leaf, Trunk Space, Valley Bar, and Crescent Ballroom are all downtown, and go down to Indian School and you'll find Rhythm Room and Rebel Lounge. There are also plenty of stages housing 5,000 people or more, from Comerica Theatre to Talking Stick Resort Arena. What's lacking, though, is a mid-sized venue, like the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Well, as we fist reported, Charlie Levy seeks to open a new venue that fills that niche. The venue should be open by spring.

Bruce SpringsteenEXPAND
Bruce Springsteen
Craig O'Neal/Creative Commons

No City Loves Bruce Springsteen The Way Phoenix Does
Surprisingly, Bruce Springsteen and Phoenix have a history. We took a look at the Boss' history with the Valley of Sun, which embraced him thoroughly long before the rest of the country followed suit.


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