Guided by the shrewd vision of local arts wunderkind Charles Levy, Nita's is a welcome midsize venue in a town with more than its quota of overpriced stadiums and cramped coffee houses. Ever supportive of local talent, Nita's has become a necessary rite of passage for Valley bands looking to graduate from dad's garage to Phoenix's club scene, but Levy's particular genius lies in bringing remarkable talents to the venue's intimate space. Performers who've graced Nita's indoor and outdoor stages in the past year include Mogwai, the Melvins, Joseph Arthur, Wheat, Built to Spill, Calexico, J. Mascis, and Mike Watt, to name but a handful. On one thrilling evening, the generations came together peacefully when Dr. Ralph Stanley played a two-show engagement. Mudhoney opened its (supposed) last set of live shows here while the big portrait of JFK looked on serenely, from its eternal post beside the men's room door. All this, plus the most eclectic jukebox in the Valley (and possibly the world), makes Nita's the place to bring visiting friends, when they ask what there is to hear in this burg.

Mercy, it's hot, and that can only mean that the spotlight's going up at the Rhythm Room, where co-owner and booker Bob Corritore has been keeping the dirty blue flame lit for nigh onto a decade. The site plays host to legends of the form like R.L. Burnside and Henry Gray, and it also provides a historically rooted training ground for up-and-comers like the Royal Crowns and the North Mississippi All-Stars. With the RR's deep, wide layout and sunken dance floor, it's tough to find a bad seat, and the sound is generally nothing short of superb. The styles encompass swing and jump boogie, Delta blues, rockabilly retro, country slide and acoustic jazz. The variety and range of national acts can lend a happy air of unpredictability: When Southern Culture on the Skids last played the RR, they set up a half-barrel chicken grill in the parking lot for the ticket line and hired an exotic dancer for their road manager's birthday. You just can't put a price on that kind of cool.
The Rhythm Room
Mercy, it's hot, and that can only mean that the spotlight's going up at the Rhythm Room, where co-owner and booker Bob Corritore has been keeping the dirty blue flame lit for nigh onto a decade. The site plays host to legends of the form like R.L. Burnside and Henry Gray, and it also provides a historically rooted training ground for up-and-comers like the Royal Crowns and the North Mississippi All-Stars. With the RR's deep, wide layout and sunken dance floor, it's tough to find a bad seat, and the sound is generally nothing short of superb. The styles encompass swing and jump boogie, Delta blues, rockabilly retro, country slide and acoustic jazz. The variety and range of national acts can lend a happy air of unpredictability: When Southern Culture on the Skids last played the RR, they set up a half-barrel chicken grill in the parking lot for the ticket line and hired an exotic dancer for their road manager's birthday. You just can't put a price on that kind of cool.

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