Most bands' idea of a mixed media show is wearing hand-painted tee shirts from their girlfriends, which is why the Hypnotwists' sensory assault never meets with a mixed reception. Holed up at the Emerald Lounge on Wednesday nights, the band has turned the place into one of those sweaty Swinging '60s nightclubs where Terence Stamp might walk in and meet Julie Christie. Of course, Terry and Julie wouldn't be caught dead here, but chances are they might turn up in a movie projected on the stage: The Hypnotwists seem to favor black-and-white movies where people shag standing up. What ties all the swirling colored lights together is the band's music, a blend of garage, surf and soundtracks that keeps folks on the dance floor even when breathing space is a limited commodity. People dancing at a local rock show? These guys have really built the better time machine.
Phoenix has long been a town rife with tribute bands. Groups of every size and style -- from Mötley Crüe, the Cure and the Cult to indie sensations like Guided by Voices -- have been represented by local cover outfits. But this past May witnessed perhaps the most original and disturbing such homage, as Billy Gordon's in Tempe served as home to the first, last and only performance from Satellike: A Tribute to Satellite -- The Whitey Years. The brain child of former Valley band (and current L.A. residents) Stone Bogart, Satellike played less like a local music in-joke than a loving homage to the Tempe pop combo and its over-the-top front man Stephen Ashbrook. Satellike's faux Ashbrook even dressed the part (leather pants, tinted glasses, etc.) while tearing through an alarmingly convincing set of Satellite standards. Now that's rock 'n' roll.
Phoenix has long been a town rife with tribute bands. Groups of every size and style -- from Mötley Crüe, the Cure and the Cult to indie sensations like Guided by Voices -- have been represented by local cover outfits. But this past May witnessed perhaps the most original and disturbing such homage, as Billy Gordon's in Tempe served as home to the first, last and only performance from Satellike: A Tribute to Satellite -- The Whitey Years. The brain child of former Valley band (and current L.A. residents) Stone Bogart, Satellike played less like a local music in-joke than a loving homage to the Tempe pop combo and its over-the-top front man Stephen Ashbrook. Satellike's faux Ashbrook even dressed the part (leather pants, tinted glasses, etc.) while tearing through an alarmingly convincing set of Satellite standards. Now that's rock 'n' roll.
Promotional blunders can usually be blamed on the band: a sexist flier, an offensive tee shirt or a show where some form of wildlife inadvertently gets neutered. But here's a case where the band was duped by a duping house. The Cremains had a great idea -- passing out free copies of their new CD to the crowds exiting annual metal extravaganza Ozzfest. The Cremains got UPS delivery of the discs the day of the show and sped over to the concert to give out 700 CDs, not realizing that a major manufacturing gaffe resulted in the wrong music being burned onto their CDs. They came home horrified to find that those lucky Ozzfesters had been given an album by a limp R&B lounge group instead of the hard-rocking Cremains. These guys deserve a medal of honor not only for making the manufacturer immediately press another set of CDs, but also for soldiering on with the same name after bewildering headbangers with their strange new direction.

Promotional blunders can usually be blamed on the band: a sexist flier, an offensive tee shirt or a show where some form of wildlife inadvertently gets neutered. But here's a case where the band was duped by a duping house. The Cremains had a great idea -- passing out free copies of their new CD to the crowds exiting annual metal extravaganza Ozzfest. The Cremains got UPS delivery of the discs the day of the show and sped over to the concert to give out 700 CDs, not realizing that a major manufacturing gaffe resulted in the wrong music being burned onto their CDs. They came home horrified to find that those lucky Ozzfesters had been given an album by a limp R&B lounge group instead of the hard-rocking Cremains. These guys deserve a medal of honor not only for making the manufacturer immediately press another set of CDs, but also for soldiering on with the same name after bewildering headbangers with their strange new direction.

Inside the easeful Emerald Lounge you won't find any big-screen TVs for beer-gutted armchair athletes, or barmaids whose hopped-up attitudes are in direct proportion to their surgically augmented breasts. What you will find is a bohemian atmosphere straight out of 1966, a place where cheap booze is served up by genial drink-slingers in an ambiance of unaffected warmth. On any given night, a gnarly live rock band or DJ booms music that runs the gamut from hickabilly to glitter rock for an unusual mix of off-duty strippers, hot-rodders, professional drunks, working-class stiffs, and the usual cadre of artists, posers, writers and musicians.

With its dark, sapphire-hued interior, local artist motifs and juke, this dingy den is a glorious old-man bar to some and a killer rock 'n' roll club (where the shows are free!) to others. But no matter how it's perceived, Phoenix's sole bastion of the avant-garde can never be accused of taking itself too seriously.

Inside the easeful Emerald Lounge you won't find any big-screen TVs for beer-gutted armchair athletes, or barmaids whose hopped-up attitudes are in direct proportion to their surgically augmented breasts. What you will find is a bohemian atmosphere straight out of 1966, a place where cheap booze is served up by genial drink-slingers in an ambiance of unaffected warmth. On any given night, a gnarly live rock band or DJ booms music that runs the gamut from hickabilly to glitter rock for an unusual mix of off-duty strippers, hot-rodders, professional drunks, working-class stiffs, and the usual cadre of artists, posers, writers and musicians.

With its dark, sapphire-hued interior, local artist motifs and juke, this dingy den is a glorious old-man bar to some and a killer rock 'n' roll club (where the shows are free!) to others. But no matter how it's perceived, Phoenix's sole bastion of the avant-garde can never be accused of taking itself too seriously.

This now legendary incident happened on September 23, 2000, at Long Wong's on Mill. Big Blue Couch's show ended abruptly just a few minutes into its set because of equipment troubles. But the barflies at the longtime Tempe watering hole got their money's worth when a minor argument between bassist Jon Demrick and drummer Jayson Gilbert got nasty, turning into a full-blown fistfight, and ending with about a thousand dollars' worth of damage to the bar's famed streetside glass window. Although the band kissed and made up shortly afterward, the BBC battle easily goes down as the year's top tussle.

This now legendary incident happened on September 23, 2000, at Long Wong's on Mill. Big Blue Couch's show ended abruptly just a few minutes into its set because of equipment troubles. But the barflies at the longtime Tempe watering hole got their money's worth when a minor argument between bassist Jon Demrick and drummer Jayson Gilbert got nasty, turning into a full-blown fistfight, and ending with about a thousand dollars' worth of damage to the bar's famed streetside glass window. Although the band kissed and made up shortly afterward, the BBC battle easily goes down as the year's top tussle.

Someday, sometime, somewhere, somebody is going to sell his copy of that album you've always wanted, but could never afford at full price. When he does, he's gonna sell it to Zia, and Zia's gonna sell it to you, at a big fat discount.

This venerable Valley institution has better than a quarter-century of history under its belt, starting with its hole-in-the-wall beginnings on the old, funky Mill Avenue (back when Starbucks and the Gap were delightfully absent from the entire world). In addition to delivering the area's best cash-or-trade offers for those CDs cluttering up your own collection, Zia on University does a brisk business with the local college crowd, providing excellent turnover even on newer pop releases. But a deeper rooting through the stacks reveals a stock of rich diversity: Looking for that hard-to-find collaboration between Bongwater's Kramer and Penn Jillette? That'll be seven bucks. Also, Zia's topnotch jazz and blues sections make this location much smarter than your average college rekkid store.

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