Celebrity Theatre
The famed rotating stage at Phoenix's Celebrity Theatre is a simply grand venue that's your best dollar-to-value bet for big-name live acts in the Valley. Nestled snugly in a part of town that is "rich in character" (i.e., near the women's prison), the Celebrity continues to expand its stylistic mandate, booking top-rank performers of all stripes -- gospel, country, neo-metal, Henry Rollins to Kids in the Hall -- into its copious space. The featured performer's long walk from the dressing rooms through the crowd, followed by the ascension to the slowly revolving stage, ranks as one of the best momentum-building tactics we've ever seen at a live gig. Row upon row of cushy, unimpeded seats will make you wonder why you ever stood up through a show without grumbling about it.
Technically speaking, Mega 104.3 doesn't qualify under the traditional definition of an "alternative" station. KAJM is more an old-school R&B powerhouse, specializing in back-in-the-day cuts from the likes of Cameo, the Gap Band, LTD, P-Funk, and the Ohio Players. However, since most modern rap and hip-hop tunes are doing little but sampling those familiar grooves, the station -- dubbed "Arizona Jamz" -- is the place to get in touch with music's true originators and creators, making it the Valley's genuine alternative to the modern mainstream. Despite a split signal that can fade from time to time, the station and its cast of on-air talent have earned the right to say they're alt.
Technically speaking, Mega 104.3 doesn't qualify under the traditional definition of an "alternative" station. KAJM is more an old-school R&B powerhouse, specializing in back-in-the-day cuts from the likes of Cameo, the Gap Band, LTD, P-Funk, and the Ohio Players. However, since most modern rap and hip-hop tunes are doing little but sampling those familiar grooves, the station -- dubbed "Arizona Jamz" -- is the place to get in touch with music's true originators and creators, making it the Valley's genuine alternative to the modern mainstream. Despite a split signal that can fade from time to time, the station and its cast of on-air talent have earned the right to say they're alt.
It's true, we'll miss wandering the swamp-cooled aisles of this cavernous vinyl trove, which recently closed its 12th Street location after nearly 20 years. But we don't have to miss the Pair's impressive assortment of dirt-cheap albums and 45s because -- best-kept-secret alert! -- the owners haven't really shut down at all. Although little was made of it last spring when owners Roger and Elaine locked the doors on their fusty record warehouse, the duo is now located exclusively on the Web, offering undistinguished and downright hard-to-find records.

Another secret: The vinyl selection posted on the shop's cyber site is only a fraction of Prickly Pair's inventory. A quick e-mail to this site helped us find Sonny and Cher singing in French ("Je M'en Balance Car Je T'aime") and a copy of Bob Lind's debut disc that everyone told us we'd never see. The only thing we like more than scoring cool old vinyl in a cavernous old record shop is doing it from home in our underwear.

It's true, we'll miss wandering the swamp-cooled aisles of this cavernous vinyl trove, which recently closed its 12th Street location after nearly 20 years. But we don't have to miss the Pair's impressive assortment of dirt-cheap albums and 45s because -- best-kept-secret alert! -- the owners haven't really shut down at all. Although little was made of it last spring when owners Roger and Elaine locked the doors on their fusty record warehouse, the duo is now located exclusively on the Web, offering undistinguished and downright hard-to-find records.

Another secret: The vinyl selection posted on the shop's cyber site is only a fraction of Prickly Pair's inventory. A quick e-mail to this site helped us find Sonny and Cher singing in French ("Je M'en Balance Car Je T'aime") and a copy of Bob Lind's debut disc that everyone told us we'd never see. The only thing we like more than scoring cool old vinyl in a cavernous old record shop is doing it from home in our underwear.

If a tribute band is good, it'll get some props from the organism it's replicating. But in the case of TNT, the Valley's AC/DC tribute band, the line between Who Made Who is getting ever blurrier. First the band did a Rattlers halftime show at America West Arena -- a venue the real AC/DC played just a few weeks later. Then TNT played a pre-AC/DC concert show at Jackson's, which the band's road crew checked out. They were knocked out enough to invite TNT backstage to meet Angus and the boys. More recently, AC/DC has given the green light for TNT to record an unreleased song. For those about to rock in their own AC/DC tribute band, we rebuke you: TNT is already miles ahead of you down the highway to hell.
If a tribute band is good, it'll get some props from the organism it's replicating. But in the case of TNT, the Valley's AC/DC tribute band, the line between Who Made Who is getting ever blurrier. First the band did a Rattlers halftime show at America West Arena -- a venue the real AC/DC played just a few weeks later. Then TNT played a pre-AC/DC concert show at Jackson's, which the band's road crew checked out. They were knocked out enough to invite TNT backstage to meet Angus and the boys. More recently, AC/DC has given the green light for TNT to record an unreleased song. For those about to rock in their own AC/DC tribute band, we rebuke you: TNT is already miles ahead of you down the highway to hell.
According to a report in Rolling Stone (the one with 'N SYNC on the cover), the current generation has no use for radio. Of course not, after five bleeping years listening to bleeping baseball-cap-wearing mooks making the middle finger innocuous and turning modern rock into a format with no future.

Want a real alternative? Try to get your radio to hold the frequency between country station KNIX-FM and dance powerhouse KISS-FM at the same time and, voila! Alternative Alternative Radio. Here are two formats that really need each other. Country music used to be about adultery, drinking and outlaws; now every song sounds like it was written by a couple and their marriage counselor. Meanwhile, Top 40 dance music has the attitude and the rhythm but no songs with a narrative. Put the two together and suddenly Alan Jackson sounds like he's got a pulse cuz Jessica Simpson's mistaking him for a DJ. If you ever thought Lil' Kim needed fiddles or imagined a catfight between Madonna and the Dixie Chicks, this is your ticket.

According to a report in Rolling Stone (the one with 'N SYNC on the cover), the current generation has no use for radio. Of course not, after five bleeping years listening to bleeping baseball-cap-wearing mooks making the middle finger innocuous and turning modern rock into a format with no future.

Want a real alternative? Try to get your radio to hold the frequency between country station KNIX-FM and dance powerhouse KISS-FM at the same time and, voila! Alternative Alternative Radio. Here are two formats that really need each other. Country music used to be about adultery, drinking and outlaws; now every song sounds like it was written by a couple and their marriage counselor. Meanwhile, Top 40 dance music has the attitude and the rhythm but no songs with a narrative. Put the two together and suddenly Alan Jackson sounds like he's got a pulse cuz Jessica Simpson's mistaking him for a DJ. If you ever thought Lil' Kim needed fiddles or imagined a catfight between Madonna and the Dixie Chicks, this is your ticket.

Renamed once again over the course of the past year, this Tempe dance palace (formerly Pompeii, then Club Freedom at Pompeii) remains the premier location to shake dat ass. Regular bows from world-renowned turntablists ranging from LTJ Bukem to Paul Van Dyk, appearances by old-school legends like Afrika Bambaataa, and celebrity DJ sets from the likes of Boy George and Perry Farrell have let Freedom reign as the number one spot in town for urban entertainment. In addition, the club keeps its weekly calendar packed with the best in local talent and special events, and you'll always find an army of nubile bodies letting it all hang out in this two-story mecca of music and movement.

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