That's why we dig the creative mini-geniuses John Ryan Nelson, James Fella, Ashlea Hohm, Marla Thyer, and James Roemer of local sensation Tent/City, who incorporate objects such as saucepans and kitchen cutlery into their atmospheric sound. The playing of these "instruments" is only part of the ensemble's full sound. Live gigs normally feature one 20-plus-minute composition, where several members sample live sounds from woodwind instruments or human vox, which are then thrown into a digital sound processor to create ambient loops. These sound collages are played while the sextet are huddled under some sort of makeshift tent structure, such as a PVC pipe assemblage with colorful streamers, a pillow fort with blankets and sheets for the roof, or inside a camping tent on the Grand Avenue sidewalk.
If you can't catch this wonderful circus in person, recordings of these performances are available for purchase at www.gilgongorecords.com/tentcity.html.
Well, those things are all well and good, but the two things that really put Psychostick at the forefront of Phoenix bands were 1) Having fans that play in bigger bands, and 2) That damn "Beer!!" song that they're probably sick of playing already.
When Psychostick's debut, We
Couldn't Think of a Title (Rock Ridge) came out late last year, members of L.A. metal band Otep specifically bassist eViL j and singer Otep Shamaya started singing the praises of the wacky quartet, steering thousands of Otep's fans to Psychostick's music. Then, XM Satellite Radio station Squizz 48 put "Beer!!" in heavy rotation, and the song dominated the No. 1 spot on the station's top-10 countdown for seven consecutive weeks. The video for the song then popped up on Web sites like Ebaumsworld.com and Collegehumor.com, forcing Psychostick to identify as "the band that does that 'Beer!!' song." We can't wait to see what their next accidental hit is going to be.
For a while, there was a mounted boar's head hanging on the wall, courtesy of caveman rocker Ted Nugent. There are also numerous signed photos, set lists, and even signatures all over the walls outside the bathrooms. Clearly, Cooper's got friends in high places. Unfortunately, none of the memorabilia is for sale, but it's all there for the looking. And if your wallet does get antsy sitting in your pocket while you're scarfing down the restaurant's award-winning barbecue, Cooper's got a merchandise stand near the entrance, where you can buy all sorts of Cooper gear, from baseball jerseys to shot glasses.
What else could you ask for? Well, you didn't ask for it, but here's a little history: The Hi-Liter's been in business in one form or another since 1962; it was a piano bar before it went go-go in the '70s. And, oddly, it had a hand in the creation of what eventually became Hustler magazine. According to Larry Flynt, who explains it all in his autobiography An Unseemly Man, it was while scouting strip clubs in Phoenix back in the day that he spotted a copy of the still-extant freebie adult newspaper Bachelor's Beat. Flynt's Dayton, Ohio, franchise of this PHX pub eventually morphed into Hustler, which now has its offices in a big, black building in Beverly Hills. Class dismissed. So Hi-Liter has another claim to fame other than being an awesome chichi bar, and one of the many places Mike Tyson's flipped out at while living in Sand Land.
The catch? Winners gotta show a little booty, or just enough to expose their half moon. Our favorite calendar girl pinups include women shooting hoops, lining up a bull's-eye shot with a bow and arrow, fiercely smashing a tennis ball over the net, and walloping a volleyball in midair. Drink specials include $2 Pyramid hefeweizens and bargain-basement deals on Skyy vodka cocktails. For once, crack won't kill ya.
Sometimes she brings out players from other teams in the league, like her good friends Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm. Fans come out to shake hands and take pictures with the players, who're very accessible and not at all secretive about their favorite watering spot. In fact, after the Mercury's last game of the regular season in 2007 (a victory over the visiting Sacramento Monarchs), Taurasi did an on-court interview following the game and announced to the whole arena, "Now we celebrate with some drinks at Majerle's!"