This long-standing north Phoenix rock club got a new, state-of-the-art sound system in the past year, allowing for concert-hall sound in a small room. Owner Joe Grotto has been booking bands that know how to take full advantage of a sonic boom, from the manic rockers of -itis to the brutal metal of Hellen to the roaring blues guitar of Carvin Jones. The Grotto has been hosting more all-ages shows in the past several months, and Joe Grotto recently relaxed his covers policy (bands used to be required to incorporate a certain percentage of cover songs into their sets). Now the club hosts more original music than any other club on the north side and packs the house on weekends. It's bumpin' on weeknights, too, as the pool and dart tournaments at Joe's — combined with such drink specials as $1.50 domestic longnecks — attract plenty of people looking for a friendly, good-time vibe.