With major concerts on hold for the foreseeable future because of the pandemic, many performers, promoters, and venues in Phoenix’s music scene are attempting to survive and adapt to the situation. Here’s a look at some recent local news about how everyone is faring, including temporary closures, socially distanced shows, and a fundraiser for a beloved local ensemble.
The Lost Leaf Closes Down Temporarily
Roosevelt Row bar and music venue The Lost Leaf has gone dark again to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The beer and wine joint, which reopened as an outdoor venue last November, shut down on January 4 because of the recent surge of cases. Owner Eric Dahl told the Arizona Republic it was due to concerns over putting their staff and patrons at risk.
“Sixty percent of the staff was okay to continue working, while 40 percent said they were not comfortable," Dahl says. “Since we’re short-staffed already, it was best to temporarily close until everyone is comfortable working.”
It’s the second time The Lost Leaf, which was closed last year from mid-March until November, has temporarily shuttered during the pandemic. Dahl and his staff will be busy during their hiatus though, as they’re reportedly renovating the Lost Leaf’s backyard area and building an outdoor stage.
Phoenix Symphony Raising Money Via GoFundMe
Just like the multitude of other musicians across the Valley, the Phoenix Symphony has taken a hit because of COVID-19. The classical music ensemble canceled it’s 2020-2021 season shortly after the pandemic hit Arizona last spring, furloughed its roster of musicians, and likely won’t perform again until the fall.
In the meantime, the symphony has done a few collaborative performance videos and turned to crowdfunding to help, launching a GoFundMe campaign last month to help support its musicians. The effort has gotten $16,162 in donations thus far with the goal of raising $30,000. “We realize that there are so many people in need right now, but if you are able and feel compelled to help the musicians directly, we have this [fundraising] campaign,” Viviana Cumplido Wilson, the symphony’s principal flute player, told KTVK Channel-3 recently.
The Higgs Planning Socially Distanced Concert
L.A.-based jam rock band The Higgs are scheduled to visit the Valley this weekend for a two-night socially distanced performance at Last Exit Live. The shows will take place on Friday, January 15, and Saturday, January 16, outside the downtown Phoenix rock bar. Capacity will be limited and the audience will be seated at several picnic tables and “pods” that will be set up throughout Last Exit Live’s parking lot. Mask usage, social distancing, and restrictions on congregating will be enforced. Tickets are $60 to $180 and will only be available in groups of two, four, or six patrons. More details can be found here.
New Strip Club Coming to the Valley
North Phoenix is getting a new strip club in the near future. According to City of Phoenix records, Crazy Girls Cabaret is set to open as a topless bar at 1926 West Deer Valley Road sometime in the next few months. The 16,984-square-foot property, which is situated on 19th Avenue, was the former location of Bliss Cabaret, another strip joint. The club’s liquor license was unanimously recommended for approval by the Phoenix City Council at itsmost recent meeting
on January 6.
Respect the Underground Launching Roku Channel
Fans of Phoenix hip-hop will soon have another outlet to sample the scene and catch performances by its artists. Local promoter and record label Respect the Underground is reportedly launching a Roku channel in the coming months, which will stream shows and music videos by Arizona hip-hop artists via the digital media device. RTU owner Justus Samuel told Phoenix New Times they're still ironing out details but he expects the channel will be available by late January or early February.
Footage from local shows and previous Arizona Hip Hop Festivals, which is promoted by Samuel and RTU, will be available, including performances shot for the fest's 2020 edition in December. "This is part of our move for 2021," Samuel says. "We're going to shoot these concerts and be able to show them to anyone with [a Roku]. It's going to help take RTU worldwide."
Front 242 Reschedules Club Red Show
Rivetheads of the Valley will have to wait until the fall to stomp around to Front 242, as the influential industrial/electronic rock act has pushed its upcoming gig at Mesa’s Club Red to the fall. It’s the second time the show has been rescheduled, as it was originally set to happen last fall before being moved to March 23. It will now take place on Wednesday, September 29, at the venue. Admission is $25 to $30. All previously purchased tickets for the concert will be honored, according to promoter 13th Floor Entertainment.