Arguably one of the most vital and prolific live music venues in Arizona is closing for good. On Saturday, April 3, Long Wong's on Mill Avenue showcases twelve of the notable local bands that have gotten it attention over the years, including signature Tempe acts such as Dead Hot Workshop, Gloritone and rockabilly pickers Flathead, who will be celebrating -- or as the occasion warrants, consecrating -- the legendary club's closing. Other notable performers are the Piersons, Pistoleros and relative Tempe newcomers Fifteen Minutes Fast.
Local fiction writer MC Skittles, who's been a longtime regular at Wong's, quotes poet James Tate when he suggests that the final show at Wong's is "for the sake of all the great devout losers who've either played or frequented the club over the years."
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The significance of the bar's closing extends beyond the local music scene. Long Wong's has stood vigil on the corner of Seventh Street and Mill for 20 years, and many of its patrons have watched as neighboring bars and businesses, such as the equally legendary Six East, have lost their spots on Mill to developers' greed. And when Wong's falls to the unyielding capitalistic nightmare that is the new Mill Avenue, it will not only be another blow to a suffering local music scene but could also accelerate the disappearance of downtown Tempe's fading authenticity.