Editor's Note: We here at Up on the Sun are sad to announce that we are losing Michael Lopez as a staff blogger. Lopez is moving back to his hometown, Portland, Oregon. Over the past three years, M.Lo has been a distinct voice on this blog and in print. You may not always have liked what he said (especially if you were a local band he was ripping in his You Asked For It column), but his overwhelming passion for music has always been apparent. Lopez's views about Crescent Ballroom don't necessarily speak for the rest of the staff here at Up on the Sun and Phoenix New Times, though it's safe to say we are all excited about the future of the venue. Join us tomorrow for a Lopez's five favorite shows during his time at Up on the Sun, and in wishing Michael good luck in his future endeavors. I'm positive we'll be hearing more from him in the future. --Jason P. Woodbury
If you haven't quite heard by now, downtown Phoenix is on the verge of opening a major music venue -- the Crescent Ballroom. It started as an interesting, then unknown name appearing on the tour schedules for such bands as Gang Gang Dance and St. Vincent, but the Crescent Ballroom has turned into a bona fide option for the live music scene in Phoenix.
Now that the Crescent Ballroom is a go, it has booked an insanely amazing initial lineup of shows -- M83, tUnE-yArDs, Washed Out, CSS, Miami Horror and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Seeing all of these bands live would have either a) taken about three years for all of them to decide to actually play Phoenix or b) require multiple trips to either Los Angeles or Austin.
Those responsible for the Crescent Ballroom -- Stateside Presents -- have thus done their part. I write this post, music fans of Phoenix, to say to you: get out, do your part and attend every show you possibly can at the Crescent Ballroom.
Let me preface what I have to say with two points: 1) I am in no way affiliated with anyone at the Crescent Ballroom or Stateside Presents. I gain nothing from endorsing their venue -- I merely have something to say and a limited time in which to say it. 2) This is my last week writing for Up on the Sun. I felt it necessary to say something about the Crescent Ballroom -- which I know doesn't open for another two months -- as I have watched it develop over the past month or so from a nascent, unrecognizable name into a full-fledged music venue with an impressive lineup of acts.
This post is no way a slap in the face of the Marquee Theatre, Rhythm Room or Clubhouse -- those are all still great venues with solid lineups of their own. There just hasn't been a venue like the Crescent Ballroom opening in Phoenix since I've been covering the local music scene -- a venue with such an impressive initial lineup of shows that has generated so much buzz. I see so much hope for the live music scene in Phoenix -- one that hasn't quite lived up to its potential in the past -- in the Crescent Ballroom. With this new venue, I believe Phoenix's live music scene can flourish. All it takes is that one, upstart venue willing to take a chance.
Located at 308 N. 2nd Avenue, the Crescent Ballroom will hope to resurrect what was once a fairly decent downtown music scene -- one that was, unfortunately, tenuously held together by Modified Arts. I say tenuous because no one ever left that venue thinking, "My, that was spacious!" or "The sound was truly fantastic tonight!" Modified, while it booked some rather impressive acts, always left something to be desired. It was an art gallery, after all, and the obvious constraints by hosting music in such a space only hindered the experience.
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Now the Crescent Ballroom enters the picture and carries with it a tantalizing slew of initial shows. Sure, it's about two months away from opening, but I have to say what I feel is necessary right now, as I won't be in Phoenix to monitor the venue's progress once it opens. My message is clear -- support the Crescent Ballroom. Tickets range from $5 - $20, so going to a few shows every now and then won't break the bank. The venue is located one block west of the Van Buren Light Rail station. Now, some shows won't exactly cooperate with the last Light Rail train east for the night, but the Light Rail option is still there, thus making it all the more easier to go attend shows.
As I said earlier, music fans of Phoenix, all it takes is a spark -- one brave, enthusiastic venue to help usher in a new era for the live music in Phoenix. The Crescent Ballroom is that spark. I want nothing more than to see Phoenix's live music scene flourish in the next few years. Sure, I have had my doubts about the live music scene after repeatedly looking at tour schedules and seeing bands play Los Angeles or San Diego and then skipping Arizona completely en route to Austin or Dallas, but that was because there was no real solid option for those bands in downtown Phoenix -- now there is. I will be sad to have missed out on it all, but I will still be able to feel a vicarious sense of pride knowing that the Crescent Ballroom is alive and well, booking solid show after solid show.
The Crescent Ballroom's yet-untold future rests in your hands, Phoenix music fans. Go out and see shows at the Crescent Ballroom -- do all you can. Stateside has done their part in booking these incredible bands, so do your part by buying tickets and attending these great shows.