UPDATED: BLK Live in Scottsdale Closes Temporarily — Is Noise the Issue?

A DJ performs on the outdoor stage at BLK Live in Scottsdale in 2017.
A DJ performs on the outdoor stage at BLK Live in Scottsdale in 2017. Benjamin Leatherman
Updated, 3:45 p.m. Saturday, August 17: BLK Live has released an official statement and contacted Phoenix New Times with additional details regarding its temporary closure. See below for more info.

If you were planning to hang out or rock out at BLK Live this weekend, we’ve got some bad news. The north Scottsdale bar, restaurant, concert venue, and pool party joint closed for business on Friday, August 16. Its proprietors say the shutdown is only temporary.

A concert at the venue by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke on Friday, August 16, was canceled.

News of the venue’s sudden closure and the concert’s cancellation was a surprise, both to ticketholders and Clarke himself, who had reportedly flown into Phoenix to perform.

The guitarist tweeted early Friday evening about his show getting nixed and BLK Live being shut down, although he stated that the venue was closed permanently.

A post to BLK Live’s Facebook page on Friday night, which was later removed, confirmed that it was closed and that Friday's show was canceled. 

"Due to unfortunate circumstances the Gilby Clarke show has been canceled — we hope that he can come back later in the year for his Scottsdale fans. To our supporters [sic] BLK Live is still open and will reopen next week. Thank you."

Refunds for the show are available via Ticketweb for patrons who purchased tickets.

Rocco Visnjic, BLK Live’s director of operations, echoed the Facebook post when Phoenix New Times spoke with him on Friday night.

"We ran into a little minor issue internally that we're trying to resolve," Visnjic says. "We had to close over the weekend."

Visnjic declined to elaborate on what exactly the "minor issue" was but said BLK Live would reopen "hopefully within the next couple days."

Update: Visnjic released a statement on Saturday morning regarding the matter. It cited "business transitions" as the cause of the closure and also mentioned issues with the City of Scottsdale and neighboring residential areas.

"Unfortunately, with the overlapping of these transitions, it has caused some disruption to our immediate operation. We would like to sincerely apologize to all of our patrons for any inconvenience that this may have caused," the statement read. "As an established venue that’s been operating successfully for the past four years we’ve been challenged by the City of Scottsdale with numerous false accusations by the city council and surrounding neighbors."

BLK Live, which has hosted concerts on its outdoor stage since it debuted in 2017, has reportedly been at odds with the residents who live near the venue over noise caused by its concerts.

An online petition was started in February to urge the City of Scottsdale to revoke BLK Live’s conditional use permit, which allows it to host live music. It currently has 277 signatures.

BLK Live applied for a new use permit earlier this year, which would’ve allowed its owners to build a larger outdoor stage and host higher-profile concerts and private events. (The venue’s current use permit dates back to 2014 when it had different ownership and was known as El Santo.)

Residents near BLK Live urged the city to reject its permit application, which owners of the venue reportedly rescinded.

According to Scottsdale’s city ordinances, businesses serving alcohol and providing live entertainment can’t generate noise louder than 68 decibels. In an email to  New Times on Saturday afternoon, Visnjic said that BLK Live’s concerts have never exceeded that level.

“Not once has [BLK Live come] even close to that number, our house production engineers are very professional when it comes to keeping the sound at the appropriate level,” Visnjic said in the email.

Scottsdale’s communications and public affairs director Kelly Corsette told the Arizona Republic on Saturday that the city hasn’t taken any enforcement action against BLK Live and is not responsible for the venue’s shutdown.

According to BLK Live's website, three shows are scheduled to take place at the venue in the coming weeks: a performance by rock band Arizonan Summer on August 23, a gig by Led Zeppelin tribute act The Zeppelin IV on August 30, and a pool party featuring DJ duo Dada Life on August 31.

Visnjic confirmed that all three shows will take place as scheduled.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.