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Echo Cloud Brings Actual Local Rock to Mill Avenue's School of Rock

Despite its name, School of Rock on Mill Avenue caters less to the local music-minded than Top 40 listeners in ass-baring dresses that come from the suburbs to make a purchase at the meat market.

And that's cool. Every district has its scene, but knowing that just 20 years ago the street was an emerging rock center, it makes local rock music fans a bit sore. Seriously, how can a street hold that many polo shirts? Eventually the frat kingdom will fall, or at least that's Echo Cloud Productions' hope for Wednesdays at School of Rock.

Tonight, Echo Cloud will bring locals Doctor Bones, Quick Henry, Banana Gun and Isle of Essence to the School of Rock stage for the first show in a series they call the "Live on Mill Invasion." Taking Mill Avenue back to its roots and introducing "Mill types" to live music is at the core of Echo Cloud's mission.

"Mill is a great place to introduce and expose local music to people who you wouldn't necessarily find at an epic show say at Yucca, Long Wong's or Rogue on any given night," says Spike Brendle, artist relations manager for Echo Cloud and Sister Cities bassist. "Making more people aware of local music is Echo Cloud's main goal, so this seemed like a no brainer. Yeah, it's a Wednesday night, but who's to say Wednesdays aren't the new Fridays?

A twist on the typical Mill atmosphere, the show is 18+, allowing younger fans to get a taste of local flavor. After all, that's how Echo Cloud blogger Annamarie Sanchez first heard about the lovable freakfest that once was Mill Avenue.

"When I was 14, I lived in a small town in North Eastern Arizona," she writes. "I remember my friend coming down to "The Valley" and coming home with tales of her and her sisters walking up Mill Ave seeing people with neon mohawks on leashes. In my 14 year old mind, this was a place I couldn't wait to be old enough to fully enjoy. A long time ago, Mill Avenue was a place where people other than bros and hoes wanted to frequent with their button down shirts, cuffed up sleeves, fancy jeans and too small dresses and heels that not even a supermodel should be able to walk in. In the 1990s, it was a street with personality, weirdos, and music. As many know, this was the decade that put Tempe on the proverbial music map. Alas, that scene has died, and as another emerges, the fight to bring Mill back is here. For a street that once held such eccentricity, it now is chock full of club chains catering to top 40 dance remixes. Lately, we've seen a resurgence of local places popping up there, though. Let's hope this trend sticks and we begin with a live show, in '90s Mill Avenue Fashion."

The show starts at 8 p.m. The person to bring the largest group gets their $5 admission refunded at 10 p.m. Plus, if you're a musician, you can get in for free. E-mail [email protected] for the password

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Christina Caldwell