EDM Phoenix Opens Tonight and Brings More Dance Music to Downtown

If you're of the opinion that downtown Phoenix not only needs more nightclubs but also more outlets for DJs to perform, both of those wishes are about to be fulfilled. Later this evening, a new downtown danceteria called EDM Phoenix will make its debut along Central Avenue and will offer a prime spot for checking out -- as you might've guessed -- electronic dance music.

It's located in the former home of iconic gay lounge Amsterdam and the recently closed Bar on Central, but will feature an entirely different focus from either of those joints. Tracy Chavis, one of EDM Phoenix's general managers, says that the emphasis will largely be on dance music and DJs.

"The identity of this club is going to be a little different than it has historically," she says. "A bit of a different focus, different music, and a different look."

Downtown Phoenix has a half-dozen clubs partial to the many varieties of dance music -- ranging from Monarch Theatre, Bar Smith, and Sky Lounge along Washington Street to EDM Phoenix's next door neighbors Palazzo and DWTWN -- but Chavis feels there's always room for more.

"There are a few other clubs bringing in DJs [nearby] and now we have another outlet for the downtown community to check out more stuff and make the scene even bigger," she says. "We just want to provide more space for EDM for downtown."

And they've made plenty of space inside the club for both DJs and their fans. Chavis says it has gone through a "full build out" and remodel that's removed most traces of either BOC or Amsterdam with an eye toward making it more conducive to dance music and accentuating the historic property's architecture. As such, a custom-built illuminated metal bar has been installed, the DJ booth has been moved to the second level, and new lighting elements and a sound system have been set up.

"The bar is completely designed to accent all the exposed brick that we have to help take advantage of the architectural details that are pre-existing. Its a beautiful space, so we might as well do that," Chavis says. "And the sound is designed like you're in a speaker box that's going to be a holistic all-around-you kind of reverberating sound rather than the top down."

So when famed DJ and producer Tony Moran performs at tonight's grand opening, patrons will be surrounded by a cocoon of sound.

Other improvements that have been made include surrounding the DJ booth in mirrors, adding in various structural elements, and putting a second bar along the south wall. It gives EDM Phoenix what Chavis says is a "beautiful symmetrical feel."

If you were a fan of Amsterdam and the Bar on Central's incredible outdoor patio, which is long on both space and charm, the good news is that its been kept largely intact, save for some new lighting and an stage for DJs and live music that's been constructed. (Another holdover from the spot's previous identities is its LGBT-friendly attitude, as it will also host parties on Saturday and Sunday in connection with this weekend's Rainbows Festival.)

Besides making a wealth of renovations to the space, Chavis and others at EDM Phoenix have been busy dialing into downtown's DJ and art communities. They've tapped popular muralist JB Snyder to paint both bars and have hired Sean Watson for a yet-to-be-titled Thursday night residency. Chavis says they're currently negotiating with promoters both local and based out of L.A. to regularly bring in special guest DJs to the club.

Chavis believes that EDM Phoenix will fit well into downtown's DJ and nightlife landscape, especially with their neighbors Palazzo, which is home to many goth and industrial nights, or Latin dance parlor DWNTWN.

Down on Washington you've got Sky Lounge, Monarch, and Bar Smith and I've always thought that was interesting. Because when everyone comes out at two o'clock in the morning, you've got three different groups of people with different tastes in music all together," she says. "So I think that's a benefit and we kind of have the same setup here with the three clubs with three distinct identities. And that's cool because maybe you we're coming down to check out a goth night or a Latin night and then maybe you come in here and are exposed to something you didn't know about. And that's a benefit for us because we're all working together and not against each other."

EDM Downtown's Grand Opening featuring DJ Tony Moran takes place tonight.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.