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Goat Head Saloon in Mesa Closes Down

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Karaoke fans of the East Valley planning to swing by the Goat Head Saloon in Mesa for some crooning tonight had better look elsewhere. Same for blues cats who were planning to hang out this weekend during the Sunday jam session.

That's because the Goat Head has evidently closed down, either temporarily or permanently.

We've heard rumors of its closure over the last several days from a few local musicians and promoters that have had events at the Mesa bar recently. Employees of neighboring businesses at the Country Club Drive strip mall also told New Times that the Goat Head shut down within the last week or two.

The place itself has been locked up tight during prime drinking hours the past few nights. Two flyers for Dan Dan the Karaoke Man, who hosted weekly sing-a-longs at the bar, are hanging by the front door pointing patrons to his other gigs around town. Furthermore, Goat Head's phone number has been disconnected.

New Times hasn't been able to confirm whether the closure is temporary or permanent, as messages left for Goat Head Saloon owner Jason Marke haven't been returned as of this writing. But if Goat Head has, indeed, gone under, it would mark the end of a rather eclectic venue in a city that isn't exactly overflowing with live music joints. (Hell, a few online wags at real estate blog Movoto ruffled a few feathers locally recently when they included Mesa in a list of the "10 Most Boring Cities in America.")

Many moons ago, the bar was known as the Friendly Irish Pub, a spacious and homey Celtic-themed drinking place with all the usual trappings. In 2007, however, Marke purchased the liquor license and rechristened it Goat Head Saloon and amped up its live music offerings.

Rock bands were frequently featured at the bar on weekends -- particularly those of the harder-edged and metal variety (locals like St. Madness, Hemoptysis, Tridon, and Fracture Point all gigged here). Ditto for rock acts of a more bluesy, alternative, psychedelic, punk, or funk-oriented nature.

Goat Head also went through lengthy jags where Americana-influenced groups and such jam bands as Xtra Ticket were the norm, while folk singer/songwriter Carey Slade also ran a long-running acoustic open mic on Mondays night.

During its lifespan, however, the bar also welcomed in the DJ, hip-hop, reggae crowds for acts like Bassnectar, Kung Fu Vampire, and Tony Rebel.

Goat Head also apparently had a brief flirtation with the Rudie crowd in its waning weeks, as local ska DJs Beat Betty and Fullstop spun up third wave, rocksteady, and 2-tone gems on vinyl on Wednesday night at the beginnings of the month. Sadly, it may wind up as one of the final nights of music, live or otherwise, at the Goat.

We're sure its regulars are bummed out over the closure, as evidenced by a recent comment left on Goat Head's Facebook wall: "Sorry to see you guys go...Thanks for everything."

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