Opening/Closing

Last Exit Live to Open on March 22

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Kleinlein says they've been averaging 12-hour days the past two weeks sprucing up the interior and exterior of the cozy building, which is located on Central Avenue south of Lincoln Street and formerly was the home of divey rock bar The Ruby Room up until 2009.

A lot has changed at the venue since those days, courtesy of Kleinlein and his crew, ranging from a completely new 12-foot by 24-foot stage ("We went as big as we pretty much could for this room," he says) to revamped bathrooms and a snazzy soundboard.

"It's definitely a step up from the old Last Exit," Kleinlein says, referring to the bygone Tempe version of the venue that he ran from 2003 to 2009.

Swing by the reincarnation of the Last Exit in downtown Phoenix and you'll also see (and smell) the fresh layer of asphalt that was added to the parking lot a couple of days ago, as well as the area on the opposite side of the building, which used to contain scrap and junk that Kleinlein had cleared away in December. It's now where bands can park their tour vans and load in equipment via a new ramp leading up to the side of the stage.

And bands will start rolling their amps and gear into Last Exit Live exactly three weeks from tomorrow, Kleinlein says, when the venue holds its two-night soft opening. The gigs will also serve as after-parties for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival taking place that same weekend a few miles up the road at Margaret T. Hance Park.

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