The bad news just keeps on coming for live music in Tempe.
On the heels of recent news that a few high-profile venues are preparing to depart the scene, the staff at local band haven Long Wong's suddenly and shockingly announced Sunday evening that the Tempe bar and restaurant will close Monday night.
The message was posted to Long Wong's Facebook tonight stated the following:
After 4 years of great music, art & friendship we regret to announce we will be closing our doors. We have had to most amazing staff and experience and can't thank Tempe, Valley Metro area and all our incredible patrons and supporters over the years. With the culture growing we must take a huge step backward to have a future to move forward to and need the time to rest and repose.
We will keep everyone posted on what's to come down the line but tonight and tomorrow will be the last nights to come pay your respects, take photos and meet up in the place it all began. Tonight will be an open jam with some of your Wong favorites and tomorrow will be Sister Lip taking us on home . . . Thank you everyone for everything you've helped us create!!!
No gory details were provided regard the cause of the closure, although given that it's happening at the end of the month leads us to believe it's financial or relates to the rent in some fashion.
Taken by itself, the announcement is saddening, especially since Long Wong's has become a favorite spot for many Tempe and Phoenix bands and musician, but wasn't necessarily earth-shattering. But as the latest in a slew of Tempe music venue closures over the past two years, it's a bit depressing and might be portentous of the lessening influence of the city in local music.
When Long Wong's launched in 2010, its staff strived to carry on the legacy of its more famous namesake (the world-renowned Mill Avenue spot that gave birth to the Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop, Pistoleros, and other iconic bands of the '90s jangle pop heyday) while striving to find its own identity.
It's definitely a bummer, since Long Wong's had become one of the more funkier spots in Tempe, let alone the Valley, to catch a band. And its near-nightly live music offerings were certainly diverse, featuring a mix of up-and-comers like Sister Lip and The Woodworks with more established tastemakers like Fairy Bones and Playboy Manbaby.
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Sadly, the new Long Wong's ultimately suffered the same fate as its predecessor and will become another footnote in Tempe's music lore.