The Valley’s music scene is on hold because of COVID-19, but local artists are still keeping busy and earning attention for their efforts while venues are struggling to survive. Here’s a rundown of recent news that’s been happening across metro Phoenix’s music landscape.
Rhythm Room Raises $37,000 to Pay Its Bills
Central Phoenix blues venue the Rhythm Room got a helping hand from its patrons and fans recently to take care of its bills and stay afloat during the pandemic. On December 12, owner Bob Corritore launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising money to help pay off the venue’s sales and property taxes, back utilities, permit costs, and other operating expenses. As of Thursday afternoon, it’s raised $37,102, more than double Corritore’s original goal of $15,000.
Corritore tells Phoenix New Times the bills and expenses have piled up since the Rhythm Room shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He initially didn't want to resort to a crowdfunding campaign, but says he had few options. “I found myself with my back against the wall. I had bills needing to be paid by the end of the year and there was no place to go,” Corritore says. “So, reluctantly, I bit the bullet and did the GoFundMe.”
He’s been “completely overwhelmed” by the response to the campaign and the support for his venue, which opened in 1991. “I'm quite frankly amazed by what happened. It's very reaffirming that what we're doing is appreciated and loved,” Corritore says. “It's very much a relief since there's oxygen now to breathe with.”
Dogbreth Is Blowing Up, Thanks to TikTok
The members of Phoenix-born indie band Dogbreth have been in the spotlight lately after getting some major love on TikTok last month and earning attention from Rolling Stone Australia. In late November, the punk/power pop act’s little-known first album, Chookie, was the subject of a now-viral TikTok video by a female user named @drolingus.
The 58-second video, which was posted to the platform on November 25, featured the young woman listening to the 2011 album after purchasing it at a Zia Records location and gushing over its artwork and music, loudly exclaiming “I love this!”
The video has earned more than 284,000 likes since its posting. As a result, Dogbreth’s Spotify account has also blown up, going from 589 monthly listeners to more than 34,000 over the past few weeks. The attention also led to a recent feature on the Seattle-based band and its founder, Valley native and vocalist/guitarist Tristan Jemsek, by Rolling Stone Australia.
“It just didn’t really seem real. It was funny too, because it was for an album I made almost 10 years ago,” Jemsek told the publication. It’s super wild, but it’s just super sweet and very heartwarming and came at a time when, like, I’ve been working on a new album – just kind of chipping away at it – and I had been feeling just kind of down in general.”
Mega Ran Has a Book Coming Out
Local rapper, teacher, gamer, and geek hero Raheem Jarbo can add “author” to his already lengthy CV, as the Valley resident, who performs as Mega Ran, has a memoir coming out. The 258-page book, which is titled Dream Master: A Memoir, will recount his adventures and rise to fame over the past several decades.
Jarbo wrote the book earlier this year and tells New Times it will chronicle “some key moments in my life and how music and video games have influenced them,” including how he shifted his career from the classroom to the rap world. The hardcover edition of Dream Master will be available in January, Jarbo says.
Marquee Theatre Postponing and Rescheduling Dine-In Concerts
If you had plans to attend any of the Marquee Theatre’s upcoming “dine-in” concerts, your reservations have been changed. Local promoter Luckyman Concerts, which owns the Tempe venue, has announced that it is postponing or rescheduling various shows in the series, which feature patrons dining in the Marquee’s main room while bands perform, due to the ongoing spike in coronavirus cases.
In posts to its Facebook account earlier this month, the promoter stated that this weekend’s performances by Geoff Tate and Authority Zero have been moved to February 6 and February 16, respectively. Meanwhile, a two-night stint by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, which was originally scheduled for December 26 and 27, has been moved to May 1 and will now take place outside the Marquee.
All tickets purchased for the original show dates will be honored. Additional rescheduled dates for concerts in the series can be found here.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.