A few hours from now, the dulcet crooning of Mario Moreno and the swingy sounds of his backing act The Ramblers will waft out of The Western and into the Scottsdale night air, announcing the arrival of the area's newest live music spot.
The stylish honky-tonk, which (as we reported last month) was born of a partnership between nightlife impresario Tucker Woodbury and concert-promoting guru Charlie Levy, celebrates its official grand opening tonight. And though the joint's debut is about three weeks removed from the early-April opening that its proprietors originally aimed for, The Western is well worth the wait.
As Up on the Sun stated in March, The Western will function as "a vintage roadhouse and country music venue with the heart of an old-school honky-tonk," as well as boasting Woodbury's trademark flair for chic repurposed digs (see: The Little Woody, The Vig, etc.)
Scores of antique signage line its mushroom-wood walls and surround primo secondhand furnishings and upcycled remnants of Woodbury's old Scottsdale honky-tonk The Rocking Horse, which was destroyed by fire in the '90s. However, there's enough room for dancing in the place too, which Woodbury hopes patrons will do in earnest while local musicians and bands perform.
Starting tonight, The Western will regularly host tunes and crooners on its red curtained stage that are firmly in the down-home realms of country, Americana, rockabilly, y'allternative, and other rootsy styles. Such live music genres are in relatively short supply in Old Town Scottsdale (save for the renowned Rusty Spur Saloon a few miles to the east), despite the city's storied Wild West history.
He's glad to have Moreno and his band on hand at The Western's grand opening, since it will be like a blast from his past.
"Mario used to come into the Rocking Horse with his ensemble and perform, so it will be a lot like those days again," Woodbury says.
It's taken a few weeks to get country sounds going at The Western, but Woodbury says it's just part of the normal process of shepherding along a new establishment to its public debut.
"It was just a bunch of the usual things that come with trying to get a business open," he says. "Some things cost more others, deliveries aren't made on time, or it takes a little longer to make sure everything's ready to go."
But a soft opening last weekend, which featured music from The Tony Martinez Band, went well, Woodbury says.
Other than the joint's timetable for opening its doors, not much else has changed. Its weekly live music gigs will still feature Martinez and his crew, who Woodbury considered to be The Western's "house band," on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 9 p.m. Local chanteuse Sara Robinson will perform acoustic blues on beginning at 8 p.m. every Sunday evening, and honky-tonk band Trailer Queen will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
DJ Dana Armstrong, the longtime promoter of the weekly outlaw country night Valley Fever at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, will launch a second edition of the event on Thursdays at The Western next week.
Admission to The Western's live music events, Woodbury says, will be free, with the exception of nationally touring bands and musicians that will be booked by Levy, who he previously partnered with to create Crescent Ballroom in 2011.
"Charlie's working on some things right now and we should be able to announce the first big bands playing at The Western soon," Woodbury says.
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The Western's grand opening starts at 4 p.m. today. Admission is free.