Music News

The Most-Read Phoenix New Times Music Stories in 2019

Keenan watches his bandmates rock out.
Keenan watches his bandmates rock out. Andrew Marshall
One band dominated music in 2019. That was Tool.

Maynard James Keenan reignited his band's relevance after a 13-year absence with the release of the album Fear Inoculum and the subsequent tour in support of its release, plus putting the band's back catalog on streaming services. The frontman also has a Jerome zip code, making the quartet the biggest band from Arizona, which is another reason why they're the subject of three of the top 10 music stories in 2019.

You clicked on more than stories about the state's favorite musician/ winemaker. Clubs opened and closed in a matter of weeks, and legends graced the stages of Phoenix's arenas.

Here's a look at our top 10 music stories from 2019:


click to enlarge The sign for now-defunct Tempe nightspot BAC Lounge. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The sign for now-defunct Tempe nightspot BAC Lounge.
Benjamin Leatherman
10. BAC Lounge in Downtown Tempe Has Closed

"But because prime real estate in downtown Tempe or along Mill Avenue (a.k.a. party central for ASU students and the college crowd) doesn’t tend to stay vacant for very long, the spot is about to get a whole new identity."

9. Want to Listen to the New Tool Album Early? Drive to Jerome

"Due to overwhelming demand, the hybrid record store, art installation, and wine and barbershop owned by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan (and named for his other band) added another time slot for fans to listen to Fear Inoculum before it comes out on Friday, August 30."

click to enlarge Bert Sommer had, until very recently, been all but erased from Woodstock's history. - ALEKSANDRA STANGLEWICZ
Bert Sommer had, until very recently, been all but erased from Woodstock's history.
Aleksandra Stanglewicz
8. Remembering Bert Sommer 50 Years After He Refused to Open Woodstock

"Had he taken the stage that day, Bert Sommer might have become a star. Richie Havens, the fellow who took the folk singer’s place one late August afternoon in 1969, certainly did. But when Sommer is remembered, if he’s remembered at all, it’s as the guy who didn’t open Woodstock."

click to enlarge Jay-Z was the subject of one of our top stories of the year. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Jay-Z was the subject of one of our top stories of the year.
Melissa Fossum

7. Jay-Z Hires Celebrity Attorney Alex Spiro for Phoenix Family Threatened by Cops

"Billionaire rapper and businessman Jay-Z, a.k.a. Shawn Carter, has pledged to aid the family of Dravon Ames in their legal battle against the Phoenix Police Department. Jay-Z and his label, Roc Nation, have hired high-power New York attorney Alex Spiro to assist with the case."

click to enlarge Phil Collins felt something in the air tonight. - JIM LOUVAU
Phil Collins felt something in the air tonight.
Jim Louvau
6. Phil Collins' Final Act Was a Missed Opportunity

"The rest of the concert was an absolute blast that showcased the diversity of Collins' catalog, from Stuermer's ominous guitar during the signature track 'In the Air Tonight' to the soulful cover of The Supremes' 'You Can't Hurry Love.' The horns (and the f-bombs) blared on 'Invisible Touch,' and the confetti flew on 'Sussudio.' Then the singer sat down one last time with the anthemic 'Take Me Home.'"

click to enlarge Tool and their enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan performed on Wednesday, October 23, at Gila River Arena in Glendale. - JIM LOUVAU
Tool and their enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan performed on Wednesday, October 23, at Gila River Arena in Glendale.
Jim Louvau
5. Tool Put on an Exhaustive, Blistering Set in Glendale

"Seeing the band live, I started to see the appeal. Their music was dense and dynamic — proggy and complex at times, but with enough head-thumping fuck-yeah riffs and beats to keep it from getting too esoteric. While Keenan’s the most famous member of the band, the sound mix didn’t elevate him above the others. If anything, he was a bit quieter — ceding the spotlight to Carey’s forceful drumming and Jones’ knotty guitar playing."

click to enlarge You call yourself a real Arizonan? Psssh. Do you even fair, bro? - MELISSA FOSSUM
You call yourself a real Arizonan? Psssh. Do you even fair, bro?
Melissa Fossum

4. Every Single Concert Happening at Arizona State Fair 2019

"This year’s concert series is packed with legendary names from a variety of genres, ranging from hip-hop and pop to country and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. And, in all likelihood, you’ve heard each of their hits on the radio or your streaming service of choice."

click to enlarge RIP Track Club (2019-2019). - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
RIP Track Club (2019-2019).
Benjamin Leatherman
3. Track Club in Downtown Phoenix Has Closed

"[Thomas] Turner released a statement on Wednesday announcing the club’s closure and hinting at issues behind the scenes.

'After an extensive period mapping out the concept, design, sound, and menus for Track Club, we have come to the realization that as partners, we did not anticipate that this would tax one of us more than the others,” Turner wrote. “It is with this regret that we announce the immediate closing of Track Club for the foreseeable future.'”

click to enlarge Mick Jagger was caught in a crossfire hurricane at State Farm Stadium in Glendale - JIM LOUVAU
Mick Jagger was caught in a crossfire hurricane at State Farm Stadium in Glendale
Jim Louvau
2. The Rolling Stones Rocked Glendale, but That Sense Danger Was Gone

"That was probably the thing I missed most about The Stones: that sense of danger that pervades so much of their work. Jagger can be romantic, wistful, playful, and melancholy. He can also be perverse and sadistic, leering with delight over whatever lyrical transgressions he's committing.

That side of him was gone tonight. He was in entertainer mode. Few are better at it, but there were moments where I wish he would sing 'You make a dead man cum' at the end of 'Start Me Up.' It's probably silly of me to expect someone who's a grandfather now to still be Turner from Performance, but the allure of rock 'n' roll mythology is hard to shake."

It's Tool's world. We're just living in it. - JIM LOUVAU
It's Tool's world. We're just living in it.
Jim Louvau
1. The Reviews for Tool's Fear Inoculum Are In

"The quartet's highly-anticipated fifth album, which was delayed for 13 years, will be unleashed upon the world on Friday, August 30, on all streaming services and in the form of a 'deluxe physical art object,' which includes a compact disc, four-inch HD rechargeable screen with exclusive video footage, charging cable, two-watt speaker, 30-page booklet, and a download card that includes bonus music."
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil