We *heart* Downtown Phoenix. Yep, we are embracing the cliche. And what better way to expound on the object of our affection, then to share the voices of DPJ. Read on for a few of our favorite things.
Note: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the list of destinations mentioned here in one handy guide.
Si Robins, DPJ Managing Editor
1. Grilled vegetable sandwiches at the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar
2. Urban kickball at Conspire
3. Free nights at the Phoenix Art Museum
4. Urban infill at Plus Minus Studio
5. Retro duds at R&R Surplus
6. Virtually any cocktail at SideBar
7. The sheer potential of a space like Fractal
8. Environmental friendliness at Civic Space Park
9. Live music at the Lost Leaf
10. Tammie Coe cookies
11. Cornhole at Local Breeze
12. Biking in Encanto
13. The buzz at Suns playoff games
14. The relaxed vibe of Third Fridays
Yuri Artibise, Staff Writer
1. Business meetings at Lola Downtown
2. Chatting up tourists on the Metro Light Rail
3. Co-working at Lux Coffeebar
4. Buying unique housewarming gifts at Frances
5. Lusting after jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson
6. Discussing ‘infill development’ at After Hours Gallery
7. Having breakfast for lunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast
8. Stretching out on the grass at Roosevelt Park (3rd Ave, south of Roosevelt)
9. Searching for ghosts at the Hotel San Carlos
10. Winding down with a cookie and coffee at Royal at the Market
11. Getting disoriented in James Turrell’s light sculpture “Mohl ip” at the Phoenix Art Museum
12. Participating in the Critical Mass bike ride
13. Noshing on chilquiles verdes at Gallo Blanco
14. Sampling the rotating tap at Roosevelt Tavern
Kenny Bump, “Sips & Grub” Blogger
1. First meal at Gallo Blanco in the Clarendon Hotel
2. Watching The Swell Season in the Orpheum Theatre
3. Roosevelt Tavern
4. Tuck Shop
5. Jimmy Eat World’s Secret show at Modified Arts
6. The PHX Brew Party hosted by communitas
7. The view of Downtown from the top of After Hours Creative
8. Phoenix Design Fair in the Anchor Building
9. Dear and the Headlights during Star Swim on top of the Wyndham
10. Playing my first gig at the musical opening of fractal
11. St. Francis
12. Lux Coffee
14. The first First Friday I attended and knew that I didn’t want to leave
Janessa Hilliard, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Paddle boating in Encanto Park
2. Tea at the Japanese Friendship Garden
3. The view from the top of South Mountain
4. A picnic in Civic Space Park
5. Spending a day lounging by the rooftop pool at Hotel San Carlos
6. Biking around Downtown
7. Taking a tour of the State Capitol. Can you name the five c’s of Arizona?
8. Matt’s Big Breakfast – Why cook breakfast the morning after when you can just go out for it? Almost always worth the wait.
9. Cibo — It’s like your neighborhood diner, except with an outside patio that’s oh-so-romantic.
10. Paisley Town — If you want a variety of shopping & great food at one adorable, cohesive location.
11. Sweets & Beats on Grand Avenue — If your sweet tooth needs satisfying while adding to your record collection.
12. Lost Leaf — If you love a low-key atmosphere where the conversation is stimulating and the music isn’t overpowering.
13. Tammie Coe Cakes — There is nothing more beautiful — or delicious! — than these amazing creations.
14. The Compass Room at the Hyatt — The rotating dining room view is totally worth it, if you’re willing to shell out a pretty penny.
Deona Smith, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Local Breeze – My place away from home where everybody knows my name! This is hands down the best patio to chill out at in Downtown Phoenix.
2. Civic Space Park — Whenever I need to get away, I walk to this park and enjoy the grass and view of the city.
3. The Willo District — Whenever you want to take a Sunday drive and check out some historical homes, this is my favorite place to do it.
4. Central Ave. — You might be thinking just Central Ave.? Yes, just Central Ave., I love driving down it to get home, the view of the city just over the bridge warms my heart.
5. Carly’s — Anytime I am craving smoked mozzarella I go to Carly’s for my favorite sandwich in town…The Europa. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
6. The Roosevelt Tavern — Warm, cozy and friendly… The Roosevelt is my favorite place for happy hour and the coldest beer on tap in the city.
7. Roosevelt Row — I live in the neighborhood, I can’t help but love it!
8. Bikini Lounge – Who doesn’t enjoy a great dive bar? Bikini is the place to be especially on a First Friday.
9. US Airways Center — Let’s face it, I am a Suns fan and love going to the games!
10. The Sheraton Hotel — Just this location in general is my favorite part of Downtown. I love the feel of “Downtown” and this makes me feel like I am in the heart of it.
11. The many locally owned coffee shops in Phoenix — From Fair Trade to Lux, each place offers a unique atmosphere plus great coffee and teas to be had!
12. Two Hippies — Beach House, Magic Mushroom Burgers, Pita House and Breakfast Joint, oh my! Great atmosphere at each location and awesome eats!
13. Heritage Square — It hosts the Matsuri Festival, one of my favorite yearly events. Not to mention, Rose and Crown and Pizzeria Bianco!
14. Burton Barr Central Library — The best library in Arizona. The architecture, the smell of a library, several quiet places to read and the helpful staff — the Phoenix library is simply awesome.
Miniature Tigers, long a fixture in the Downtown Phoenix music scene, are packin’ up and heading to Brooklyn, and they’re kissing us goodbye with one final show at the Trunk Space on Tuesday, December 29.
In case you don’t know, the Mini Ts are one of those super buzz bands with killer witty lyrics and catchy pop jingles, lauded by authorities like SPIN, Rolling Stone, Death+Taxes and CMJ. We knew they’d grow beyond the tiny confines of our tight-knit music scene. They’re simply too big and too killer for us now.
The band is the premier piece of once-Phoenix-based (still kinda-Phoenix-based) label Modern Art Records, which quietly occupied a Downtown area bungalow for a while before (also) heading to the hipster mecca that is Brooklyn. Having spent most of 2008 and 2009 on the road, the band’s following has ballooned. Brooklyn, treat ‘em nice.
The show at the Trunk Space is sorta last minute, and that’s probably good, because any more time to build up the buzz and the place would certainly break any fire code the city could impose. It’s also good because the Trunk Space just got done holding a benefit concert this past weekend, and we don’t need to lose Grand’s best venue. Go to the show, and bring enough cash for a Trunk Space t-shirt. And maybe a Mini Ts one, too.
The Trunk Space is located at 1506 NW Grand Ave. Call for times and price — 602.256.6006.
He said: ‘I am but one small instrument.’ Do you remember that?
As Jim Adkins rifled these melodic words into the crowded Arizona night, I realized that history was in the making. What that history is exactly remains to be seen.
The creaky floorboards of Modified Arts trembled in the wake of a rock that has become all too familiar. The lyrics were shouted back with fervor and angst that seemed to settle in the room’s thick air. This was the place to be, Phoenix. For a “secret” show, it sure was let out of the bag. As Jimmy Eat World had tweeted earlier in the day, “If you live in PHX and have plans for tonight, cancel them.” This seemed like a fair warning at the time.
Jeff Bufano of Reubens Accomplice, the supposed headliner before the news broke, crowed, “[You must] have that Twitter thing on your phones or something.” Perhaps that is the truth, as the masses started assembling as early as 3 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. Who says Twitter isn’t powerful?
Upon arriving at around 6:10, the line wrapped entirely around the place; to the point that it began to wind back up to the front entrance. It didn’t seem long until the cry was let out that it was sold out and the lines weren’t getting in. “Extremely limited space” is not a joke.
The lineup for the night included Ian Stupar of El Oso Negro, Source Victoria and Reubens Accomplice. For the most part, the opening bands were making way for the much-anticipated headliners to take the stage. Stupar opened it up with a few original songs and finished up a mellow set with covers of Reubens and JEW songs, respectively. Source Victoria took the stage with melodic guitars and harmonic vocals to tame the room. “You guys are here for Reubens, right?” was the joke of the night from our openers. Once Reubens Accomplice took the stage, you could feel the room on the edge of its seat. Reubens threw some eagerly anticipated songs at us. As far as their several-years-in-the-making album, Bufano joked, “We’ll release it in four years. But, it will have 176 tracks and you guys will be blown away.”
By the time Jim Adkins and crew took the stage, the eagerness was dripping off the walls. There was definitely something special about this “secret” show. You could feel it in the room. Even though I did not have the privilege of growing up here, this concert felt like it was drumming up the spirits of 10 years ago. Everything was perfect in that regard. From Adkins beckoning Sam Means (The Format) to the stage in jest, to the strained voices in the back crying out for “one more song” or to “play all night,” this night belonged to the fans, the bands and this city. “Bleed American” began the shouted refrains and huddled, rhythmic masses in their dance with the night. Once “Goodbye Sky Harbor” echoed in the room, you could feel the excitement that this city has, not just for its most notable band, but for its music scene.
I can still feel the guitar riffs pumping through my veins. I imagine that I will for days. If you were not one of the privileged to get inside the doors, I feel that an important message was passed down. Adkins, at the chanting for an encore, returned to the stage. He said something that I think all of Phoenix needs to hear: “If you love the arts and the music, support them. Go to the shows. Support the bands.” This seems simple enough, but it is something that we as a community need to do perhaps now more than ever. We need to coddle these young, talented musicians and venues and treat them like the treasure they are.
So, the big “secret” show wasn’t about how popular Jimmy Eat World is in this place, but more about how much these little places, artists and stages mean to our community.
Modified Arts’ final three shows of the Kimber Lanning era are tonight, Friday and Saturday. See its website for full details.
You Me and Apollo, one of Phoenix’s up-and-coming singer/songwriters, will be performing on the Train Tracks on Tuesday, November 17 at 5 p.m.
If you haven’t experienced a Train Tracks performance, or you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, here is your chance to check it out. The Train Tracks is a local music series that chronicles Phoenix-area artists playing music on the METRO light rail. The idea is simple: the artist or band boards a light rail train and plays a few tunes for the video camera before exiting. Audience participation is encouraged. Later, visit the Train Tracks website to vote on which artist you like best. Every quarter, semifinalists play a show at the Phoenix Art Museum. The winner of that bout plays another showcase with other quarterly champions, and the winner plays Tempe Music Festival. Fame and fortune follow shortly thereafter.
You Me and Apollo will do a brief sound check at Stinkweeds, then board the train at the Central/Camelback station around 5:20 p.m. Show up at Stinkweeds and join the gang as they travel Frogger-style across Camelback and the light rail platform. The bigger the posse, the better!
If you’ve unexpectedly (or purposefully) witnessed a Train Tracks session, then you know how natural and fun it is. You (sort of) feel like you’re taking a subway train in New York City, but you’re breezing by Pane Bianco instead. Imagine that — culture… in Phoenix… on a train!
Stinkweeds is located at 12 W. Camelback Road — 602.248.9461
In its short history, Civic Space Park has hosted a variety of acts on its amphitheater stage. Funk, acoustic, soul, indie rock and blues melodies have graced the stage. In the name of diversity, Civic Space is quickly becoming one of Downtown’s more reliable music spots.
This Third Friday is no different. The psychedelic post-rock sounds of Terra Firma will ring throughout the park. The Phoenix band is known for drawn-out, complex prog rock anthems and describes its sound as sounding like “a long train ride through the desert.” We’re not really sure what that means, but we know it sounds good. The band’s new EP, In This Sign You Will Conquer, will be out soon, but you can hear some of the new jams on Friday.
Big Fast Easy, a three-piece from Tempe that mixes elements of punk, soul and rock, will also perform. Their debut full-length album, Can’t Talk, Won’t Work, is also set to be released shortly.
The show runs from 7-9 p.m., and is FREE!
Civic Space Park is located at 424 N. Central Ave. — light rail station at Central/1st avenues and Van Buren Street.