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Music venues near campus

ROCKING OUT: The band Cartel performs at the Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe in November 2009.  (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)
ROCKING OUT: The band Cartel performs at the Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe in November 2009. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

With midterms months away, there is absolutely no excuse for you not to fully exercise your newfound freedoms and lifted curfew. For those interested in discovering local and national touring bands within a close radius to campus, be prepared to take notes on where to go to experience the deafening – but hopefully worthwhile musical stylings of those who come to town to rock and/or roll.

Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281

Any chance I can get to boast on this hotspot I will gladly take. Where the larger venues downtown easily dwarf Marquee Theatre in size, the Marquee provides something far more tangible to even the most novices of concertgoers – intimacy.

The overall layout of Marquee Theatre is perfect for those who want to be at the foot of the stage or even for those who prefer to stand in the back. Wherever you settle, the stage is easily in view and the sound quality is always next to perfection.

For those who prefer to mingle with music serving as a backdrop to the evening, Marquee Theatre provides a large indoor bar and outdoor patio area with ample spots for those who just want to talk with friends – or for those waiting for the next band to take the stage.

Past shows worth mentioning: My Morning Jacket, The Hives and DeVotchKa.

The Clubhouse, 1320 E. Broadway Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282

A respectable runner-up to Marquee would have to be The Clubhouse. Another intimate destination worth exploring (though smaller), The Clubhouse is not shy about attracting acts both large and small.

A far more basic set-up than that of Marquee, The Clubhouse is surprisingly on point with their execution of a good night of music. Those wishing to drink a cold brew (or two) are however subjected to the back of the establishment with the bar obstructing pretty much everything on stage.

Nevertheless, putting your glass down and getting up close and personal with the band is easy to do. Also, as trivial as this might sound – the bathroom at The Clubhouse is the most accessible of any respectable live music venue around (second to Marquee of course). To be frank, there is never a line. Never.

Past shows worth mentioning: The Walkmen and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

The Sail Inn, 26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281

Having only been a handful of times, The Sail Inn should be experienced only in small doses. At first glance, The Sail Inn shows promise. With both an indoor and outdoor stage, the possibilities seem endless.

Sadly, where most experiences in life are either a “hit or miss,” The Sail Inn often lumps itself into the “miss” category. This is a great spot however for those looking to refine their concert going prowess before moving on to more legitimate venues, for both the bands that play there as well as those in attendance.

Past shows worth mentioning: Viva Voce

Yucca Tap Room, 29 W. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ 85282

While I continue to hear and even read good things on the Yucca Tap Room, I remain unimpressed. Having been declared a “Best Of” for live local music by Phoenix New Times, the best has yet to show itself in my eyes.

This is a far more rustic setting than the others that have been mentioned, but they do attract a respectable crowd and they do offer themselves to local acts looking for their big break.

If you do not mind being in an extremely small, tight and stuffy environment with anything but a delightful staff, Yucca Tap Room may very well serve your needs. However, if anyone else is playing at a more respectable venue, consider those options first.

Past shows worth mentioning: still waiting.

Venue 104, 940 E. University Dr., Suite 102, Tempe, AZ 85281

With the grand opening Friday, Aug. 19, only time will tell how Venue 104 will turn out. With a mix of just about everything, Venue 104 will offer a small café sitting area as well as what appears to be a decent sized stage.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for the grand opening, and it appears that six bands are slated to rock the roof off for this night to remember.

The lineup for the grand opening features performances by Executives, Captain Squeegee, Obadiah Parker, Dearspeak, Riot For Romance and Instructions.

However you decide to spend your time, be it on your own or in a group, having fun and being safe are all that matter. The sights and sounds of the city are often drowned out by car horns and the coming and going of airplanes. Thankfully, mankind created music so that when we put our ears to the proverbial ground, we are rewarded with a little something extra.

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