Arts & CultureBars & NightlifeMusic & EventsSpotlightFara IllichMarch 11, 2015
Similar to Austin’s massive SXSW Music Festival, Viva PHX spans across 20 different Downtown Phoenix venues, featuring 90 acts. On Saturday, March 14 from 6 p.m. to midnight, music lovers can enjoy food trucks, Mexican lucha libre wrestling, listen to amazing music and explore parts of downtown less-traveled. Viva PHX 2015 is all about discovery – whether it’s a new style, genre, place or emergent artist. So with that in mind, take time to discover the top five most interesting and unusual venues worth finding again or experiencing for the first time. Grace Chapel (all ages) When it’s not a pop-up music venue, Grace Chapel is home to Release the Fear, an arts-centered nonprofit working with at-risk youth. Not only does the organization teach art, music and communication skills to kids in detention, treatment centers and schools, but much of their work is featured on the gallery walls and alter, which will be used as a stage during Viva PHX. It’s not every day you get to watch folk, flamenco and dream pop bands perform on a church alter from 1929. Last Exit Live (21+)
Photo by Johnny Wikle.
Take a journey south of the tracks to Grant Street and Central Avenue in the heart of the Warehouse District. In what was once a booming industrial area, innovative adaptive reuse projects, tech companies, galleries and even music venues are moving in. With continual updates and renovations since March 2013 when Last Exit Live first opened, the venue retains an intimate big-city lounge feel. Even with its stripped-down décor, the building’s history and character shine through – making it one of downtown’s best kept secrets. Click here to see the amazing local lineup playing for Viva PHX. Orpheum Lobby (all ages) Built in 1929 using Spanish Revival architecture, the Orpheum Theatre was restored in 1984 by the City of Phoenix, which spent $14 million over 12 years to thoughtfully restore the historic venue. Now a true downtown gem, the theatre features ornate murals, golden gilding, beautiful moldings and archways. A new addition to the festival roster, the Orpheum Lobby feels refined yet intimate. Great local jazz will fill the room starting at 7:15 p.m. with the Chris Light Group, followed by the Kelso Brothers Quintet and Chaz Martineau. It’s where beauty meets the upright bass. Phoenix Masonic Temple (all ages) On the ground level of the Freemasons Arizona Lodge #2, Viva PHX will invade this fraternal group’s stomping grounds to vibrate the halls of this historic building. With rooms named after the colors in which they’re decorated, like the Blue Room, Gold Room and Red Room (none of which we’ll be allowed in) — this 1929 Neo-Classic building is a little bit creepy, a little bit cool and 100 percent rock and roll. Jimmy Eat World front man Jim Adkins is playing at 10 p.m., along with indie rockers WLFPCK, Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band, Bogan Via, Halsey and Young Rising Sons. Punk Rock Alley (all ages) Just follow the fast-paced drum beats south of Monroe Street to an alleyway between Central and First avenues. Starting at 7 p.m. with Wax Witches, followed by Slipping into Darkness, Party Gardens, Dads and closing out the night with local favorites Playboy Manbaby – this stage brings the noise. True to punk rock’s DIY and hard-edged ethic, Punk Rock Alley is literally a pop-up stage in a random downtown alleyway. Coupled with great acoustics and a partial view of the skyline, it doesn’t get more authentic than this. Check out the full venue list below or visit the website for lineup, schedule and concert information. Tickets can be purchased online at Stateside Presents or in-person without processing fees at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel now through Saturday, March 14 from 12-8 p.m. General admission tickets are $24.