Get Out of Glendale: Phoenix Music Scene

By Lauren Herber, Staff Writer

Being a large metropolitan city, Phoenix has often been host to big-name artists such as Kanye West, Selena Gomez, and Flo Rida. It’s also a hub, however, for up-and-coming artists who are extremely talented though still relatively unknown. As a person with a very diverse taste in music, I’m always on the lookout for events in Phoenix that involve live music of all different types. In the three short months that I’ve lived in Phoenix so far, I’ve had several opportunities to listen to talented artists live. Many of the festivals I’ve attended in Phoenix, such as Oktoberfest, Día de los Muertos, and the Taco festival, have featured live music for a low price (or for free!)

Best Coast, the School D'AZ headliner. Photo courtesy of www.brooklynvegan.com
Best Coast, the School D’AZ headliner. Photo courtesy of www.brooklynvegan.com

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend another festival that featured up-and-coming bands called School D’AZ, hosted by the Phoenix-based radio station Alt AZ 93.3 at the Mesa Amphitheater. For the cost of $35, festivalgoers had the opportunity to see seven bands perform live: Bully, Saint Motel, MS MR, New Politics, Atlas Genius, The Maine, and Best Coast. The radio station had several free ticket giveaways in the months leading up to the festival as well as special giveaways at the event (for example, I was given an amazing opportunity: I got to meet the headliner, Best Coast). The festival was a great way to get exposure to several talented lesser-known bands all in one day. Alt AZ 93.3 offers ticket giveaways and VIP passes frequently, so make sure you tune in for updates on Phoenix’s alternative music scene.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Herber
Photo courtesy of Lauren Herber

Another great live music venue is downtown Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom. Located on North 2nd Avenue, the Crescent Ballroom is a trendy lounge that truly offers it all: great atmosphere, delicious food, a solid selection of draft beers, and—most importantly—live music. What really sets Crescent Ballroom apart from other bars and live music venues is that they feature live music every night. Some events are free, while tickets for better-known artists can range anywhere from $5-$30. The venue hosts artists all different types, including indie pop (such as BORNS), folk (such as William Fitzsimmons, who I saw on Monday—he was incredible), and bluegrass (such as Greensky Bluegrass). Some artists that will be coming to Crescent Ballroom in the upcoming months that I’m looking forward to are Wild Earth, The Dandy Warhols, and the American Flamenco Repertory Company. While enjoying the bands, I recommend snacking on the mini churros (the best Mexican-style churros I’ve had in the U.S. to date) and sipping on the Rest Stop, a grapefruit- and strawberry-inspired cocktail.

Next time you’re looking for a night out that’s different from playing pool at Tony’s or dancing in Scottsdale, check out the Crescent Ballroom calendar  to find out what up-and-coming bands will be in town .

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