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Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona, a southwestern desert city known for its cultural attractions in its metro area, the Valley of the Sun. Bordering both Nevada and California, Arizona’s urban areas are in competition with music industry giants such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The more rigid, exorbitant, consumer-based music scenes of those surrounding big cities does not damper Phoenix's spirit. Instead, Phoenix locals have found a way to take advantage of its unique differences, using their space to promote experimental, fresh sounds. Learn more about Phoenix’s interesting spin on concerts below.
Phoenix’s music community is defined by genre experiments and crossovers
Phoenix is a standout music city in that its musicians have tons of creative control, taking ownership of their sounds and exploring new options as they please. Sometimes cities defined by music tourism can feel stale, confined to what they are expected to sound like. Phoenix does not fall into this trap. As a result, this is a place where concert-goers can hear mind-bending amalgamations in music. Try to imagine what folk punk or punk grass might sound like. In Phoenix, you can hear those inventive hybrids first hand. Residents are enthusiastic about the bands who bring something a little—or a lot—different, such as Andy Warpigs, Red Tank!, Bacchus, The Demonsluts, and Hanymarket Squares.
Since Phoenix is not yet seeped in profits-driven industry executives, free and low-cost performances are readily available, making music accessible to everyone
Often, when free music is on the table, listeners should expect cover bands, but that is not the case in Phoenix. Find original acts at Slow Down Saturday at Timo, Desert Ridge Marketplace, The Vig Uptown, Lawn Gnome Publishing, Copper Star Coffee, Beats and Brunch at Jobot, ThirdSpace, and Lost Leaf. These locally-owned joints are looking to sell patrons on their beer, wine, mixed drinks, coffee, cuisines, books, and galleries, but they rely on live concerts to pull people inside their establishments.
Copper Star Coffee is a call to the days before Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnuts, and Tim Hortons offered coffee on every corner. In this classic dive, order smoothies, teas, coffee, sandwiches, salads, and deserts. They even have a car-hop. However, for those who have time to stop inside on the weekends, expect to hear some of Phoenix’s creative souls. They even sell local art, including prints, records, and more. Tourists and residents who want to support local efforts and artistry should spend a Sunday morning here.
Phoenix’s concert scene is bubbling with talent
The Lawn Gnome Publishing bookstore is another multifunctional community space that offers concerts in Phoenix. In addition to being a publishing service, the Lawn Gnome Publishing Bookstore sells used and new books during the day. At night, the event space, including an impressive outdoor patio, is available. Haiku Death Matches are open and free to the public, as are a number of concerts throughout the year. For a small-town, community-fueled feel, Phoenix has it covered.