Here’s a rundown of recent headlines from the metro Phoenix music and concert scene, including details about the long-awaited return of a popular music venue, a fundraiser for dearly departed local artist, and the retirement of a local radio DJ.
Valley Bar Reopening on August 18
After being closed for 18 months, downtown Phoenix music venue Valley Bar is scheduled to start hosting again on Wednesday, August 18, according to its website. The 275-person capacity underground bar, which is located on Central Avenue just south of Monroe Street, will host a free show by funk musician, DJ, and vocalist Dâm-Funk at 9 p.m.
The show will mark the return of performance to Valley Bar, which closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic. (Its sister venue, Crescent Ballroom, opened earlier this month.) Numerous concerts and music events are scheduled for the coming months, including gigs by Miami Horror, Black Joe Lewis, Dear Boy, and Wild Pink. Charlie Levy, the venue’s co-owner, recently told The Arizona Republic they will be operating at full capacity but will be “monitoring the situation [with COVID-19] closely.”
Endgame Planning Labor Day Expansion Bash
Mesa game bar and geek hangout Endgame is set to host a three-day “Labor Day Expansion Bash” from Friday, September 3, to Sunday, September 5, that will feature a mix of hip-hop and electronic dance music artists. The event will offer performances taking place in multiple locations throughout the venue and appearances by local artists and vendors. (Endgame will also have various consoles available for play during the event.) The lineup will include sets by 5 Godz, Aggro, Baylienz, Distorter, Altruist, Bank Mills, Audacity, Infra Redd, Roscoe, Braydo, Goodtimemiller, Lil Indigo, and more. Daily general admission is $30 to $40 and bottle service packages are $750.
GoFundMe for Willis Day Jr. Raises Thousands
Friends of local artist, musician, and performer Willis Day Jr., who died in mid-July at the age of 51, have started a GoFundMe to help pay for his funeral and memorial expenses. The crowdfunded campaign, which launched on July 15, has raised about $4,000 of its $5,500 goal. (Funds will also be set aside to support future projects and ideas in Day’s name.)
Day was a prolific member of the downtown Phoenix art scene who created in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, experimental music, and dancing. He was a regular at spots like The Lost Leaf and Jobot Coffee and occasionally performed live art sessions at Djentrification’s dance parties.
The GoFundMe campaign’s webpage describes Day’s prolific nature as an artist: “You may have had a jam session and/or seen/joined him dance/dancing … or painting his mystic battle captures live around the city, on a bus, light rail, Phoenix Public Library, or Lost Leaf and Jobot. He dedicated a lot of time to earn an honest living. Never charged high prices for his priceless one-of-a-kind art pieces … Most of all, if he took the time to have a conversation with you…with his undivided attention, always fully present, which was one of his special gifts.”
Sterling Beeaff Retires From KBAQ
Local classical music radio station KBAQ is without the services of Sterling Beeaff for the first time in 25 years as the longtime DJ and on-air announcer has retired. On August 6, the 64-year-old Valley resident, who worked the morning shift at the station, stepped down after being an employee of KBAQ since 1995. Beeaff got his start in Phoenix radio in 1985 at now-defunct classical station KHEP-FM (now broadcasting as Live 101.5) and is also a poet and songwriter.
Poppy Announces October Concert at The Van Buren
Grammy-nominated hard rock singer-songwriter Poppy will be hitting the road this fall in support of her upcoming album, Flux, which drops in September. It will include a performance at The Van Buren in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, October 2. No opening acts have been announced. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are on sale now and are $27 in advance and $30 at the door. Superfans or those who want to splurge can purchase VIP packages, which cost $349 to $499 and include early entry, special swag, and an invitation to a high-end tea party hosted by the artist before the performance with food and beverages.