Favorite Venue of 2014: The Rogue Bar

For anyone that knows me, this is probably no surprise. First of all, I live on the East Side, Second, I hate driving and Third, I tend to have tremendous social anxiety. Luckily The Rogue is on the East Side, close to me and I never feel freaked out there. That being said, in all honesty The Rogue must have benefited from the twin closures of Long Wong’s and The Sail Inn, whereas I used to spend my time spreading myself out between those three venues, after June I started living at the Rogue with occasional excursions to Last Exit Live and Crescent Ballroom. The truth is, though, even before those closures I spending a hell of a lot of my time there, because it had already become a launching pad for new bands–which is where I like to be most of the time. There are only two detractions to the Rogue and that is the lack of food (who cares, really) and the lack of a smoking patio area where you can bring your drinks out. Other than that it’s perfect. It seems to have the same space as the Yucca except 3/4 of the room isn’t taken up by a giant ridiculous bar. It also has a pretty bitching sound system and most of the crew that run the soundboard know what the hell they are doing (Mick, Andy, Zac), so there is never really a problem there, in fact it’s probably the best on the East Side. The drinks are always reasonably priced and hell, if you want to you can have pizza or whatever you want delivered if food is really a big deal, plus, it’s Scottsdale, not Tempe, which means you can vape inside to your hearts content. But the bands! I mean jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, I’ve seen more new bands there last year than anywhere else in the Valley, whether it was Bad Neighbors or Villains/Van Adams or Zodiac Bash or Desert Beats, it just seemed like the place to see new exciting bands all year long and long before Long Wong’s was gone.

The Rogue Bar also seemed to hold more record release shows than any other venue in the entire metro area and they all seemed to be wildly successful. Field Tripp held three alone last year, but so did Lawnchair, Genre, Day Before Plastics, Watch For Rocks and well, I can’t remember them all, but it was a shit ton. I feel like for a few months straight I didn’t leave the Rogue without having a new CD in my pocket. Those parties also produced some of my favorite records of the year as well (you’ll have to wait and see, this Favorites thing will probably roll into February). Nevertheless, it just seemed that great music was rolling out of the Rogue for the entire year and I tried to catch as much as I could. Sure Crescent had some pretty kick ass release parties and Last Exit Live had it’s share, but it was just non-stop, plus those two venues kind of stuck to the old guard and The Rogue really gave a boost to up and coming acts (on the West Side, The Trunk Space did a similar thing).

Finally, there is one thing I could not fail to mention and that is the proprietorship of Manny Tripodis. First of all he has some of the finest music taste of anyone I’ve ever met (and by that I mean it pretty much matches mine). Secondly, he is one of the few proprietors that I see at other peoples venues, checking out shows and all else, I can’t count the times when I have not been at the Rogue and he strolls through the door. Third, he’s been really working on cultivating talent while also running something of a sound engineer school all the while. He also give the best hugs/shoulder massages. In all seriousness, he’s a hell of a guy and he’s an enormous part of why the Rogue has been so great this last year and why I anticipate it will be just as good this year, and it already has been. Manny takes pride in his little dive bar and the patrons love him, so do his employees and the bands and everyone else. The Rogue Bar has become home base for a lot of bands for no other reason than Manny (well, a central location right off the 202 helps too).

If you want further proof that The Rogue is going to maintain it’s winning streak in 2015, check out Friday’s lineup of Dirty Lingo, Desert Beats, Zodiac Bash and Paper Foxes as well as Fairy Bones Dramabot release part with Gospel Claws and The Burning of Rome on Saturday! I have a suspicion it will be another weekend where I wish there was a cot in the back with my name on it.