Music

Saying goodbye to The Clubhouse

Tempe venue closes following shooting, owner arrested

By Jarred Balbona’14
THE BRONCO BEAT

Photo by Adam S. Fuller via Flickr - The Clubhouse played host to a number of rising and underground acts such as Portugal. The Man, shown here playing in October 2010.
Photo by Adam S. Fuller via Flickr - The Clubhouse played host to a number of rising and underground acts such as Portugal. The Man, shown here playing in October 2010.

The Clubhouse music venue in Tempe was a sweaty hole-in-the-wall that many loved.

The atmosphere of the club was indescribable.

Its small size allowed fans and performers alike to share an intimate and up close experience; one could enter the venue with 200 strangers, but by the end of the show, leave as a family.

Since entering the Tempe music scene in 2003, the Clubhouse has been entertaining the masses with nightly all-ages shows of both local artists, as well as well-known performers.

Its stage has been graced by a vast range of artists, from The Proclaimers to Sleigh Bells, causing it to be a home to concert goers of all types.

In addition to all of this, they served pizza.

This all came to an abrupt end. March 2 when an altercation between two rival gangs took place outside of the club before rapper Nipsey Hussle was scheduled to perform.

According to media reports, the fight concluded with one man firing gunshots into a crowd of people lined up to go inside, injuring 16 in the process.

While the shooter was arrested, two of his accomplices managed to escape and are still being pursued.

This was not the first shooting to take place at the Clubhouse, and as a result, an investigation of the nightclub’s safety precautions was initiated.

One week after the shooting, police arrested the Clubhouse owner for violating the security plan, according  to The Arizona Republic.

Shortly after, it was announced that the venue would be closing.

Although it is gone, however, it is far from forgotten.

My Personal Clubhosue Story

My first and only experience with the Clubhouse was during my freshman year when I saw Matt and Kim. It was my first concert.

My brother and I had walked to the venue from his dorm at ASU, and immediately upon seeing the club, I was overcome with disappointment.

I had expected a glorious arena, surrounded by an angelic glow.

This was a small, weird building in the middle of a small, weird strip mall, in Tempe nonetheless.

I was even further disillusioned when I entered the building. It was about the size of two In-N-Out Burgers, and without the celestial smell.

An oversized bar awkwardly bifurcated the all-black venue, further adding to the closeness of the environment. I felt uncomfortable and out of place, surrounded by people in their element.

The crowd grew, as did my claustrophobia, and the temperature skyrocketed. When Treasure Mammal, a band who cites “Spandex” as their genre, entered the stage, I was pretty sure I was hallucinating.

Three of their members were in zebra print wetsuits, while a fourth donned a white Mark Twain-style outfit and a giant rabbit head.

Each member had evidently done some damage at the bar before the performance, as they muddled through some songs about friendship.

Before I could even discern what had just happened to me, they finished their set, and Matt and Kim took their places.

The euphoria emanating from my body was reciprocated by each member of the audience, as well as the band on stage.

In the hours that followed, an abundance of dancing, moshing, crowd surfing by the entire crowd had taken place, as our resounding voices replaced all of our sad feelings with happy ones.

After the show ended suddenly and we exited that sweaty box of hell, I found myself loving all of the aspects of this place that I had earlier caused me so much disappointment.

I also began to consider the possibility that my life had just peaked, and that every subsequent moment would be disappointing in comparison.

None of that was important, though. What was important was that I had just had the greatest experience of my life, and that the Clubhouse was responsible.

Staff view:

“The Clubhouse feels like chaos, but in the best way possible”
Julian De Ocampo `13

“The Clubhouse made it feel like you were a part of the band and the experience of the show.”
Roan Enright `13

“I’ve never been there for a show. I went once, but that was because I had to use the restroom. The soap was good… It made me wish I had seen a show there.”
Charles Dominguez `14 Many from the Brophy community have had the pleasure to visit the Clubhouse.

When asked about their Clubhourse memories, while some did possess a strong dislike for it, most reflected back with nostalgia, and ended their response with the phrase, “in a good way.”

 “That venue was great because it was one of the few where you would get to see the bands walking around and you would be able to talk to them or just see them up close. It was a unique experience and I will definitely miss it.

Mr. Matt Smith ’06

“The sweat was like, palpable the instant you walked in. And I loved it.”

Jeremiah Johnson ’14

“The last show I went to there was Modest Mouse back in 2003, and Modest Mouse was not very good. However, the opening band, which I had never heard of before, was really impressive, and afterwards, I really got into them. So, (the Clubhouse) was pretty good with introducing new bands that I would have never found otherwise.”

Mr. John Damaso ’97

“The Clubhouse had really good sound. I definitely liked the venue, though, I really don’t know why. It had some indefinable quality, I guess.”

Michael Cullen ’12

“It was not the worst venue in Arizona.”

Jordan Bohannon ’12

“I just got a great feeling from there. Everything is so tightly weaved and it just feels like a family.”

Brendan Bohannon ’14

“The best thing about the Clubhouse was the diverse bands and artists they brought. There was some good talent.”

Jackson Dangremond ’14