The music scene has exploded, thanks to the Internet. There are so many options that sometimes it can be dizzying trying to keep up with it all. Here in Arizona, there are many unique music venues that cater to a wide variety of musical tastes. Enter the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
The Marquee Theatre
The Marquee Theatre started as a country music venue back in the 90’s and went by the name The Red River Opry. The venue sits a short walk from the banks of the Salt River, hence the original name. It shifted its focus in the early 2000’s when new owners took over the establishment. They removed the modest seating and changed the main area to standing room only with a few seats in a modest balcony in the back. There are also two full-service bars: One in the lobby and another located to stage right (you can spot its green Christmas lights glowing dully from almost anywhere in the theatre). The slight slant of the floor allows you a pretty clear view of the performers from anywhere in the room.
One thing I enjoy about concerts is the opening act. I never research them much and enjoy hearing them in a “blind run,” if you will. Alvvays is a Canadian rock group that was founded in the early 2010s that has a nice mellow sound to them. You can hear a lot of 90’s rock-pop influence in their songs. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised!
The main act is a group I really fell in love with upon arriving in Arizona, thanks to the seemingly endless playlists on Spotify. They came out strong: LED screens pulsating in the background, the lead singer (Lauren) bounding across the stage with the instrumentalists dancing in place, and bass so strong you could feel it vibrating in your sternum. At the third song, however, the lead singer began walking towards the back of the stage, a stagehand approaching her. The male vocalist (Martin) pulled his mic close and said that Lauren had been “really fucking sick,” and that he asked us to be patient for a moment while they figured out what they were going to do.
The lights came up and the audience waited. Eventually, the group came back, with Martin taking over lead vocals for two songs while Lauren took over his instrumental jobs. He did quite well and was full of energy. It was unique to hear his vocals over a song traditionally sang by Lauren, but after his limited two-song set, Lauren came back to try and sing one final song. She was struggling, pointing the mic to the audience to help fill in bits. Once the song ended, she slumped down on stage, apologizing to everyone, explaining how she felt ill, and saying that they would return in October and that our tickets would be good for that show. The lights came back up and everyone began shuffling outside.
While it was disappointing that the show ended rather early, it was still enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the free show in October! There were so many songs CHVRCHES didn’t get to play and I’m excited to hear them live.