Kanye West announces Phoenix show… but a little too late for some.

This weekend, many of my friends and I will be decamping to either Las Vegas or Los Angeles to see Kanye West perform on his Yeezus tour. It’s the rapper’s solo tour in five years and comes on the heels of possibly his best and certainly darkest album, Yeezus, so understandably the announcement of the tour was met with fevered anticipation. Most everyone I know bought tickets for the closest shows as soon as possible, disappointed at the lack of an Arizona concert but more concerned with the goal of seeing Kanye some way, somehow. We’ve been waiting for this week for a while, but something funny happened that we suspected wouldn’t.

Mr. West booked a show with opener Kendrick Lamar at the US Airways Center in the heart of downtown Phoenix.

Although apparently some insiders knew well in advance that an Arizona show was planned, it is sad for us, the lowlife commoners who wanted so badly to bask in Yeezus’s glory from the comfort and convenience of our own state. Without a tip-off, we’re now stuck to our commuting commitments and transportation costs—after investing somewhere between $50 and $200 each on a ticket, we’re sticking to our Plan A.

I joked to a friend that Arizona “finished last,” but he reminded me to remember that, all the same, Arizona “does tend to finish!” I’m glad Mr. West will be making an appearance in the Grand Canyon state, so that my friends who didn’t buy first-round tickets will still have a chance to see him—not to mention get to chide us with some healthy I-told-you-so-ism.

But I also ask: Why is Arizona the forgotten, red-headed step-child state for some major performers? Perhaps some damage lingers from Zach de la Rocha’s anti-SB 1070 Sound Strike in 2010, a coalition of musicians who refused to perform in Arizona that included Mr. West in its numbers.

While it’s too late for those of us shipping off to Vegas tomorrow, the rest of you can enter to win tickets through Phoenix New Times, Zia Records, and KISS FM (and maybe some others I didn’t find). Or you can, you know, buy tickets.

Record store collaboration Double Nickels Collective opens in Tempe

dubnix opening

Double Nickels Collective, a new record store selling music and more from multiple Valley vendors, celebrated its grand opening in Tempe on Saturday, Oct. 5. The grand opening brought many collectors to Southern and Mill avenues to look at what the store offered, and, like any proper music fan does, make immediate and uninformed predictions about what its success would be.

Thankfully for the store, those initial impressions, especially for this reviewer, were nothing but positive. The variety of music, vendors, gear and price made for a truly expansive experience, all under one roof.


Double Nickels Collective was actually the successor to another store, Eastside Records, in collaboration with other businesses. Eastside, which was also based in Tempe, sold both popular and rare records with everything ranging from hardcore punk to pop, rock to jazz, spoken word to soundtracks. The store closed down earlier this year to revamp at this other location. Now, the door of Double Nickels Collective features a label of a small ghost next to the words “The Ghost of Eastside Records.”

dubnix sign

However, this is not so much a ghost of the previous store as it is its blazing phoenix, rising from ashes into great heights. Eastside Records’ collection looks much more organized in a larger space, with the Collective exposing the same great finds that hid in the previous location. This collector found a “hard-to-find” (so proclaimed the sticker) copy of Stars of the Lid’s And Their Refinement of the Decline (albeit missing one record), which was definitely unexpected.

dubnix inside

But the best thing about Double Nickels Collective is that dedicated collectors/sellers can occupy a space in the store to sell their records. Record High, Stereophonic High Fidelity, Redfield Records and King of the Monsters were some of the vendors stacking booths at the store, and each one had something special to offer. While King of the Monsters offered an assortment of metal records, Record High amassed a group of rare, hard-to-find and pricy Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab vinyl.

Stereophonic in particular got the Miggy “nod of approval” for having cheap and critically acclaimed vinyl. And of course, the Stinkweeds crates of new and used vinyl were a comforting touch.

Gear, Books, Clothes and More

In addition to a pleasing smorgasbord of vinyl in all shapes, sizes and colors, Double Nickels Collective stocked a decently priced selection of amplifiers and turntables. There were also plenty of CDs and cassettes, including a pristine tape of post-punk band Wire’s seminal album Pink Flag (spoiler: it has a pink flag on the cover).

Finally, the store carried several books and comics, both fiction and non-fiction, and a rack with women’s and men’s clothing from Meat Market Vintage Clothing. However, since this is a music blog, I am not properly qualified to review these items. Sorry. (Except for that rad leather jacket with Joy Division emblazoned on the shoulders).

dubnix joy division

Michael Pawlicki, owner of Double Nickels Collective, said the whole premise of the store was very quickly arranged and that empty plots on the floor would later be filled with more booths and items. We all can thank him for his quick thinking and instinct, since inside the walls of this building is a store were both the large and small collector can live in harmony. Double Nickels Collective will hopefully take its place among the best record stores in the Valley.

dubnix dog

Photos by Miguel Otárola/DD

Two independent record stores: Stinkweeds and Revolver

Phoenix suffers in comparison to some other major American cities in certain categories. It isn’t a Los Angeles, San Francisco or Portland (no one’s a Portland) when it comes to record store proliferation. But that’s all the more reason to spotlight the fighters out here who make Phoenix a place worth living for avid music fans.

In Phoenix, Stinkweeds and Revolver Records are two of the very best music spots around. Here’s why each holds its own.

Stinkweeds is a venerable independently owned record store that ought to be ranked with some of the best nationally. It’s not downtown, but it’s just off the light rail station at Camelback and Central Avenue, making it a worthy stop for music lovers from anywhere in Phoenix.


Stinkweeds has a remarkable selection of new records and CDs, which is its strength, while it also reps racks and racks of used stuff. Stinkweeds is notable for its events and in-store concerts. It’s also a great location to pick up music books and magazines — it’s the only place I know of to buy 33 percent books, the series that covers classic albums — or to buy tickets to concerts around the Valley. Stinkweeds is likely the best one-stop shop for any Phoenician music lover.

inside stink

Revolver Records, on Second and Roosevelt streets, is one of the most bustling stores in the Valley. With a mind-boggling collection of used records and frequent turnover of recent arrivals, Revolver is the best location for the avid crate-digger. It also wins for its specialization in genres like metal and jazz (bring back the psych rock section!).

rev recs

For those not prone to search for a diamond in the rough among dusty classic rock, First Fridays is the best time to visit. In addition to hosting art, food and live music on its lawn, Revolver always whips out their best findings from the previous month on First Fridays, so the cream of the crop is readily apparent to any visitor.

inside rev

In related news: the Ghost of Eastside Records, in a Tempe location last year just outside the ASU campus, is currently in limbo. An August email from the owner announcing that a new location was forthcoming has yet to be followed up. Hopefully, Eastside chooses to set a permanent brick-and-mortar home somewhere in the Valley, instead of relegating its remarkable collection to the reliable but ephemeral online station of eBay.