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Bar Smith Owners, Relentless Beats to Broaden EDM Scene with Monarch Theatre

Published: Monday, May 14, 2012

Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 14:07

Monarch Theatre

Tiera Allen

Monarch Theatre Co-owners Pete Salaz and Sean Badger


The rise of a new nightlife venue in downtown Phoenix has the potential to bring new life and culture into the heart of the city. At least that is what the owners of the newly opened Monarch Theatre are hoping for as they prepare for a grand opening on Memorial Day weekend.

Owners Pete Salaz, Sean Badger and Edson Madrigal, who also collectively own and run the popular indie dance club Bar Smith had their eyes on the space next door for quite some time. When the location for the now shuttered PHX nightclub became available, Badger said the guys jumped at the opportunity.

“Bar Smith itself is different from everywhere else in town,” Badger said. “We don’t really do a lot of commercial music. We cater to a niche market and try to keep the music and entertainment as original as we can, so we’re just expanding that theory next door.”
The difference, Badger adds, is space and the capacity to host bigger, world-class entertainers. The music driven venue will host a mixture of DJs and live acts, and serve as a hybrid of a concert venue and nightclub.

With a state-of-the-art sound system, a capacity of 500 and nearly 7,000 square feet of dance floor, Badger said he hopes are that The Monarch becomes a destination venue for Downtown Phoenix.

“We want worldly people, people who are more cosmopolitan in nature from all walks of life, whether their professional or artists,” Badger said. “We want people who are music enthusiast.”
That’s is why the owners enlisted the help of Relentless Beats owner and operator, Thomas Turner, who has been running the electronic dance music promotion company for 16 years in the Southwest. Here in the Valley, Relentless Beats is responsible for Giant Wednesdays and Sound Kitchen at Wild Knight in Scottsdale.

“We are extremely excited,” Turner said. “We both have a long history of supporting dance music in the community, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that they got their hands on this room and that they reached out to me.”
On Saturday nights, Relentless Beats will usher in a steady flow of electronic music talent. The music, Turner said, will consist of forward-thinking electronica and cultured acts.

In previous years, the Scottsdale nightlife scene has dominated the EDM culture, but, according to Turner, Scottsdale has some perceived barriers and excludes many from being exposed to it. With the help of the Monarch, Relentless Beats will be able to expand Phoenix’s musical palate.

“Those that come to Monarch will be there for the music as opposed to bar hopping,” Turner said “These are going to be people looking for a music experience and they’re going to get that there.”
The owners are working to build a Latin night, planned for Fridays, which will feature smaller, touring Latin artists.

“We’re really enthusiastic about good Latin music and presenting entertainment that is appropriate for Arizona,” Badger said.

Although the venue has been open every weekend since late April for staff training, the Monarch Theatre is still undergoing renovations in preparation for its grand opening night on May 26.

Turner has lined up Grammy nominated Nadia Ali, who is one the most recognizable female vocalists in the electronic music industry.

“I’m hoping we make a huge impact on Arizona and downtown Phoenix’s music scene,” Badger said. “I really want to see Phoenix become the city that should be and not just the town that it’s known as, and I think that we could definitely help get it there by presenting world-class entertainment.”


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