A dance club and an east-side barbecue joint have turned to live music.
DV8, 5851 E. Speedway, changed its name to Club XS in late August and hosts local and national bands three nights a week. Hog Pit Smokehouse at 6910 E. Tanque Verde Road is hosting live music nightly.
Club XS owner Keya Tehrani has run a club in the 11,000-square-foot building since he opened Mirage in 1985. The club has changed its theme and decor several times since — Top 40 dance club as Pacific Beach Club from 1990 to 94, dark ambience with bikini-clad dancers in cages as the alt-rocking The Cage from 1994 until an electrical fire destroyed it on July 4, 1996.
Tehrani rebuilt the club and reopened in early 1997 as the all-purpose DV8 dance club that dabbled in everything from rock to hip-hop and electronica. The name stuck — mostly because Tehrani, who also started and owns Coffee X Change, was preoccupied raising his two children and going through a divorce.
That changed last summer when Tehrani realized he longed for live music the way he remembered it during his college days at the University of Arizona.
“Live music has changed in Tucson. I remember when I was in college in the ’70s it was a true nightclub, with a big stage and the focus was the band,” he said. “I decided I wanted to do it like live music should be done.”
Club XS will feature local bands on most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, performing a bit of everything, from blues and 1980s-90s rock to Latin and salsa. There is no cover charge, except when it brings in national acts like Faster Pussycat on Dec. 1; tickets are $10.
Tucson jazzman Les Baxter took over the Hog Pit Smokehouse on Nov. 1. He is in the process of buying it with his girlfriend Trina Smucker, he said.
Baxter is no stranger to running a restaurant. Soon after he came to Tucson in 1996, he landed a job managing the old Oliver Twist Café on East Speedway. When his music career picked up speed, the jazz bassist left the restaurant to focus on music with his Les Baxter Factor band, playing nightly at Sakura Teppan Steak & Sushi, Hilton East, Doubletree Inn, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and the Bamboo Club.
“There’s probably not a place that we haven’t played,” Baxter said.
Except the Hog Pit, which has a patio that seats about 50 to 75 and a dining room that can fit 120.
After three weeks of talking, Baxter struck up a deal to take over the restaurant. From the first night, he started offering live music nightly from a handful of local musicians and a rotating lineup on Saturdays. (Country crooner DeLon is on tap Saturday.)
One thing that won’t change: the menu of pecan-smoked ribs,chicken and pulled pork unchanged.
“The food is phenomenal,” Baxter said. “I feel like I just walked into a gold mine.”