The Hive being formed as a new venue for concert-goers
By MacKenzie Chase
Tucked away down Phoenix Avenue off of Beaver Street in Flagstaff’s Southside neighborhood, Tacos Locos has been serving quality Mexican food for a fair price. All the while, the location has been hosting concerts.
Restaurant owner Matt Lowen decided to relocate Tacos Locos after having issues with the previous, almost-hidden location.
“We weren’t getting enough business, [because there was] not enough traffic,” he said.
The new location is on San Francisco Street, right next to Café Pickles.
“We’re actually sharing the kitchen with Café Pickles,” said Lowen.
This shift is the start of a larger focus on the restaurant for Lowen, who no longer plans the concert aspect of the business.
“The shows were taken over maybe six months ago . . . because I was sick of trying to run it and the restaurant,” he explained.
James Higbee is now the man behind the music.
The former Tacos Locos building on Beaver Street will be opened to the public in November under the name The Hive. Higbee plans to make the space a combination art gallery, recording studio and concert venue.
“It’s a gallery and venue [right now],” Higbee said. “The near future plan is an accessible recording studio so, there’ll be a downtown location where you could make demos.”
The Hive is a part of the Studio Beez business which was founded by Higbee as a way to make use of all his music and sound equipment.
“I told myself that I would never throw away any instrument . . . or gear that I got, or pawn or sell or anything like that, and so I finally reached the point where I had so much I had to justify owning it,” Higbee said.
Studio Beez is planning to set up internship programs in the near future for university students who are interested in learning about music productio.
“It’s a launching point for this industry [because] there aren’t any real mentors for it and there is all just trial and error learning,” Higbee explained. “If I can provide, through this place and Studio Beez, a place where people can safely get exposure to it and avoid some pitfalls, then I think I did my job.”
Until those programs are fully planned and put in motion, the venue is open for all different types of concerts. For bands interested in taking advantage of this new space, it’s a pretty straightforward process to book a show at the Hive.
“They just go to the website and they can view the tentative event calendar [to see] days that we would do shows [and if they] are open or [if] we are booked,” Higbee said.
The venue is host to a number of art installations and events the rest of the time when shows aren’t being put on.
The Hive’s art director Luke Thom and assistant art director Ivan Bronston have big plans for the studio as a gallery.
“We want it to be community-driven,” Bronston said. “I think we’re just trying to put out there that any young artist can come in here and talk to us and probably get there stuff put on the wall.”
The walls and even the floor of the studio make it clear this is a space for artists. Bronston has many of his paintings hung up on display with a number unique images along with his artist’s moniker, Unsung, painted in graffiti style on each.
Art director Thom had previously worked as a studio assistant at the Beaver Street Gallery, where he gained experience curating around 30 shows.
“It was fun and I wanted to do that again, but I just wanted to do it on my own terms,” Thom said. “I wanted to bring young artists who haven’t really had any experience showing in a gallery and I wanted this to be the first place, like a stepping stone for young artists to get their foot in the door.”
Any aspiring artist could have the opportunity to display their artwork in the Hive if they’re serious enough and can show good samples of their work.
“We still want the young artists to compete for it,” Bronston said. “We don’t want it to be like preschool.”
“It’s cool here too, because all our artists have the option to different installations, so they can paint on the wall, the floor, anything else that’s paintable,” Thom added.
Being surrounded by art is sure to get people thinking creatively or will at least allow them to appreciate others’ talent.
The transition from restaurant to venue has been a smooth one according to Higbee, Thom and Bronston.
“Matt has really been awesome through all of this; it’s been a great experience,” Higbee said.
The Hive hopes to become an important part of the Southside community and really get the musical and artistic community involved.
“We wanna be tightly tied to NAU, because we’re all alumni. With the skills we have from NAU, we were able to go in this direction,” Higbee said. “We were able to build from our passion and our education.”
In a town full of creative people, the Hive fits right in. For more details about future events and programs, visit their website at StudioBeez.biz.