To say that Lee Greenwood digs this time of year would be an understatement. Not only does the country crooner and avowed patriot get to show his love for 'Murica every Fourth of July, he also probably makes mad royalties since his 1984 hit, "God Bless the USA," tends to be played during the holiday. A lot. In fact, it's as overplayed during the holiday as Jimi Hendrix's famed version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," John Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," or Tchaikovsky's bombastic "1812 Overture."
Thankfully, your listening options this weekend aren't limited to only music extolling the virtues of the red, white, and blue (although there's plenty of that, too) as a wealth of live shows are available around the Valley, including blues, jangle pop, and good ol' rock 'n' roll.
Naturally, there will also be much in the way of club parties, DJ gigs, and nightlife events going off around Metro Phoenix like a bottle rocket, each of which will bump plenty of sounds – probably with the volume cranked up to 11.
And just as our founding fathers intended, you've got the freedom to choose where you'll be over the Fourth of July weekend, whether its watching a show or busting a move at any of the following nightlife and live music events.
BroLoaf's Annual Patriotic Metldown at Yucca Tap Room: Packing as much color and chaos as the conclusion of any fireworks spectacular, the ribald and rowdy punks of BroLoaf skewer pretty much everything associated with the Fourth of July and 'Murica in off-kiler fashion during their Annual Patriotic Meltdown at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. Lead singer Ben Brah and his gang of misfits serve up a PBR-soaked burlesque of three-chord thunder and humorous theatrics at the party that typically includes comedy, costumes, calamity, and over-the-top chants of “USA! USA! USA!” This year's celebration takes place on Friday, July 3, and includes performances by locals Camel Enamel, Old Familiar, The Dark Hearts, and Common Tongue. The fabulous fracas starts at 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Groove Candy at Wasted Grain: Esteemed local turntablist DJ M2 will be bringing back famed Valley hip-hop club event Groove Candy for one night only on Thursday, July 2, inside Wasted Grain's 100 Proof Lounge to help kick off Fourth of July weekend in dope fashion. As always, it will feature M2 and special guests spinning neo-soul, hip-hop, old school and classics. Doors are at 9 p.m.
Luminox at BRKFST: Explosions won’t only be happening in the sky or in your neighbor’s backyard this weekend. Over at BRKFST in Scottsdale, homegrown EDM her Luminox will transforming the spot into a temple of boom when he blasts his heavy-duty mixes of trap and bass music on Friday, July 3. The thunder starts rolling at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10.
Circle of Friends Tour/Fabulous Fourth at The Fort: Jangle-pop will meet jingoistic revelry on Friday, July 3, when local legends Gin Blossoms perform at Fort McDowell Casino with equally poppy '90s favorites The Rembrandts and Fastball. General admission is $30 and premium seating is $55. The concert will be followed by a fireworks spectacular, as will the following evening's Fabulous Fourth, featuring Beatles tribute Britain's Finest, Kenny Metcalf performing Elton John's greatest hits, and SoCal-based Metallica tribute Damage Inc. Tickets are $5. Performances start at 7 both nights.
Red, White and Borgeous at Maya Day & Nightclub: The partymeisters at Maya in Scottsdale will be going big on Independence Day when they'll offer 14 straight hours of revelry on Saturday, July 4, during Red, White and Borgeous. As you might have guessed, the party will feature a gig by superstar DJ/producer Borgeous, who will headline a day of EDM-fueled festivities at the venue that will also include performances by ETC! ETC! and Brass Knuckles, as well as local mixmasters like Q Ward, Ray Cache, and Knick Knack. Gates open at noon. General admission is $20 and the VIP experience, which includes express entry and access to exclusive viewing areas, is $50.
Manufactured Superstars at INTL: Rockets will be aloft throughout the Independence Day weekend, especially those that will light up the sky with a furious red glare. The spacemen of EDM duo Manufactured Superstars, who famously don astronaut suits for their gigs, will also be rocketing into the stratosphere and creating explosions of high-energy sound, albeit with groovy beats instead of gunpowder. Their launch pad for the Fourth of July weekend will be Scottsdale's INTL, where they'll blast off on Thursday, July 2, and bring clubgoers along for the ride. The countdown starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
HÄXAN's American Horror Story at Palazzo: Those who eschew sparklers and star-spangled celebrations, tend to be soured by all the patriotism of July Fourth, or just prefer dark dance music and an even darker view of American history are the sort of people that DJs Tristan/Iseult and Plastic Disease want to attend HÄXAN's event on Friday, July 3. “We invite all heretics and sinners to join us at our doomed disco-tech for discordant souls where freedom and heresy are celebrated as one in the same,” they state on the party's Facebook page. Its pretty heavy stuff, matched only by the heaviness of the soundtrack of darkwave, okkvlt, industrial, witch house, synthpop, dark electro, aggrotech, EBM, and noise that will be blasted by the duo, as well as special guests DJ Dark Mark, DJ Apollynon, and DJ Angel Toxin. The video artists of Gestalt Theory will also decorate the walls of Palazzo with “unsettling visuals” during the party, which runs from 9:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. The 18-and-over crowd can get in after 2 a.m. and the cover is $8 all night.
CONTROL! Ramones Dance Party at Bikini Lounge: Besides being legends of punk rock, The Ramones were ironically poster boys of sorts for American freedoms. No, seriously. During their heyday, the band parodied and poked fun at the good ol' U.S. of A. whenever possible – which is one of the many practices guaranteed by the First Amendment – whether it was their iconic logo spoofing the presidential seal or such songs as “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg.” It one of many reasons to raise a can of PBR in honor of the foursome of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy during the Ramones dance party at the Bikini on Saturday, July 4. DJ Raymont and Borisimo of the dive bar's CONTROL! Night will spin hits from the band all evening along with selections of trash rock and dance punk. Get sedated starting a 9 p.m. Admission is free.
The Rising at Casino Arizona: Yes, this eight-member Bruce Springsteen tribute act indeed features the Boss' best-known song, "Born in the U.S.A.," in its revue of the rock icon's biggest hits. They also do everything from "Because the Night" and "Badlands" to "Rosalita," "Glory Days," and "The Rising" (natch), most of which you'll probably hear during their sets on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, at Casino Arizona. 7:30 both nights, $15-$25.
Bob Log III at Crescent Ballroom: Gonzo slide-guitar oddity Bob Log III embodies a few of America's more notable traits. There's both ingenuity and can-do spirit in the lo-fi rocker's setup, including his helmet wired with an analog telephone receiver and his foot-powered percussion, both of which power his performances and enable his self-described "One-Man Band. Guitar. Party. Dance. Mess," which will take over Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, July 4. And his infamous mid-set stunt of drinking scotch that female concertgoers have dipped their breasts into is pure American-style debauchery. The revelry begins at 8:30 p.m. and Tucson's Pork Torta and local's Scorpion vs. Tarantula will open. Tickets are $12-$14.
Sound Kitchen at Monarch Theatre: Despite the whims of wacko Tea Partiers, the all-inclusive nature of America and Lady Liberty's famous credo of welcoming in the huddled masses means that anyone and everyone can join in the fun of Fourth of July, even if they aren't U.S. citizens. To wit: Sweedish-born electro DJs Rebecca Scheja and Fiona FitzPatrick will celebrate the most American of holidays along with a crowd of dancers at Monarch Theatre on Saturday, July 4. Doors open at 9 p.m. and there's a $10 cover.
Funky Soul Fourth at Valley Bar: We can't say for certain, but there's a chance you might hear such patriotic jams as James Brown's “Living in America” or Funkadelic's “One Nation Under a Groove” spun by either Mr. PHX and M. Rocka at their Funky Soul Fourth affair at Valley Bar on Friday, July 4. The pair will drop the needle on a multitude of funk, soul, and old-school house party classics from the likes of Cameo, Tuxedo, Dazz Band, and “The Godfather of Soul” during the event, which kicks off at 8 p.m. Admission is $5.
Tongue Tied's America, Fuck Yeah! Fourth of July Party at Linger Longer Lounge: All-American activities and trashy fun will be in abundance at the Linger Longer on Saturday, July 4, courtesy of Tounge Tied's DJ Roya and DJ Funkfinger. The two are throwing their annual “ America, Fuck Yeah! Fourth of July Party” inside the hip hangout and will offer a mix of hot dogs, miniature flags, cheap beer, and other star-spangled silliness during the gonzo getdown. A pie-eating contest and patriotic costume competition will award $50 bar cards to the winner of each showdown. Live free and party hard starting at 9 p.m. The cover will be $5.
Independence Day Parties at BLUR Nightclub: When it comes down to it, Independence Day is a holiday of excess, overindulgence, and over-the-top celebrations. Its also an occasion honoring the birth of our nation, obviously, which most everyone seems to do by going as all out as possible. That will certainly be the case over at BLUR nightclub in Scottsdale, as the spot will host back-to-back-to-back parties during the three-day weekend. Things get going on Thursday, July 2, with All-American BLURsday starring DJ Matt in the Hat, followed by Red, White & Booze with Nicasio and DJ Jon Amaral on Friday, July 3. DJ Phlava will wrap things up on Saturday, July 4, will a night of Top 40 and hip-hop jams. Doors open at 9 p.m. each evening.
The Bittersweet Way's Album Release Show at Rogue Bar: For those who'd prefer some indie pop on Independence Day, the twosome of Danny McWatters and Jedidiah Foster will celebrate the release of their new five-track EP, Songs We Like to Sing, at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale on Saturday, July 4. Fellow indie bands Genre, Manifest Sound, Field Tripp, and Some Magical Animal will also perform. Starts at 8 p.m. with a $7 cover.
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Independence Day Blues Showcase at Rhythm Room: Owing to its storied origins in the Deep South in the early years of the 20th century, blues music is most assuredly a true American art form. So its fitting to hold a celebration of the genre on the most American of holidays. Such will be the case when local blues bands J.C. and the Juke Rockers, Smokestack Lightning, and The Hoodoo Casters will fill the Rhythm Room with down-home sounds on Saturday, July 4. The showcase starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $8.
Red, White, and Rawhide at Rawhide Western Town: Boasting arguably the most diverse music lineup of any Fourth of July event locally, this evening-long event on Saturday, July 4, at Rawhide in Chandler will feature A.B. Quintanilla and Los Kumbia King All Starz, American Idol-winning alt-rocker David Cook, local old-school Latin/R&B act the AzTex band, and country musicians Caleche Ryder and Matt Farris. 4 p.m., $19.75-$30.