And to think people scoffed when New Times put Digital Summer on its cover back in 2008.
Given all its recent success, one might think Winterstein and company would be justified in charging $20 or more for their CD release show on Friday at the Marquee Theatre. Instead, Digital Summer decided to give back to their fanbase by offering free admission.
All the relevant details can be found after the jump, as well as the 411 on nine other inexpensive events worth checking out.
Digital Summer at Marquee Theatre (Friday):
Frontman Kyle Winterstein says that the band decided to hold a free CD release party a week ago and it's like "killing two birds with one stone" since they also wanted to show off their stuff to representatives from In Da Goot and Warner-Reprise Records (the latter which is reportedly scouting the band). "Since we didn't feel it was right to charge our fans for a gig after only a week's notice we said, 'Screw it, let's do a free show." Opening the show will be a few of Digital Summer's friends, including The Asylum, Versed In Grey, and Hollestate. 6:30 p.m., free. (730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-829-0707)
Paul Espinosa Border Film Festival at Tempe Center for the Arts (Friday):
Whether you boycotted Cinco de Mayo or spent it in a tequila-fueled sueño, oblivious to actual Mexican-American culture and sociopolitical issues, solace will come at the Paul Espinosa Border Film Festival, presented free to the public by the Arizona Humanities Council. Arizona State University professor and award-winning filmmaker Espinosa will be present for discussions, along with other big-time brainy academic types who can remind us what's really at stake... (Click here to read more) 6 p.m., free. (700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, 480-350-2829) -- Julie Peterson
Crotch Rockitt at TBA (Friday):
The promoters of this new weekly dance night are being rather cagey about publicizing its location, directing folks to their Facebook page instead of giving up the actual address. Normally, I'd probably go tell 'em to suck eggs at this point rather than play such games. But since Crotch Rockitt sounds like its gonna be fairly groovy time (including two different DJs, each blasting their own distinctive sounds), I'm willing to give them a pass. Room one offers rock, mod, indie, and vintage tracks, while the second space features electro, dance rock, explicit disco, and X-rated pop. 9 p.m., $5.
When You're Strange at MadCap Theaters (Friday):
Local aficionados of The Doors are probably feeling pretty groovy right now. Not only is Ray Manzarek playing the Compound Grill this coming Wednesday night, but Tom DiCillo's award-winning rock doc about the band will be screen this weekend at the Tempe repertory house. Surviving members of the Doors have described the 105-minute flick (which is narrated by Johnny Depp) as "the anti-Oliver Stone" since it offers a better look at the Lizard King and his crew than that execrable 1991 biopic. 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.; $8. (730 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-634-5192)
Sounds of the Southwest at Chandler Center for the Arts (Friday):
Jack Herriman and Alex Zheng will conduct the Chander Symphony as it performs a variety of Mexican and Latin American musical selections for local music lovers. 7:30 p.m., free. (250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, 480-782-2680)
Casual Saturdays at the Trailer Park (Saturday): Few experiences in life are as harsh as getting dumped. You're flying high and part of something special one minute, and then out on your ass the next. Just ask the cats down at the Trailer Park, which used to be a part of the Dos Gringos chain until it was sold off last year. The hacienda-like frat shack located near ASU is moving on and attempting to forge its own identity by hosting such off-the-hook events as the recently launched Casual Saturdays. DJ Phlava from 101.5 Jamz serves as miuxmaster and party instigator during the weekly affair, spinning up hip-hop hits and old-school anthems all night while the bar serves $2 drink specials until midnight. 9 p.m., ladies are free and guys pay $5 until 11:30 p.m. (1001 E. 8th St., Tempe, 480-968-7879)
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Long John Hunter & Bad News Blues Band at Rhythm Room (Saturday):
"Late bloomers hold a special place in our hearts. They represent perseverance, new directions, and second acts. Such is the story of Long John Hunter, a Texas bluesman who didn't "make it" until he was 66 years old, when Alligator Records turned him into a star -- outside of the West Texas scene he had dominated for nearly 30 years -- in 1996. Like any good bluesman with almost five decades in the game, the guitarist harbors a few good legends -- like the one about how murdered hitmaker Bobby Fuller ("I Fought the Law") was Hunter's protégé. Or the one in which a young Buddy Holly would sneak over the border into Juárez, Mexico, to see Hunter play. Don't matter if the tales are tall or not. It's all part of the blues." 9 p.m., $7. (1019 E. Indian School Rd., 602-265-4842) -- Jay Bennett
Betty White viewing party at Cherry Bar (Saturday):
God bless the power of Facebook. When they weren't busty shepherding their virtual farms or engaging in mafia warfare, a half million users of the social media network combined forces in recent weeks and helped octogenarian starlet Betty White land a gig hosting gig this weekend's edition of Saturday Night Live. Celebrate the occasion by watching the Golden Girl yukk it up during this viewing party at the CenPho gay bar. It's guaranteed to be a rather catty affair, where those wearing Betty White wigs will get half-priced drinks. 8 p.n., free. (1028 E. Indian School Rd., 602-277-7729)
Hogjaw CD release show at Blooze Bar (Saturday):
"Phoenix-based swamp-rock band Hogjaw couldn't have picked a better time to release their new album, Ironwood. After all, Arizona is descending into redneck depravity with the "birther" bill, SB 1070, and, most pertinent to Hogjaw, the legalization of carrying a concealed weapon without permit. We're going to need a crazed Southern rock soundtrack to play as we get our papers in order, and Ironwood is such a record, a nearly perfect take on the guitar histrionics of Molly Hatchet and Lynyrd Skynryd. A chunky metal edge even suggests these dudes might have a couple of Mastodon LPs in their collection..." (Click here to read more) 7:30 p.m., $6. (12014 N. 32nd St., 602-788-4574) -- Jason P. Woodbury
Phoenix Chorale at American Lutheran Church (Sunday):
This weekend offers your last chance to see the Valley's premier vocal ensemble (who are also Grammy winners to boot) before the long hot summer begins. They're offering a Sunday afternoon performance of their "Amazing Grace" program and those lucky enough can get in for free. Admission isn't guaranteed, however, as the deal's dependant on how many seats are available 10 minutes prior to showtime. Check out their website for more details. 3 p.m. (17200 N. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City)