The 10 Best Places to Hear Free Live Music in Phoenix

DJ Don Ricardo, one of the many to provide a sonic backdrop at The Vig
DJ Don Ricardo, one of the many to provide a sonic backdrop at The Vig
Ryan Wolf

Few things are better than live music, but you know what is? Free live music. Here are 10 places in Arizona's capital city to hear cover-less bands in the flesh.

10. The Vig Uptown
It’s no secret that The Vig is a popular hangout spot. All you have to do is walk inside; at any given time, it’s most likely a full house. From brunch to late night, their menu is loaded with a bunch of tasty dishes and drinks, including enticing “Vignature” cocktails. The musical backdrop keeps things lively. Sometimes it is live music with bands like Vinyl Station who play indie rock geared toward fans of U2 and Coldplay. A lot of DJ’s with clever names are on the schedule, including DJ Riot Earp, and DJ Proper Villain.

Local band Currents rocks the Lawn Gnome stage
Local band Currents rocks the Lawn Gnome stage
Nicola Holler

9. Lawn Gnome Publishing
This downtown Phoenix bookstore gets a medal just for being one of the few bookstores still standing; they have a few years under their belt promoting literacy and culture through a host of happenings. They are particularly fond of indie lit and music, poetry, and zines and often have special events where you can see writers read and see a spotlight on independent publishers and their goods. They also have a nice backyard that has a stage that sees a good amount of live music. Acts that have graced the stage include indie band Currents and nerdcore duo Snailmate.

Enjoy mellow sounds on Timo's relaxing patio
Enjoy mellow sounds on Timo's relaxing patio
Courtesy of Timo

8. Slow Down Saturday at Timo
The name of this weekly event is a nod to the song “Slow Down” by British trip hop group, Morcheeba as much as it is a reflection of the chill vibe that DJ Andres brings to Saturday nights at this restaurant and wine bar. Timo specializes in wood-fired eats and they have pretty lush and relaxing indoor and outdoor settings where you can enjoy the food, drink, and tunes. Andres keeps things on the mellow side with a blend of seductive styles that you can groove to, like trip hop, electro-lounge, and nu jazz, and then intensifies things by playing deep house tracks.

Enjoy beats with your eats at this downtown restaurant and coffee shop
Enjoy beats with your eats at this downtown restaurant and coffee shop
Courtesy of John Sagasta

7. Beats and Brunch at Jobot
Arizonans love their patio drinking and dining. When it even remotely seems like some sun is in the sky, or will be, seats get filled. Jobot is a popular destination on Sunday mornings for Beats and Brunch, which is exactly what it sounds like. Local DJ Just Chris, and sometimes a guest DJ, sets up shop and plays beat-driven music to create a lively, jumping atmosphere for hearty plates of breakfast foods, like carrot cake pancakes with cream cheese frosting, and breakfast sloppy joes with feta fries. Enjoy your eats and beats while you peep the happenings in the Roosevelt Row ‘hood. 

Downtown Tiki bar features Friday night DJ's
Downtown Tiki bar features Friday night DJ's
Phoenix New Times

6. Funky Friday at Bikini Lounge
When the clock hits 10 p.m. on Friday nights at the Bikini Lounge, a DJ takes over. Twice a month, that duty goes to DJ Jazzmaster Jax, who commands the turntables at Phoenix’s oldest and most authentic Tiki bar. Jax is also known as Jackie Cruz who, when she’s not DJing, sings and plays guitar in local bands Man Hands and Jade Helm. At this regular event, she is prepared to mix it up. You will get your ears treated to a diverse mix of punk, folk, ska, reggae, garage, new wave, and goth, just to name a few of the genres she spins. 


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