The 18 Best Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 Parties in Phoenix

Come through. It's going to be lit over Thanksgiving weekend.EXPAND
Come through. It's going to be lit over Thanksgiving weekend.
Benjamin Leatherman

Thanksgiving is nothing if not steeped in tradition. Some you love; others, you probably loathe.

One of our favorite things about the holiday is the fact that, if you’re lucky enough, you’ve got four days and nights at your disposal over Thanksgiving weekend. Granted, you might have to spend some time with kith and kin on Turkey Day, but that’s maybe a few hours at most.

The big question is, what are you going to do with it? If you’re hoping to spend a few nights on the dance floor, downing drinks, checking out a concert, or simply letting loose, you couldn’t have picked a better time than the Thanksgiving weekend.

And thanks to the fact that few people have to work the next day, the night before the holiday is considered to be one of the biggest occasions to tie one on or set it off. As a result, there are enormous amounts of nightlife events, club events, and live gigs taking place on Thanksgiving Eve. This year is no exception, as dozens of parties and “Drinksgiving” celebrations will be happening in Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale on Wednesday, November 23.

The following two evenings are also plenty busy as well, as many folks will take a break from family obligations to hit up parties on both Thanksgiving night and Black Friday.

Here’s a look at 18 such events happening over the holiday weekend around the Valley.

RB Deep at Bar Smith
Superstar spinstress Sandra Collins returns to the city where she made her bones as a DJ to headline a special Thanksgiving Eve edition of house night RB Deep at Bar Smith on Wednesday, November 23. Locals Dan Lunsford and the duo of Turner and Heit will also perform at the party, which takes place underneath the stars in the club’s open-air rooftop lounge. Doors are at 9 p.m. and tickets are $10.

Turkey Tits at Cobra Arcade Bar
After he finishes dropping jokes at Stand Up Live on Wednesday, November 23, comedian Hannibal Buress will be dropping beats at Cobra as “DJ Burger Feet” along with frequent collaborator and electronic/indie producer DJ Tony Trimm. The event is being put on by Jen Deveroux, the party promoter behind such shindigs as Peep Me XOXO, and will also feature spins from Meanmugg and live art masterpieces created by locals Dumperfoo and Robert Gentile. Things get going at 9 p.m., and there's no cover.

Fk a Genre Tour at The Pressroom
Phoenix-born DJ/producer Mija is coming home for the holiday and is bringing a few friends with her, some of which you may have heard of before, like, for instance, Jack Beats, as well as Nosaj Thing, Ardalan, and Durante. Each of these esteemed EDM artists, as well as Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation, will participate in the Valley’s stop of her Fk a Genre tour, an innovative and outside-the-box series of parties featuring lineups curated by Mija. (Read more about the project here.) Local DJ and longtime friend Sean Watson will also be involved. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35.

Phunk Junkeez are in the house.
Phunk Junkeez are in the house.
Lokey Photography

Phunk Junkeez at Marquee Theatre
The legendary rap-rock band – who’s party-hearty hits "Me ‘n’ Yer Girl" and “I Love It Loud” were staples of '90s alternative radio and popped up in flicks and video game soundtracks – return to their old stomping grounds of Tempe for a special Thanksgiving weekend concert on Wednesday, November 23. And they'll have their original lineup (including Soulman, K-Tel Disco, DJ Roachclip, Jumbo Jim, Disco Danny Dynamite and Jeff O'Rourke) to boot. Zoom, Interfate, Bent Self, Guerilla Party, and Fire Glass are also on the lineup. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $25, balcony seating is $45.

Pre-Thanksgiving at Last Exit Live
Renowned local rocker Jason DeVore and a backing band will serve up all sorts of songs – including those from Authority Zero’s discography and his solo career – on Wednesday, November 23, at Last Exit Live. Cori Rios from the Hourglass Cats, Sam Wiley of the Wiley Ones, and Lost in the Sun will open the evening, which kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Groove Candy/Happy Drinksgiving at Wasted Grain
Turntable kings M2 and Madd Rich will be spinning up hip-hop, neo-soul, and classics up in Wasted Grain's 100 Proof Lounge on Wednesday, November 23, during this pre-Thanksgiving joint. Drink specials and bottle deals include $5 you-call-its for ladies before 11 p.m. and $150 Circo and $200 Patron or Hennessey. Doors open at 9 p.m., and there's free entry before 11 p.m. Meanwhile, the main room at Wasted Grain will host a "Happy Drinksgiving" shindig starting at 10 p.m. with music from Metalhead. Admission is free.

Pro Teens
Pro Teens
Ben Backhaus

Thanksgiving Eve Party at Valley Bar
In need of something groovy to do on the night of Wednesday, November 23? The members of the Hi-Dreams DJ Collective have an offer you might not be able to refuse: spend it hanging out in the basement playing games and listening to cool music. The basement in this particular scenario is the below-ground Valley Bar, which host gigs by local indie bands Pro Teens and Nanami Ozone, as well as the funk-loving DJs of Hi-Dreams. The party starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $3.

Beneath the Red Light Part 3  Thanksgiving Eve at Melinda’s Alley
Meanwhile, another stylish subterranean soiree will be taking place across the street inside of the speakeasy-like Melinda's Alley. Melodic house and techno will fill the basement-level drinkery, which is situated underneath the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, during the event, courtesy of such DJs as LUVr, Ant Honey, Weston Parish, and Michael Hooker. And thanks to the crack bartending staff behind the stick at Melinda’s Alley, luxe libations will be in abundance. The sounds and spirits start flowing at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Under the Bridge Folk Fest at Margaret T. Hance Park
The punks of Boston’s Tail Light Rebellion will headline the latest edition of the Under the Bridge Folk Fest on Wednesday, November 23, which – as its name portends – will take place beneath the Central Avenue bridge that spans Hance Park. Local acts and artists the Blood Feud Family Singers, Diego Galvan, Sarah Amstutz, Winnie Die, and the Crown Victoria Vandalism Committee are also scheduled to perform. The concert runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is free to attend, although organizers would appreciate it if you could chip in some cash to help pay the touring bands.

Celebrating the Thanksgiving weekend in Scottsdale last year.EXPAND
Celebrating the Thanksgiving weekend in Scottsdale last year.
Benjamin Leatherman

The Noodles/Zeppapotapus at Cactus Jack's
The classic tunes of both the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 23, by a pair of renowned Valley tribute bands. Zeppapotapus goes on at 8 p.m. and will pay homage the music to Jimmy Page and Company (including "Dancing Days," "Ramble On," and "Going to California). The Noodles, who have bee paying tribute to the Dead since the mid-'90s, hit the stage at 10 p.m. Admission is $10.

Upcoming Events

Red Monkey at Monarch Theatre
Local house music guru Pete “SuperMix” Salaz continues his Thanksgiving night tradition of serving up a buffet of beats during the annual RedMonkey dance party on Thursday, November 24, at the Monarch. This year’s special guests include Brooklyn-based electronica/jazz fusion group Tortured Soul, DK Strickler, Dr. Drea, and DJ Senbad. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $20.

The Blunt Club's Bluntsgiving at Valley Bar
The turntablists, rappers, and artists behind the Valley’s longest-running hip-hop night will lay out a repast of beats and rhymes during the annual Bluntsgiving celebration on Thursday, November 24, at the downtown venue. To wit: local selectors and scratchers like Element, M2, Organic, P-Nyce, Fact135, and Pickster One will triple-team a trio of turntables during an evening-long three-by-six DJ set. At midnight, hip-hop artists Mouse Powell and the Insects will put on a collaborative mini-set along with Very G. and DJ Reubot. The records roll starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Lux-Giving at Lux Central
Sean Watson and Benni Beatnik have made a habit of spending Thanksgiving night providing the soundtrack at Lux for a crowd of folks eager to while away the remaining hours of the holiday dancing or just hanging out. This year won't be any different as Watson, Beatnik, and possibly a few guests will be in the mix at the coffee and craft cocktail joint on Thursday, November 24. As always, drink specials and holiday punch will be available. The festivities begin at 9 p.m., and there’s no cover.

Tristan/IseultEXPAND
Tristan/Iseult
Benjamin Leatherman

Undead Can Dance at The Rebel Lounge
Fast fact: Dancing can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories per hour, depending on how vigorously you’re moving on the dance floor. In other words, it's an ideal way to burn off the consequences of your Thanksgiving gorge, even if it involves stomping and swaying around to dark sounds and gloomy music like the hellions who will attend the Undead Can Dance party on Thursday, November 24, at the Rebel Lounge. A triumvirate of DJs (Tristan/Iseult, Aeternum, and Zander) will be blasting goth, death rock, darkwave, and shoegaze at the event. Attendees are requested to dress to depress. Starts at 9 p.m., and there’s a $5 cover.

Darude at Gypsy Bar
The first thing you need to know about Darude’s gig at this CityScape nightspot on Friday, November 25, is that, yes, he will be blasting “Sandstorm,” his signature track. It won’t be the only arrow in his quiver, however, as the famed European-born producer is likely to drop plenty of trance and electronica soundscapes. The beats start at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.

Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh at Yucca Tap Room
Similar to other shopping centers throughout the Valley sprawl, Danelle Plaza in Tempe is going to be populated with a slew of people on Friday, November 25, during Black Friday. Their M.O. for being there, however, won’t be to duke it out for deals, but rather to partake in a multitude of music and culture being offered during the latest edition of Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh. Bands and DJ will perform at most of the spots and shops at the plaza, which is located at the southwest corner of Mill and Southern avenues. Flagstaff’s DJ Emmett, for instance, will be spinning vinyl inside Double Nickels (natch) while Andy Warpigs, TOSO, Meet the Sun, and Harrison Hufman will perform at Fiftyone West. Meanwhile, Yucca Tap Room will feature music from Playboy Manbaby, the Echo Bombs, Snailmate, and others. HotRock SupaJoint hosts the free event, which starts at 6 p.m.

KUKQ ResurreKQtion: BlaKQ Friday at Rips
The Valley’s legendary alternative station of yesteryear – which broadcast indie, punk, alt-rock, and underground sounds back in the late '80s to early '90s – will be feted on Friday, November 25, at Rips. Onetime KUKQ jock Leah Miller will fill the midtown rock bar with classic songs from said era all evening long along with KUKQ superfan Jim Ballard. The music starts at 9 p.m. Admission is free.


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