If you happen to be a weekday worker, Wednesday nights usually mean dinner and TV at home. If you really want to punch it up, maybe you watch your latest Netflix and stay up past 10 p.m. Sexy.

We recommend ditching your midweek rut to get funky. "Groove Candy" at the Door in Tempe has been going strong for over a year and has managed to hook in loads of folks looking to drink, dance, and get a little wild. The small club, decked out in posters of pin-up girls, fills up quick and stays bumping right through to last call, surely making for some tough Thursday mornings at the office.

We're thinking that everyone should ditch their typical Wednesday routine for Groove Candy. After all, a dry hump on the dance floor seems the perfect way to wrap up a hump day.

BEST PLACE TO HUMP BLOWUP GODZILLA DOLLS

A NunZilla show

Valley punk band NunZilla knows how to bring out the party animal in people. At any given show — from gigs at Casa Blanca Lounge to the Zombie Ball performance at The Sets in Tempe to their early shows at Hollywood Alley in Mesa — the members of NunZilla encourage audiences to get hammered (Sister Kenyattasaurus Rex once poured her whiskey down some dude's throat) and act the fool. And the best tools for fools are kids' toys, particularly giant, blow-up Godzilla dolls. NunZilla's got three of 'em at every show. They're supposed to be props, but they become plastic whores, as audience members ride them around mosh pits and hump them for drunken photos. Some people get quite attached — at one show, one very ardent fan grabbed a Godzilla, proclaimed it as his date, and waltzed off with it to God-knows-where and to do God-knows-what, a direction violation of the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" commandment. Let's hope the Nunz don't start showing up with giant rulers at shows to start rapping our knuckles.
Jugheads
It's a small club, bands are always complaining about the crappy PA, drink specials are usually along the lines of 25-cent cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and your feet usually stick to the floor. Punk fucking rock. J-Heads (formerly known as Jugheads) has been a component of the Valley's punk rock scene for years. Members of another scene staple, the Web forum AZPunk.com, refer to J-heads as "THE place to go to find the heart of punk rock in Arizona" and give it props for "best show energy, best beers on tap" (the jukebox is crammed with cool, old-school punk tunes, too). And local horror-punks Calabrese call it their "venue of choice." While larger clubs usually nab the big-name national punk bands, J-Heads still books more local punk shows than any other venue, playing host to a slew of Phoenix's finest. Bands like Numbers On Napkins, Labor Party, The Complainiacs, Blanche Davidian, and Drunk On Tuesday have all played multiple shows there. Hell, even senior citizens like Sun City punk rockers One Foot in the Grave have rocked the stage. J-Heads hosts some of the best underground national punk acts, too, like Canada's Motorama, Oregon's Ugly Litter, and Denver's NoPlotKill. Now, if they could just pimp their PA.
Listening to Vomitando's unique "Metalachi" sound is quite the pleasurable experience, and something we have never quite heard before. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, and currently based in Mesa, the band, as described by frontman Puncho Villa, sounds like "Julio Iglesias and GWAR made love and gave birth to a five-headed child named Vomitando." Their current performance schedule is limited, especially after their original drummer was deported days before a Christmas Day show at Strokers (for real), but don't fret because their MySpace page is chock full of band news and punch-in-the-face tunes sung in Spanish and English. One of the best examples is the bare-bones "City of Tacostan," which makes light of the Arizona/Mexico border strife with the lyrics, "Just came to sell some tacos/Until the break of dawn/But until I find my tacos/Well, I guess I'll mow your lawn." A full-length release is scheduled this year on Shedtunes Records, a label whose name comes from Vomitando's early recordings that were made in a shed.
If you happen to miss the Free Street Band's sidewalk performances outside Carly's Bistro at Second Street and Roosevelt during First Friday in downtown Phoenix, don't worry. You can also catch the marching musical group at the corner of Garfield and Third Street, or McKinley and Fourth, or even... Well, you get the point. Like local rockers the MadCaPs, the pipe-and-drum trio stays on the move during the monthly art walk (except they're on foot instead of the back of a pickup truck), bringing their wailing brand of music to the masses. Led by abstract painter and bass drummer Joe Axton, this kilt-clad quintet of aging hippies also includes a bagpiper, snare drummer, bodrhán player, and bass player who perform such standards as "Scotland the Brave" or anti-war favorites like John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" all over the Evans-Churchill neighborhood. Unlike the MadCaPs, who always seemed to be getting tailed by the cops, we're betting the fuzz won't bother with these guys. Just try to catch them — The Free Street Band doesn't even have a MySpace page. Leave word at collins.fowler@cox.net.

BEST BAND WHO USE MOM'S POTS AND PANS

Tent/City

When we were young, the sounds of mom's clinking pots and pans signaled chow time was coming right up. Those clanks never held any musical value. But maybe they should have.

That's why we dig the creative mini-geniuses John Ryan Nelson, James Fella, Ashlea Hohm, Marla Thyer, and James Roemer of local sensation Tent/City, who incorporate objects such as saucepans and kitchen cutlery into their atmospheric sound. The playing of these "instruments" is only part of the ensemble's full sound. Live gigs normally feature one 20-plus-minute composition, where several members sample live sounds from woodwind instruments or human vox, which are then thrown into a digital sound processor to create ambient loops. These sound collages are played while the sextet are huddled under some sort of makeshift tent structure, such as a PVC pipe assemblage with colorful streamers, a pillow fort with blankets and sheets for the roof, or inside a camping tent on the Grand Avenue sidewalk.

If you can't catch this wonderful circus in person, recordings of these performances are available for purchase at www.gilgongorecords.com/tentcity.html.

BEST LOCAL BAND TO GET SOME NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Psychostick

How did the nation get hit over the head with humor-core metal band Psychostick? Was it because of the chicken-head hats and cow costumes? The smarmy back-and-forth banter with fans? The tours and shows with folks like Bobaflex, Indorphine, Army of Anyone, and Three Days Grace?

Well, those things are all well and good, but the two things that really put Psychostick at the forefront of Phoenix bands were 1) Having fans that play in bigger bands, and 2) That damn "Beer!!" song that they're probably sick of playing already.

When Psychostick's debut, We
Couldn't Think of a Title
(Rock Ridge) came out late last year, members of L.A. metal band Otep — specifically bassist eViL j and singer Otep Shamaya — started singing the praises of the wacky quartet, steering thousands of Otep's fans to Psychostick's music. Then, XM Satellite Radio station Squizz 48 put "Beer!!" in heavy rotation, and the song dominated the No. 1 spot on the station's top-10 countdown for seven consecutive weeks. The video for the song then popped up on Web sites like Ebaumsworld.com and Collegehumor.com, forcing Psychostick to identify as "the band that does that 'Beer!!' song." We can't wait to see what their next accidental hit is going to be.

BEST PLACE TO SEE AWESOME ROCK 'N' ROLL MEMORABILIA

Alice Cooper'stown

Alice Cooperstown
Phoenix's resident shock-rocker is a relic himself, so it's no surprise that a man who's spent more than 41 years recording and touring would accumulate enough rock memorabilia to fill the walls of his restaurant from floor to ceiling. Not only are several of Cooper's own platinum records displayed, but he's got shiny signed platters from dozens of other music legends hanging around, as well as signed guitars galore from the likes of the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Santana, and the Rolling Stones.

For a while, there was a mounted boar's head hanging on the wall, courtesy of caveman rocker Ted Nugent. There are also numerous signed photos, set lists, and even signatures all over the walls outside the bathrooms. Clearly, Cooper's got friends in high places. Unfortunately, none of the memorabilia is for sale, but it's all there for the looking. And if your wallet does get antsy sitting in your pocket while you're scarfing down the restaurant's award-winning barbecue, Cooper's got a merchandise stand near the entrance, where you can buy all sorts of Cooper gear, from baseball jerseys to shot glasses.

Hi-Liter Lounge
The Hi-Liter is the "old reliable" of Valley flesh palaces. Largely, the eye-candy is young, friendly, and well worth ogling. The strippers tend not to be quite as aggressive when it comes to soliciting lap dances as in other spots. A delightful song-length dalliance (uh, with your clothes on, of course) will cost you only $10, and almost any tip is appreciated. The bouncers are actually helpful, as long as you're behaving yourself. And you can download a coupon from the bar's Web site that'll get you through the door gratis.

What else could you ask for? Well, you didn't ask for it, but here's a little history: The Hi-Liter's been in business in one form or another since 1962; it was a piano bar before it went go-go in the '70s. And, oddly, it had a hand in the creation of what eventually became Hustler magazine. According to Larry Flynt, who explains it all in his autobiography An Unseemly Man, it was while scouting strip clubs in Phoenix back in the day that he spotted a copy of the still-extant freebie adult newspaper Bachelor's Beat. Flynt's Dayton, Ohio, franchise of this PHX pub eventually morphed into Hustler, which now has its offices in a big, black building in Beverly Hills. Class dismissed. So Hi-Liter has another claim to fame other than being an awesome chichi bar, and one of the many places Mike Tyson's flipped out at while living in Sand Land.

Half Moon Sports Grill
Never has a little butt-crack been so sexy. Seriously. You'll literally see what we're talking about when you check out a Lunar Party at Half Moon Sports Grill. Once a month, women of all ages compete for the distinction of being a calendar girl of the month, which grants winning contestants a complimentary professional sports photography shoot and wall space for a large-format black-and-white image.

The catch? Winners gotta show a little booty, or just enough to expose their half moon. Our favorite calendar girl pinups include women shooting hoops, lining up a bull's-eye shot with a bow and arrow, fiercely smashing a tennis ball over the net, and walloping a volleyball in midair. Drink specials include $2 Pyramid hefeweizens and bargain-basement deals on Skyy vodka cocktails. For once, crack won't kill ya.

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