Best DJ 2017 | DJ Gila Man | Nightlife | Phoenix

Ryan Rousseau is a man of few words and a whole lotta records. When the longtime rocker isn't fronting psych-punk outfit Destruction Unit (or one of his many other musical projects), chances are good you'll find him out and spinning select vinyl oddities at Valley Bar or The Womack under the moniker DJ Gila Man. Expect stoned psychedelic grooves, outer-space trips, and assorted far-out sounds when Rousseau mans the ones and twos. In other words? The Gila Man will serve up out-there shit that's probably playing nowhere else in town.

You might know Les Sias better as Les735 or simply DJ Les. Regardless, the Phoenix turntablist knows a thing or three about scratching. Sias showed off his mad spinning skills during the 2017 DMC Phoenix Regional DJ Battle at The Rebel Lounge. Let's just say he wowed the crowd while going head-to-head with the Southwest's most notable scratch kings, because Sias earned himself a spot at the DMC National DJ Battles, held in August at New York City's Highline Ballroom. Les took his tables on the road, and the trip marked the Valley DJ's second shot at competing at the national showdown, as he also competed back in 2013.

Benjamin Leatherman

What is Elaine's fake phone number? Which Seinfeld episode title is the only one to not start with "The?" If you could possibly know the answer to these questions, your place is Seinfeld Trivia at Valley Bar. This free, basement-based competition is known as The Trivia Night About Absolutely Nothing, and they are right. What is Jerry's apartment number? You see? Team names are always fun, like "They're Real and They're Spectacular" and "Cherry Binaca," and prizes include everything from big stickers of Kramer and George to muffin tops and Junior Mints. Seinfeld Trivia is hosted by Emily The Lewis, and music is often provided by DJ Shane Kennedy. Craft cans are often a dollar off, and there is but one major rule: no phones.

Leave it to Anwar Newton and Dan Thomson to turn something called Literally the Worst Show Ever into literally one of the most talked-about events in downtown. The local comedians teamed up back in 2015 to launch the underground variety show, and they've been more or less selling out tickets ever since. Almost every month, Newton and Thomson take the stage with a live band and four comics of their choosing. What follows is two hours of well-planned unpredictability and entertainment. Get your tickets fast and grab a seat early, because Literally the Worst Show Ever is currently one of best ways to spend a Friday night.

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If sports bars are supposed to be large, dark rooms with wall-to-wall TV screens airing every game under the sun, and maybe a lengthy, Italian-themed menu of pizza, wings, subs, and beer, then Santisi Brothers in north central Phoenix knows how to satisfy. Set in the Bell Canyon Pavilions off Interstate 17, Santisi Brothers has more than 100 televisions and features the "Wide Wall of Sports" — meaning one wall alone has over 60 televisions (including 11 65-inch screens). This joint also runs every operation from fantasy football and paint nights to karaoke, poker, and a game room with pool tables and arcade cabinets. Of course, super-loud football games and fights are best paired with calzones, strombolis, and their famous garlic knots.

Benjamin Leatherman

It's safe to say pool halls were once a hazy place where cigarette-smoking players were only cautious about not getting ash on the table's felt. That scene is part of a bygone era — in fact, if you ask us, there are far too few old-school pool halls in the Valley — except when it comes to the Hambone Sports Bar. This Mesa pool bar is technically a patio, so dress accordingly, and smoke 'em if you got 'em. Hambone doesn't have as many tables or rules as a full-on hall, but it makes up for it in character. Marked by the classic neon sign featuring a bow-tied laughing pig and promising dancing and cocktails (don't be fooled by the "grill" part of the sign, there isn't a menu), Hambone is said to date back to 1958. It currently holds five or more pool tables and features a jukebox, an X-rated claw machine, dancing, darts, arcade games, and of course, drinking and smoking.

Founded by local pool businessman Thomas Lopez, Slope Records has an old-school punk sensibility. You won't find modern indie rock or electronic pop — it's strictly raw, aggressive punk. Lopez grew up here, in west Phoenix, and his love of punk flourished here. The label is home to some modern bands, including scuzzy rockers Scorpion Vs. Tarantula, the garage gospel of The Christian Family, and the post-skate punk of The Father Figures, but it's big into the classic punk game, issuing records by Phoenix hardcore legend Exterminators, The Mighty Sphincter, and The Feederz, whose WWHD: What Would Hitler Do channels Trump-era paranoia via vintage punk rage.

The seminal shoegaze act Alison's Halo was founded in Tempe by couple Adam and Catharine Cooper and Lynn Anderson. (Alison was the name of the band's drum machine.) Though the group only released one 7-inch before moving on to other projects, a collection of Alison's Halo's recordings was released in 1998 and found tastemakers across the nation who've championed them as pioneers whom indie snobs oughta know. In 2017, Manufactured Recordings reissued that compilation, titled Eyedazzler, with a limited-edition CD, in digital form, and — for the first time ever — on vinyl. It's a spacey, noisy must-have, snob status notwithstanding.

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra's lead singer, Camille Sledge, pulls off one helluva job. She's the vocalist and "leader of rituals" for the Valley band that's most likely to make you think — and make you shake it. No small feat, and one that's more awe-inducing still when a quick headcount reveals that the band she helms features a whopping 16 members. But commanding an audience's attention with her voice kinda runs in the fam. You might've heard of Sister Sledge? Yeah, that essential Philly soul trio comprised her mom, Debbie, and aunts.

Ali Tomineek has no apologies. He made that clear on his 2016 mixtape I Ain't Sorry. What the Arizona-born independent rapper does have? A cool 100,000 YouTube followers who keep tabs on the speed demon's latest flows. He first found an audience while attending Peoria High School, rapping curse-free verses during the school's video announcements. He's taken that vibe worldwide to a massive audience (Tomineek says one of his videos hit a million views before it was hacked) he's dubbed the 31 Squad. In May 2017, Tomineek released his debut full-length record, #FridayFlow, snagged a top spot on Billboard's Heatseekers Mountain chart, and made an appearance on local hip-hop radio haven The Beatlocker.

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