Welcome back from your summertime hiatus. Your absence was particularly missed by local bar and club owners, as was your supply of disposable income.
A few things are different since you squeaked through final exams in May. The light rail started running until last call, which means you can have an extra drink or not worry about risking a DUI. Some of your favorite hangouts (Mickey's, Sugar Daddy's, SIX Lounge) have also sadly closed up shop thanks to this raging bitch of an economy.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. There's still plenty of cool parties and distractions to be had every weekend, many of which are $10 or less (hence the purpose of this weekly post). Remember, just because the government (or the 'rents) are handing out some tidy sums, that doesn't mean you gotta blow it all by Labor Day. Check out our list of cheap thrills and try stretching things out a little (unless the thought of subsisting on ramen appeals to you, that is).
Arizona Rock Fight Finals at Club Mardi Gras (Friday)
In every battle there inevitably must be a winner and a loser, and this weekend's finals of the Arizona Rock Fight is no exception. Following weeks of furious competition between local outfits to determine who's the best, it's boiled down to just four bands: Slowpoke, A House Divided, Ronin Meyer, and Safe Haven. The winners get a slot on the main stage at Arizona Fall Frenzy, while the three runners-up get to lug their equipment home in shame and console themselves with a non-main stage appearance at the same event. 8:30 p.m., $8. (8040 East McDowell Road, Scottsdale, 480-970-5707)
Red Cup Nationals at Jugheads (Friday)
The notorious punk bar is trading up hardcore mohawks for douchey faux-hawks as it offers a night of frant boy fun, including beer pong, flip cup competitions, miniature bike relays, quarters games, and possibly a wet tee-shirt contest. Who knows, there might even be some Coldplay or Dave Matthews blasting outta the joint's jukebox instead of the normal punk anthems. 8 p.m., $8. (5110 East McDowell Road, 602-275-1039)
Teenage Bad Girl at The Rogue Bar (Saturday)
"Parisian duo Guillaume Manbell and Greg Kazubski traded tracks over the Internet in early 2000, creating the basis for their trademark hard-hitting cuts and beats chopped up in warm, analog buzz. Then, with Scissor Sisters and Felix Da Housecat remixes under their waistbands, they dropped their 2007 album Cocotte (some say Daft Punk meets The Stooges) and positioned themselves for the French nouvelle vague tidal wave, spurring electro-house/trance cliques such as JohnLordFonda, Aphex Twin, and Justice. Like the Small Faces said in 1968, 'Wouldn't it be nice to get on with me neighbors? But they make it clear they've got no room for ravers.'" 7:30 p.m., $8. (423 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-947-3580) -- Leslie Barton
Kia Soul Collective at the Icehouse (Saturday)
As music editor Martin Cizmar informed y'all last week, the cats at Kia are putting on a weekend-long music bonanza at the downtown Phoenix arts venue that climaxes on Sunday with an appearance by the major label punks of Against Me! But just in case the free show fills up (and we're expecting it will), check out the similarly no-cost performances on Saturday by Miniature Tigers at 6 p.m. and Dear and the Headlights at 7 p.m. DJs Goldsmith, William Fucking Reed, and Jared Alan will also spin throughout the day. Free. (429 West Jackson Street).
Have Heart at PHIX (Saturday)
"Newsflash: A positive musical message doesn't have to be a Christian one. And, while we're at it, straight-edge hardcore shows don't have to be violent. If your mind was just blown, we suggest giving a listen to Have Heart, a Massachusetts band that's been a commanding presence in the "posicore" (i.e., positive hardcore) scene since its inception in 2002. Advocating self-control, tolerance, logic, and respect, HH's thrashy, punk-infused music isn't out to pervert the minds of our young (or send them to church). By the way, this may be your last chance ever to see Have Heart live, as the group recently announced plans to split after its current worldwide tour." 7 p.m., $9. (1113 Grand Avenue, 602-252-7449) -- Adriane Goetz
Hillgrass Bluebilly Presents at Rhythm Room (Sunday)
Get back to your roots with an evening of down-home music at the Rhythm Room from Americana-esque bands Hashknife Outfit and Pushin' Rope. The former is a local quartet that strums out soulful Bluegrassy tunes using a fiddle and acoustic gee-tars, while the latter group is a San Diego fivesome that rocks a more country-punk that's like Charlie Daniels-meets-Flogging Molly. 7:30 p.m., $6. (1019 East Indian School Road, 602-265-4842)
Please, Don't Bury Me Alive! Screening at Phoenix Art Museum (Sunday)
Efraín Gutiérrez's indie 1976 film, billed as a "slice-of-barrio-life" and set in the Lone Star state during the heyday of the Chicano Movement, will screen in partnership with PAM's current "Phantom Sightings" exhibition. 1 p.m., free. (1625 North Central Avenue, 602-257-1222)
Mig50's Birthday Party at Yucca Tap Room (Sunday)
Enigmatic and eclectic Shizz scenester mig50 is turning 27 this weekend and decided to turn his weekly NOVA disco party into a birthday fiesta. He's also invited such locals as Treasure Mammal, Feel Free, Dazzler, and Anavan to perform and join in the fun. Although there's no word on whether there will be cake involved, 16-ounce PBRs will be available for $2 a can. 9 p.m., free. (29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe, 480-967-4777)
Sundays by the Pool at Stone Rose Lounge (Sunday)
"By this time, everything about summer sucks. The skimpy garb we eagerly threw on our summer bodies in May now makes us feel like unsophisticated slugs. And the backyard pool is as warm as bathwater. Yep, it would really take something spectacular for us to engage in a summer shindig. Lucky for us, the Stone Rose Lounge at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort is opening its pool to the public for Sundays by the Pool, a weekly swim party that gives us one last shot to show flesh and swim like fish. From noon to sundown Sunday, August 29, you can enjoy the sweet sounds of collaborating DJs and sip on some swanky cocktails at this sophisticated soiree." Noon, free. (7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, 480-585-4848) -- Lilia Menconi