There's more to see and do this weekend than just staring at massive explosions of gunpowder in the sky while some Lee Greenwood anthem plays in the background. A lot more. Since you've got three straight days away from the salt mine, we've put together a planner of off-the-hook alternatives to the Constitutionally-mandated standard fireworks fiestas and backyard beef bonanzas, including joints where you can drink and dance on the cheap from Friday until Sunday.
DJ Le Castle Vania at Bar Smith (Friday)
Although he shares his nom de guerre with the NES vampire-killing game series that sucked up most of our childhood, the Atlanta-based electro-house mixmaster will be slaying clubgoers with his tricky beats instead of a whip whilst headlining this week's edition of FUSE Fridays. Residents Mara, Sonique des Fleurs, Disco Da, and Sol Martinez are also scheduled to spin. 9 p.m., $9. (130 East Washington Street)
Extrabaganza Rockabilly Fest at The Sail Inn (Friday)
As Niki D'Andrea reported back in April, the Valley's rockabilly scene seems to constantly be jumping and jiving with events nearly every weekend. To wit: The hepcats and kittens of the Curse of the Pink Hearse are putting on a serious wingding at the Tempe hippie hangout called "Extrabaganza" with retro-rock and swinging sounds by the band, as well as Acapulco Five-O, Tucson's Pork Torta, and DJ Nik Flores. 9 p.m., $5. (26 South Farmer Avenue, Tempe, 480-966-9565)
Happy IndepenDANCE Day at Modified Arts (Saturday)
The folks at local label River Jones Music would prefer that you don't spend your fabulous fourth setting off fireworks or sucking down cheap-ass beer. Instead, they'd really dig it if you'd head for Modified to take in the quirky slate of indie rock and acoustic acts they've lined up, including Boys and Frogs, Michelle Blades, Saddles, Kristopher Kohl, and AJ Chorak. It sure beats accident blowing off a finger with an M-80, that's for damn sure. 6 p.m., $7. (407 East Roosevelt Street, 602-462-5516)
Shake! at Rogue Bar (Saturday)
William Fucking Reed has a habit of throwing holiday-themed dance nights (like Adios Motherfucker on New Year's Eve, for instance), and our country's birthday is no exception. The reigning hipster king of Saturday night will is bringing in L.A. electro-rock duo Acid Girls for the evening and his usual crew of Funkfinger, Prince$$, and Death to the Throne are providing back up. $1 PBRs will be served all night and giveaways will be offered. 9 p.m., free before 11 p.m., $8 thereafter. (423 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-947-3580)
Fourth of July Bike 'n' BBQ Festival at Green (Saturday)
Elsewhere along Scottsdale Road, vegan chef extraordinaire Damon Brasch will be firing up his grill to cook up a mess of delicious (yet entirely animal product-free) hot dogs, burgers, and bratwursts for meatless types. Combo plates, which also include molasses baked beans and roasted garlic corn, are available for $6 and those who ride their bikes to the event get a $1 discount. Raffles and giveaways are also promised and live music will be provided by the Necronauts, Hooves, The Black River Bandit, Hug of War, and the "Valley's only Black Sabbath karaoke band" Slack Babbath. Free, 2 p.m. (2240 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-941-9003)
Regicide and guests at the Koama Kompound (Saturday)
Hard rock can be a very patriotic thing. Judas Priest helped establish new boundaries for the first amendment. Jimi Hendrix provided the most memorable rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" ever recorded. And there's no musician past or present who worships the dual altars of both the Bill of Rights and rock 'n' roll like Ted Nugent. What we're ultimately trying to say here is that you shouldn't feel bad if you ditch out on some jingoistic hootenanny to attend this madcap metal showcase in the West Valley, which also features Violating Dead, Mordecai, Beyond Eternal Fate, and others. Just keep one hand on your heart and use the other for hook'em horns. 7 p.m., $5. (13016 West Rose Lane, Litchfield Park, 623-935-9221)
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Ray Reeves' Rockin' Fourth at the Trunk Space (Saturday)
Eclectic doesn't even begin to describe the diversity of acts that local audiophile/recording engineer Ray Reeves booked for this special event. There's the soulful vocalist/pianist duo Taraf Degrief, which performs traditional Jewish music, as well as cacophonous electronica outfit The Coitus, humor-filled indie rock band Skinwalkers, and Reeves' own group The Phoenix Sonz, who tend toward clamorous experimental music. 7 p.m., $6. (1506 Grand Avenue, 602-256-6006)
Harem Nights at Gus' Hookah Lounge (Saturday)
Make like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland by smoking some sweet shisha until the wee hours at this after-hours Tempe nightspot will DJs spin up smoking beats. Even better, pretend you're some debaucherous sultan and feast on chicken shawarma or other Mid-East treats while booful beauties shake their designer-clad booties all around you. Midnight, $5 cover before 2:30 a.m. (1630 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe, 480-968-1949)
Archons at Palo Verde Lounge (Sunday)
We can't think of any place more suited for stinky death metal gig than the Dirty Verde. Especially the renowned Tempe dive is the very definition of the term shithole where the bathrooms are covered in graffiti, the beers are cheap, and concrete block walls will focus the thunderous sound of both San Diego's Archons and local boys Sihr into a sludgy sonic boom. 9 p.m., free. (1015 West Broadway Road, Tempe, 480-968-9221)
Sucka Free Sundays at Sneakers Sports Grill (Sunday)
There's no stringent dress code in place for this end-of-the-weekend all ages party put on by Power 98.3, just a huge dance floor, two-for-one Hennesey specials, and DJ M2 in the mix with the latest hip-hop and R&B releases. So feel free to bust out with your cleanest pair of Air Force Ones and a fly-looking fitted cap, yo. No one's gonna keep you outside. 9 p.m., $5 before 10:30 p.m. (1470 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, 480-763-2537).