First Friday

Art Detour: 5 Gigs Worth Checking Out

If there's any sort of credo applicable to the one-two punch of tonight's First Friday and this weekend's Art Detour, it would be William Shakespeare's well-worn aphorism that "all the world's a stage."

That's because local musicians, DJs, and bands by the dozens will play in every conceivable setting in the downtown Phoenix's arts district over the next three days. Backyards, front yards, sidewalks, closets, or even on flatbed trucks become impromptu platform from which to serve up some music to the masses.

The law of averages dictates that not all of it's gonna be good. Just like with the art -- where every Luis Gutierrez or Jason Hill must-see piece will be outnumbered by dreck and detritus -- it's guaranteed that most of the groups dragging their amps out to downtown probably should've stayed home.

Here are five performances that won't suck and are worth your valuable time. For a guide to Art Detour and eating and drinking options, check out Lilia Menconi's Art Detour 22 roundup.

5. World Class Thugs
Details: Saturday, 9 p.m., at The Lost Leaf
Who Else is Playing: Haunted Cologne, and Man About a Dog
Why You Should See It: Everyone and everyone will be attempting to jam their bodies into the Leaf during First Friday, so avoid the rush altogether by planning a visit on Saturday. It will undoubtedly still be busy, but at least you won't have to worry about getting trampled to death. Need another reason to stop by? A diverse triumvirate of bands will perform, ranging from the Americana-meets-post-punk World Class Thugs to polka-punk musicians of Haunted Cologne.

4. Ska-Punk-N-Psycho
Details: Friday, 6 p.m., at Revolver Records
Who's Playing: The Do-Somethings, Abraham Drinkin, The Braskies, and Belfry Bats
Why You Should See It: Chances are good that y'all will be amongst the hundreds heading for Revolver to thumb through the shop's selection of vinyl treats, so why not hang outside for a bit to watch "western surf-a-billy" band The Do-Somethings and the psychobillies of Belfry Bats, as well as a pair of Phoenix ska groups.

3. D.I.Y. Olympics
Details: Saturday, 3 p.m., at Conspire
Who's Playing: Los Murdas, Hokus Smokus, Stella Lotus, Scrupulous, and Permanent Squint
Why You Should See It: Remember what was discussed with the Lost Leaf? The same goes for Conspire, as there's typically lines out the door of the coffee shop every First Friday. A better time to get your iced mocha or espresso is on Saturday afternoon, when patrons can participate in a creative competition/workshop to conjure up the coolest-looking art. Meanwhile, the above bands will play on the outdoor stage starting at 6 p.m.

2. Radio Phoenix Presents
Details: Friday, 7 p.m., at Holgas
Who's Playing: Dearspeak, Fatigo, and Thankful Birds
Why You Should See It: The Phoenix music scene's past and future meet up for one killer gig at this apartment/gallery. Long-running quirk-rock act Fatigo will perform along with two burgeoning indie acts: the jazzed-up songsters of Thankful Birds and the poppy, female-fronted Deakspeak.

1. Grand Finale
Details: Friday, 6 p.m., at Phoenix Art Museum
Who's Playing: Dust Jacket, Matthew Reveles and Fancy Cloud, The Haymarket Squares, and Dry River Yacht Club
Why You Should See It: After more than a year of competition and more than 40 different bands and musicians performing on board the METRO Light Rail, it all comes down to this. The four quaterfinal winners of the Train Tracks series will perform tonight inside PAM, and based on how the audience's vote comes out, the winner will get a slot at next month's McDowell Mountain Music Festival.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.