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Secret Cities, Secretions, Secret Parties, and Other July Fourth Weekend Thrills

First Friday in Downtown Phoenix (Friday):
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Music editor Martin Cizmar has already filled you in about Shawn Anderson's killer show later tonight at tonight's edition of the monthly art walk, but that ain't the only gig going down. In addition to the rockers of the Madera Strand and Underground Cities hitting up Conspire (901 N. 5th St., 602-237-5446) and DJ Smite dropping his eclectic mix from the loft inside the Lost Leaf, Japanese surf rock band Swamp Ratz hook up with Marco Polo's Curse of the Pink Hearse outside Revolver Records (918 N. 2nd St., 602-795-4980)

Sharks Don't Sleep at Night Thieves Compound (Friday):
On the subject of First Friday, the raucous revelry doesn't have to end just because gallery owners have gone home and the Lost Leaf has announced last call. Hipster spinsters BC/AD, Ariel, and a few of their friends will be up all night a few blocks south of Roosevelt Street behind Space 55. The M.O. of this all-night underground adventure is a "full DJ setup and room to dance under the stars" until 7 a.m. or later. 3 a.m., $10. (706 N. 7th St.)

AC Slater at Bar Smith (Friday):
Sorry Saved by the Bell fans, but we're not referring to the fictional 80s high school heartthrob, but rather the NYC DJ/producer who happens to share the same moniker of said fictional lothario (played by future America's Best Dance Crew host Mario Lopez). Known for his high-energy electrified remixes, the turntablist trickster brings some "big Brooklyn bass" to Fuse Fridays. Residents Sol Martinez, Mara, Disko Da, and Hussy Hussy - as well as Zachary J and Benni Beatnik - will also be in la casa. Free before 10:30 p.m. (130 E. Washington St., 602-229-1265)

Yabba Dabbo Doooooo!/Crunk of July at Afterlife (Friday/Saturday):
There's certain to be no shortage of shenanigans this weekend at Old Town's favorite after-hours establishment, including dudes dressed like Barney Rubble or a dancing purple dinosaur. Tonight's the Flintstone-themed Yabba Dabbo Doooooo! when costumed club-goers will hit the dance floor while DJ Bam Bam, DJ Dooz, Silent J, and other bedrock the house. Tomorrow night brings Crunk of July with DJ Tre and guests, as well as giveaways from Red Bull and other sleepless shenanigans. On both nights, doors open at 10 p.m. and the door will charge $7 before 11 p.m. (4282 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-264-8300)

The Ohio Players at Fort McDowell Casino (Saturday):
They may have undergone eleventy-billion lineup changes since their heyday in the '70s, the funky R&B hitmakers (known for the earworm-worthy singles "Love Rollercoaster" and "Fire") are still alive and kicking. For McDowell's bringing 'em to the Valley for a special performance during Fourth of July weekend, which also includes an appearance by comedian/singer Finis Henderson beforehand and the requisite fireworks show afterwards. Doors open at 4 p.m. while the music starts at 7 p.m. (10424 N. Fort McDowell Rd., Fort McDowell, 800-843-3678)

Secret Cities at Rhythm Room (Saturday):
"There's something vaguely dark and mysterious about Fargo, North Dakota's ambient, psychedelic, otherworldly-sounding trio Secret Cities. The term "secret city" refers to the towns in the former Soviet Union where weapons were manufactured and/or stored and weren't entirely made public until 1992. Though the band's sound may not be quite as dark or foreboding as its name would suggest, Secret Cities do have an air about them that keeps you guessing..." (click here to read more) 6 p.m., $8-$10. (1019 E. Indian School Rd., 602-265-4842) -- Sarah Ventre

Fourth of July Party feat. Flathead at Sail Inn (Saturday):
"Were these Tempe-based punkabilly legends simply whisked off the planet in 2005? Visit their flatheadaz.com Web site and you find nothing but dead links to six-year-old newspaper stories and a heartfelt plea from the band to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Coldly, they overlook that tragic business in Chicago with Mrs. O'Leary's cow.) Flathead's MySpace page isn't much less zombie-like. Tellingly, there's a mention of a "much-anticipated third album" slated for early '06 that never, in fact, came out..." (click here to read more). 3 p.m. (26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe, 480-966-9565) -- Craig Outhier

The Secretions at Copper State Tavern (Sunday):
Maybe its just us, but it seems like local punk rock shows seem to be few or far between. Sure, one could head to the Underground in Mesa or The Slurp in Tempe (but only if you can locate it, that is) to revel in some hardcore, but when it comes to good, old-fashioned three-chord punk fucking rock, there's only a handful happening every week. Therefore, when gigs like this weekends Secretions show come along, we're definitely making plans to go. The venerated Sacramento trio are sure to blast the shit outta the Copper State with their amusingly brutal songs, and will get support from openers (and fellow Californians) Bastards Of Young, as well as locals Slime and the Boobytramps, SKD, and Hotdog!, and Johnstone Strait Killers. 8 p.m., $6. (5060 W. Bethany Home Rd., Glendale, 623-931-5729)

Pat Roberts and the Heymakers at Steel Horse Saloon (Sunday):
"Great gods of gravy, where would the hep world be without the subtle machinations of the Cramps and Stray Cats? Why, there wouldn't hardly be any rock-a-billy music 'round at all! Not to trash those combos (who've had their moments, especially their earliest singles), but there were (and are) truer, less cartoonish, more passionate purveyors of rockabilly around. Take locals Pat Roberts and the Heymakers -- they remember you got to have the "billy" aspect down if'n it's real rockabilly you're after." 4 p.m., free. (1818 W. Bell Rd., 602-942-8778) -- Mark Keresman

Reggae Sundays at Avalon (Sunday):
After a few months hiatus (following the closure of its last venue), DJ Dark Vader's weekly irie extravaganza makes a return to Scottsdale. The venerated selectah has found a new home at drinking parlor Avalon, where he and special guests will spin dancehall, soca, and the titular Jamaican-born genre. Low-cost alcohol options include $2.50 you-call-its for ladies and $3 Heineken and Red Stripe until 11 p.m. Dress to impress rules apply. 9 p.m., $5 before 11 p.m. (7707 E. McDowell Rd., Scottsdale, 480-656-0010)

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