Big Business, Rockst*r and rock'n kickball carnival this week 


9 p.m., Juanita’s. $10.

Who needs guitars? Seattle duo Big Business distills stoner metal down to its deep, sludgy essence with just a bass and a drum kit. Formed from the ashes of Northwest alt-rock bands Karp and Murder City Devils, the band debuted in 2005 with “Head for the Shallows,” an album that caught the attention of sludge-punk legends the Melvins. By 2006, the duo was holding down the Melvins’ rhythm section, recording and touring and opening up shows as Big Business. Earlier this year, the band put out “Here Comes the Waterworks,” a follow-up full-length produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Built to Spill) that finds bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis broadening its stylistic horizons, working in punk sounds (with near-hooks!) and drumming showy enough to make Neil Peart blush. Which is to say, don’t get them confused with Pantera. Lyrically, too, the band occasionally ventures into rare territory for metal: quirky humor. On “Grounds for Divorce,” bassist/vocalist Jared Warren captures a round of high-school-style gossip gone wild. “I heard he dabbled in the witchcraft. I heard occult. Oh, they’re pretty much the same. I guess he was adopted or else was raised by wolves. That’s ridiculous… I heard that, too, it’s true!



10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Arkansas-reared, Hendrix-educated Graham Wilkinson returns to Little Rock’s White Water Tavern to debut his latest project, the Honeydew Revue. For some time now, the dreadlock-sporting Wilkinson and his band, the Underground Township, have been jam-band neo-hippies on the Austin alt-country scene. With his new outfit, the twangy vocalist is moving more toward bluegrass and honky-tonk. On the mellow “Take Me Down,” Wilkinson sings, “Take me down to your watering hole/Deliver me from this old dust bowl/Take me to where the tumbleweeds roll/Take me down, oh, take me down.” While the lyrics might be as shallow and dry as that watering hole in the summertime, the rise and fall of the harmonica, fiddle and two-part harmonies (created by Wilkinson and a singer reminiscent of Caitlin Cary) turn the simple sing-along into something special. Friday night marks the first of a four-night stint in Arkansas as the Honeydew Revue plays U.S. Pizza and George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville on Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively, and makes one more stop in Little Rock at White Water Tavern on Tuesday night. For Friday night’s show, local band Damn Bullets will open. Expect a bare-footed folk-rock jam.


8 p.m., RiverTop Party at the Peabody. $5.

With the doldrums of August hot on our heels, the RiverTop Party at the Peabody ends its run of summer concerts and parties with the Venus Mission, an ’80s cover band from Memphis. In our completely unscientific estimation, no band has played more often in Little Rock over the last three or four years to consistently large crowds. Maybe folks ’round here just can’t get enough of Belinda Carlisle and “The Wang Chung.” Or it could be that the allure comes from the three ladies who front the band. But, most likely, it has to do with Arkansas native and co-lead singer Sweet T. With heavy blue eye shadow, a Pebbles-style high ponytail and lots of fishnet, she always manages to get homestaters riled up. In keeping with the theme, West Little Rock boutique Scarlet will host an ’80s fashion show.


10 p.m., Mediums. $5.

Since Ohio-born rapper/producer Rockst*r emerged on the local scene two years ago, he’s been promoting his debut album, “Instant Classic.” Classic? Maybe. But instant? The album still hasn’t come out and won’t until late fall. To sate the audience he’s developed through constant performances until then, on Friday the MC releases the “Instant Classic” mixtape, a CD that will include originals side-by-side with industry tracks. Earlier this week he put out a new single, “Radio,” and an accompanying video. Like his previous single, “That’s My Nature,” the song has an old-school, East Coast flavor and an irrepressible, sing-songy hook. To celebrate the mixtape’s release, Rockst*r performs at Mediums on Friday. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the new video will show sometime thereafter, but Rockst*r and his assorted guests — including Epiphany, Razormack, David Lawrence and Dirtbag — won’t come on until midnight. Stick around to hear the rapper do the buoyant “She’s in Love,” which he unveiled last summer, but still should factor into your soundtrack this summer. The song, which features Rockst*r’s former partner, Heavyweight, who was killed outside of Legend’s last October, is sure to be delivered as a tribute.



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