As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages
The Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase wraps up its semi-finals at Stickyz with the blues monsters of Brethren, troubadour folk from Michael Leonard Witham, shoegaze pop by The Pink Drapes and harmonic indie from This Holy House, 9 p.m., $5. Sway hosts its weekly "V.I.P. Thursday" with DJ Silky Slim in the booth, 8 p.m., $3. The Ted Ludwig Trio holds down its regular session of guitar jazz at Capitol Bar & Grill, 5 p.m., free. Cajun's Wharf hosts singer Steve Bates for the happy hour crew, 5:30 p.m., and local rockers Typhoid Mary for the late night crowd, 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. The first Thursday of the month means the return of Hillcrest Shop and Sip, with neighborhood shops and restaurants offering discounts, free live music, 5 p.m.
And it's a wrap! The five semi-final winners of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase face off against each other at Revolution. Post-blues duo Tyrannosaurus Chicken, electro-rockers The Year of the Tiger, driving folk-rockers Sea Nanners, country and western act Mandy McBryde and the Unholy Ghost and the winners of Thursday's semi-final round take to the stage to determine who leaves with this year's honors — and a whole slate of prizes, 8:30 p.m. The Afterthought hosts the great Isaac Alexander, who, tonight, does his thing with a backing band, 9 p.m., $7. Midtown Billiards hosts Memphis heavy-country act Joecephus and the George Jonestown Massacre, 12:30 a.m., $8 non-members. Cabot Community Theater's modern-day comedy of manners, "The Nerd," opens at Cabot Community Center, 6:30 p.m. And in Conway, Michelangelo's plays home to "Launchapalooza Extravaganza," in which Kevin Brockmeier, Marck Beggs, Times contributor Bernard Reed and many more celebrate the release of the new Toad Suck Review (formerly Exquisite Corpse) with readings, food, drink and more, 8 p.m.
Verizon Arena hosts this year's installment of Winter Jam, the annual Christian music festival, featuring Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Sligh of "American Idol" and many, many more, 6 p.m., $10 at the door. The Mo Dedz of Arkadelphia, featuring members of Life Size Pizza, make their Little Rock debut with Musicians Showcase semi-finalists The Yipps at Town Pump, 10 p.m., $3. Acoustic duo Team Lieblong lands in Markham Street Grill and Pub, 9 p.m. And Fayetteville gets a visit from a Cuban jazz icon when trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval swings at the Walton Arts Center, 8 p.m., $18-$26.