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Freddie Gibbs plays free show at Hendrix 

WEDNESDAY 2/22

FREDDIE GIBBS

8 p.m. Hendrix. Free.

I chose where I attended college — among similar schools — mainly because every year the student activities board managed to bring bands like R.E.M. and A Tribe Called Quest to play for the tiny student body in Podunk, Va. I was a moron. But so are a lot of 17-year-olds. If those sorts of rising seniors are considering Hendrix, they should be in good shape. In recent years, there's been no better venue in Central Arkansas. Spoon, Clipse, Girl Talk, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Deerhunter, Big Boi and Yelawolf have all made appearances in recent years. Freddie Gibbs' name might not pop like some of those mentioned, but that'll probably change. The Gary, Ind., native was signed, briefly in the mid aughts, to Interscope. Before that and with more urgency afterwards, he's flooded the Internet with double-time raps about street life. Last year, he signed to Young Jeezy's imprint, CTE Music. Nothing he's done that I've heard sounds particularly unique; rather, as the critic Tom Breihan has suggested, Gibbs is a master synthesist, pulling technique from all sorts of greats. Here's betting that technical skill and persistence put him more into the mainstream in the years to come. LM

WEDNESDAY 2/22

PRETTY THINGS PEEP SHOW

8:30 p.m. Revolution. $5-$15.

A confession: When this whole burlesque show revival whatchamacallit started gaining traction a while back, I immediately tucked it away into the Yet Another Eye-Roll-Inducing Retro Affectation I Can Safely Ignore folder in my ol' mental file cabinet, right alongside sock-hops, hot-rods, twirl-y mustaches and arcane cocktails from the 19th century that were only invented to mask the flavor of toxic, rotgut hooch. But then I went to a burlesque performance down in New Orleans last summer and figured something out that I'd overlooked in my jaded, dismissive zeal: Quite often, these shows consist of very attractive women dancing sensuously while stripping down to almost nothing, which is somehow even more appealing than simply nothing. So, uh, count me in. If you require further enticement, I would suggest searching YouTube for "Go-Go Amy," who will perform with the Pretty Things Peep Show, along with the sword-swallowing sweetheart Heather Holiday, the diminutive damsel Little Miss Firefly, the six-string solo superman Eddy Price & His One-Man Band and, of course, your host, the fire-eating, sharp object-juggling Donny Vomit. RB

THURSDAY 2/23

JAMES MCMURTRY

8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

James McMurtry's tune "We Can't Make it Here Anymore" has garnered the singer/songwriter a lot of attention since its release on his 2005 album "Childish Things," particularly since the Great Recession began grinding jobs and lives into dust back in 2008. The title is a double entendre, referring to both the diminishing prospects of the middle class in America and the dwindling manufacturing jobs that made such lives possible. In a recent post on his blog titled "We Can't Make it Here Naivete," McMurtry elaborated on the song a bit in light of reading a New York Times story about how iPhones are produced, and why, in so many words, we can't make them here. Factory hands in China toil around the clock for low wages. At gunpoint, workers extract precious metals from the ground in the Congo, metals that eventually become bundles of tiny circuits in your pocket, transmitting the ephemera of your day-to-day life to other bundles of tiny circuits in other people's pockets. "We can't make iPhones in this country because we don't want to tolerate slavery within our own borders," he wrote. "So we outsource our slavery." It's the rare musician who'll examine his own work in so frank a manner and put it in a real-world context like that. But if McMurtry's proved anything in the last many years, it's that he is just that: a rare and thoughtful songwriter. In terms of sound, his highly enjoyable 2008 album "Just Us Kids" is pretty indicative. He draws influence from the winding lyrical poetry of Bob Dylan, the down in the groove rocking of Tom Petty, the sardonic bite of John Prine and the plainspoken everyman appeal of John Mellencamp. But McMurtry always puts his own stamp on it. He's one of the best singer/songwriters going. Jonny Burke opens the 18-and-older show with some excellent roots-inspired, swaggering power-pop. RB

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