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Gucci Mane comes to Clear Channel Metroplex 

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FRIDAY 11/25

BLOCK FRIDAY
9 p.m. Zin Wine Bar. $15.

The last couple of times I've wandered into a venue where Bijoux was performing, I found myself hoping it was somebody's first time in Little Rock, and that those tones were the ambassadorial ones they heard. She's endlessly polished, her pitch is always on point, and whether it's "The Nearness of You" or "Hotline Bling," she's tasteful and bubbly when she puts her spin on cover tunes, to which she gravitates because they create a shared vocabulary with the audience. She told Rock City Life's Anthony S. Carter earlier this year, "I want people to feel things. ... It's part of the reason I like doing covers because covers are memories, you remember where you were in your life when you loved a particular song." These days, Bijoux tells us, she and Rodney Block have been doing "Tina's 'What's Love Got to Do With It,' Rihanna's 'Work' and Maxwell's 'Lifetime.'"Even before you add the silky smooth sounds of Bijoux and the trumpet of Block to the blend, Zin Wine Bar has a few major things going for it when it comes to shaking off the effects of Thanksgiving overindulgence. There are the wide, comfy couches up front, the soothing water effects of the blue neon that lines the wall of the shotgun-style lounge, and that family-style antidote to casseroles, the amuse-bouche: plates of dark chocolates with fried fruit, provolone-stuffed cherry peppers, herbed English cheddar with sopressata. There's also the obvious "hair of the dog" factor; if you shared one too many Bud Lights with your Trump Nation uncle the day before trying to find some common ground on gun control issues, a $7 glass of Trapiche Broquel Malbec might be just the thing to set you straight. (We suggest you find a designated driver if that glass leads to a couple more of the same.) SS

click to enlarge THE EAST ATLANTA SANTA: Atlanta's prolific, controversial and newly svelte rapper Gucci Mane comes to the Metroplex 10 p.m. Nov. 25, $40-$120.
  • THE EAST ATLANTA SANTA: Atlanta's prolific, controversial and newly svelte rapper Gucci Mane comes to the Metroplex 10 p.m. Nov. 25, $40-$120.

FRIDAY 11/25

GUCCI MANE
10 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $40-$120.

Gucci Mane, the often divisive and unbelievably prolific Atlanta rapper, is out of prison, and that tattoo of an ice cream cone is inscribed on a cheekbone lean enough to have inspired conspiracy theories that the Gucci we've seen lately is a clone. Since his release this summer, he's been teasing a clothing line called Delantic poolside with newly toned abs. Grounded for bad behavior by the U.S. government (two years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon), Gucci took to Snapchat with decidedly tamer antics than his history of feuds might portend: He filmed himself offering hundreds of dollars to anyone who'd save him from eating Cocoa Pebbles and popcorn by bringing him a hamburger from Ann's Snack Bar. (Someone did, specifically collaborator Mike Will Made-It. Gucci ate it.) On Sept. 20, he posted himself cutting off the ankle bracelet he'd been required to wear on house arrest, eliciting an, "It's over with! Yay!" from girlfriend Keyshia Ka'oir in the background, and since then, he's released his eighth and ninth studio albums in quick succession, featuring collaborations with Kanye West, Rick Ross, Drake and Young Thug — "Everybody Looking" and "Woptober" — both of which contain lyrics that focus heavily on his newfound freedom: "Flood your ears, your neck, your wrist, your fingers and put it all on rocks/Say Guwop home and yeah it's official, grab some tissues." SS

SATURDAY 11/26

BRIGADE FEST
7 p.m. Rev Room. $25-$30.

If the phrase "circle pit" trips your trigger, Brigade Fest is probably a prime place for you to be the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Brigade Skateboards, the self-described "sketchy skateboard company from Arkansas" is throwing a party as part of its goal "to create a culture for the youth by creating an environment that everyone is welcome in," as founder Evan Grove tells us. Fair warning, No Warning will be there. The Toronto hardcore punk band released the often-imitated "Ill Blood" in 2002, then split from the scene in 2005 unceremoniously, prompting a host of knock-offs and probably just as many No Warning tattoos in Canada and elsewhere. About a decade later, the group reunited as suddenly as it had left, announcing the re-emergence with a note on its Facebook page saying, "this world is too disgusting of a place not to be making our music again." No Warning is joined by a formidable list of hardcore bands from around the region: Free at Last from Springfield, Mo.; Kansas City's Blindside USA; Tulsa's Piece of Mind; San Antonio's Afflictive Nature; Memphis's Reserving Dirtnaps; and Little Rock's own Terminal Nation. There'll also be a solo set from Young Gods of America's Goon des Garcons (Brandon Burris), who's back in Little Rock after an October tour in New Zealand. Tickets are available at the door for $25, or in advance at arkansaslivemusic.com for $30. SS

SATURDAY 11/26

MULEHEAD
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

If the holiday is a time for reflection on the bounties we've enjoyed, there may not be a more symbolic event this holiday weekend than a Mulehead show the day after Thanksgiving at the White Water Tavern. Come ponder a time when the prefix "alt" portended good things, like "... country," "... weekly," or "... porn." Consider an era when these Little Rockers with the cheeky Biblical references in their songs were poised to achieve escape velocity. Imagine a world where the Friday after Thanksgiving is not black, but tan, orange or gold — the colors of autumn. And beer. But let us not be heavy of heart. We can be nostalgic, but this is no nostalgia act. The band's 2004 breakup didn't take. Mulehead's fifth long-player, "Forever Out of Tune," came out just last year on Max Recordings after several years of Kevin Kerby, Brent Labeau, Dave Raymond and Geoff Curran curiously spending their time working on non-Mulehead projects, such as their families. Whatever, guys. Indeed, let us be thankful for what we have. We still have Mulehead. We still have Max Recordings. We still have the White Water Tavern. And they still have us. Or, as the boys in the band more simply put it, "Come burn off your turkey day carb load by dancing your arse off." SK

click to enlarge BLIND WATER FINDS BLIND WATER: After taking his gut-punch melodies around the country again, Adam Faucett brings them back home for a show with his backing band The Tall Grass, joined by Little Rock's Swampbird and Atlanta's Radio Birds, 9 p.m. Nov. 26, Stickyz, $7-$10.
  • BLIND WATER FINDS BLIND WATER: After taking his gut-punch melodies around the country again, Adam Faucett brings them back home for a show with his backing band The Tall Grass, joined by Little Rock's Swampbird and Atlanta's Radio Birds, 9 p.m. Nov. 26, Stickyz, $7-$10.

SATURDAY 11/26

ADAM FAUCETT AND THE TALL GRASS
9 p.m. Stickyz. $7-$10.

Fresh off a tour with Austin-based singer/songwriter Joanna Barbera, Faucett is back in town, and he'll be, as The Onion's A.V. Club put it, "knock[ing] your brain into the back of your skull." He's inventive with the delicate arpeggios his tunes are built on, and maybe even more creative with the rhythmic patterns that tie them together. The time signature in "Melanie" displaces the strong beat, putting it where your ear hasn't necessarily been trained to expect it, and "Living on the Moon" adds a marvelous extra beat or two to a standard four-count, lending a sort of ellipses at the end of phrases like "I know damn well what it means to keep shinin' when nobody sees." Though I doubt he disappointed any audiences in Brooklyn or Water Valley, Miss., with his solo set, his songs are at their forceful best when Faucett is backed by The Tall Grass: easily two of the strongest rhythm players in town, drummer Chad Conder (Hard Pass, Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth) and bassist Jonathan Dodson (Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth), both of whom know Faucett's songs intimately enough to lock into a groove with unrelenting accuracy. Faucett's been making the rounds long enough to know that you give the room everything you have that night even when it's empty, a principle he won't likely have to put to the test at Saturday night's homecoming. He'll be joined by the five-piece Swampbird, a self-described "foot stomping folk-rock" five-piece accented by a good dose of pedal steel, and Atlanta quartet Radio Birds. SS

click to enlarge FLIPPY: Yagmur Altan's "Rabbit Blood" and Chadwick Whitehead's "Killer Recipe" are two of 23 short animated films to be screened at the Little Rock Film Society's Flipbook Animated Film Festival Nov. 28 at The Joint, 7:30 p.m., $8.
  • FLIPPY: Yagmur Altan's "Rabbit Blood" and Chadwick Whitehead's "Killer Recipe" are two of 23 short animated films to be screened at the Little Rock Film Society's Flipbook Animated Film Festival Nov. 28 at The Joint, 7:30 p.m., $8.

MONDAY 11/28

FLIPBOOK ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL
7:30 p.m. The Joint. $8.

If you believe the study conducted by Microsoft Corp. on 2,000 participants in Canada last year, the average adult has an attention span of about eight seconds. There's still a serious gap to make up between that timeframe and the shortest film at the Flipbook Animation Festival, but hey, your spastic, brainwashed-by-multiple-browser-tabs brain is probably better off here than it is delving into PBS' marathon series "Soundbreaking." The Little Rock Film Society — the nonprofit organization that brought films like "Southwest of Salem," "Major" and "White Nights" to Arkansas during the 2016 Kaleidoscope Film Festival — holds a monthly film series at The Joint in the Argenta District called Monday Night Shorts. As the group says on its Facebook page, its goal is to provide "new opportunities to see films that have until now rarely been seen in Arkansas." This installment in the series is dedicated to animation, featuring 23 films from 11 countries around the world that range from hyperrealism to stop motion, from a minute to a quarter hour. There's Chadwick Whitehead's "Killer Recipe," in which an avocado inadvertently invents tortilla chips that want to eat him; Mori Wu's "Cut to Bliss: Force of Fashion," a series of vignettes that "explore fashion as a way to express female empowerment"; Stav Levi's "Head," in which a man decides to secede from his own head; Nyan Kyal Say's "My Life I Don't Want," from the point of view of a young girl in Myanmar; David Chontos' "Sisters," in which a pair of performers recapture former glory through music inspired by Swedish songwriter Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson (one half of duo "The Knife"); Yagmur Altan's "Rabbit Blood," in which residents at a Turkish country house brew an unconventional variety of tea; and Kristen Lauth Shaeffer's "349," in which a dance performance was videotaped and then converted into still frames which were, in turn, given to 349 people who redrew them to represent themselves and someone with whom they were connected. SS

TUESDAY 11/29

TIM ERNST
7 p.m. Faulkner County Library. Free.

Odds are if you've spent any time hiking in Arkansas, the name Tim Ernst is familiar to you. The wilderness photographer has played a significant role in capturing the state's natural treasures on camera and — to the tune of 17 collections that have become coffee table mainstays — exposed a wider national audience to places like the Glory Hole Waterfall, Hawksbill Crag, Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park, the cypress swamps of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge and, via time-lapse photography, the light trails made by stars as they move over Kings River Falls. His hiking guidebooks, if a bit more dry than those published by his peers, are the incredibly detailed results of his exhaustive personal sojourns on the trails of Arkansas, and, for an introductory course, it'd be hard to beat Ernst's 1994 guide, "Arkansas Hiking Trail: A Guide to 78 Selected Trails in 'The Natural State,' " complete with a foreword by former President Bill Clinton. Ernst was president of the Ozark Highlands Trails Association for 28 years, a group that's collectively logged 350,000 volunteer hours with the U.S. Forest Service. At least 10,000 of those hours were put in by Ernst himself, who received an award from the chief of the U.S. Forest Service for his contribution. These days, he teaches workshops, mostly in the Buffalo Wilderness, for small groups of aspiring nature photographers. For this event, Ernst will give a slide show featuring stills like those in his latest book, "Arkansas in My Own Backyard," and stick around for a Q&A session. SS

WEDNESDAY 11/30

DAVID OLNEY
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

Rhode Island native David Olney's been doing this a long time, y'all. While the dark acoustic upstarts inspired by Townes Van Zandt are turning gray themselves now, Olney's a contemporary who toured with Townes, recording more than 20 albums over four decades. In fact, the late Mr. Van Zandt ranked Olney's songwriting only behind that of Mozart, Lightnin' Hopkins and Bob Dylan. If additional wildly effusive praise is needed, the Nashville Scene more recently called Olney that city's "answer to the Bard" (yes, as in Shakespeare) in the wake of his original song composition and acting in Americana-themed productions of "As You Like It" and "The Comedy of Errors." You gotta respect a fellow who doesn't rest on his laurels, especially when those laurels find you at No. 4 with a bullet behind only Mozart, Dylan and Lightnin.' But let us continue with the laurels. Consider the lineup of great performers and songwriters who've seen fit to record Olney's songs: Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Del McCoury. Convinced yet? Ward Stout will accompany Olney on fiddle and mandolin; Fret and Worry (by the way, which one's Fret?) opens the show. SK

click to enlarge PYROTECHNIC JUGGERNAUT: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings its electrified Christmas arena rock to Verizon Arena Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30, $38-$78.
  • PYROTECHNIC JUGGERNAUT: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings its electrified Christmas arena rock to Verizon Arena Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30, $38-$78.

WEDNESDAY 11/30

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $38-$78.

You won't be able to tell it when you're perched underneath a prog-rock soundtracked pantheon of pyrotechnics, lasers and giant robotic arms, but the TSO's current show, "Ghosts of Christmas Eve," was written in a single evening and as a last-minute stand-in on FOX Television Network one evening in 1999, after the slotted show dropped out unexpectedly. "It was only supposed to be played once on TV; it has been played every year since," TSO founder/producer/director/composer Paul O'Neill told USA Today. "It was never supposed to be released as a DVD; it went double platinum." The juggernaut troupe toyed with changing up the formula for its 20th anniversary this year, but was so flooded with fan mail asking for "Ghosts of Christmas Eve" it felt it had no choice but to do some version of the show this winter. TSO's made a signature sound by electrifying classical instruments like the violin and making Christmas-y arena rock. Then, to the delight of children and LSD users everywhere, TSO accents that sound with a monumental theatrical display, something that has only gotten more traction with the advent of lightweight LED lighting, O'Neill told The Morning Call newspaper in Pennsylvania. "We used to have to carry two tractor trailers of generators because a lot of the buildings couldn't handle our electrical poles. Two years ago, the lights got so efficient we were able to drop the generators, which left more room for pyro." For instilling the sense of hubris it took to conceive of TSO, he blames The Who; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; and especially Pink Floyd, who mesmerized O'Neill when he saw them live in the mid-'90s. "I simply had never seen a show that good, where every time you thought you saw the ultimate gag, they had 10 more lined up. ... They didn't have the advantage of all these computers, etc. Basically, every year we know all the pyro companies, we know all the lighting companies, we know all the special effects companies. They all know that if they invent great special effects that [are] insanely expensive, there is one band that is dumb enough to buy it. And that's us." SS


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