James Taylor comes to Verizon 



9 p.m., Stickyz. $8.

"Actor-Caster," the handsome sophomore album from these NOLA poppers, has been one of my most-spun CDs for weeks now. Well, the active word there is "spun." I've spent hours gorging on the opening track, "Ten-Twenty Ten," with its Francophilic bop and that borrowed "Radar Love" guitar shuffle and John Hughes "aw shucks" vibe. Track two and everything after? Unblemished by lasers until today's morning commute. The verdict: sure, the album's a bit top-heavy, leading off with one of the best singles of 2011 and all, but if you're looking to fine-tune your Molly Ringwald skank, call it a 35-minute drill. It's sweet but never smug, clever without being complicated and, more than anything, super-duper catchy. On first brush, Phoenix springs to mind. Or maybe a state school Vampire Weekend. But the band lines up just as much with everything from Prefab Sprout and Talking Heads to The Easy Beats and that Ramones/Phil Spector fiasco. Also, '00s indie-pop aficionados will want to know that this group is a spin-off of late, design-loving saccharine-rockers The Eames Era. Barely legal Oxford, Miss., trio Young Buffalo opens the night with epic jangle rock covered by a thin shell of white-boy Afrobeat.



8 p.m., Verizon Arena. $45-$69.

On the singer-songwriter menu at American Music Diner, sure, you can order the Sweet Baby James. It's a standard tuna salad sandwich: a meek, colorless thing that's simple to make and unequivocally lacking in anything close to texture. But it's reliable enough. Tastes just like your mom used to make. Heck, it tastes just like everyone's mom used to make. And everyone's mom made tuna salad. It's a constant, unchanging thing: In 2011 it'll rest shapelessly on your plate the same way it did 40 years ago. It'll get you through the afternoon, but not much more. And it's bland enough not to stir up any base desires. I can almost feel my eyes fogging over just thinking about it. Now, you can look down on this Sweet Baby James tuna salad sandwich because of all the things it's not — crunchy, flavorful, hot, meaty or particularly memorable in any way — but dang it, sometimes the only thing that'll hit the spot is a lumpy dump of fish, egg and mayo on white bread.


6 p.m., River Market Pavilions. $25 adv., $30 d.o.s.

Here are 20 reasons to go to Foamfest: New Belgium Lips of Faith, Old Rasputin, Brother Thelonious, Ayinger Weisse Bock, Schneider Aventinus Eis Bock, Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, Kong Ludwig Weisse, Work Truck Wheat, Rogue Somer Orange Honey Ale, Krebs Signature Belgian Dubbel, Moylan's Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, Saison Dupont Belgian Ale, Moinette Artisanal Blonde, Joseph James' Hop Box and Red Fox, G.K. Skaggs' Alhambra Especial, Schneider Hepfen Weisse, Le Merle, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and even Sparks. 21: Three hours of all-you-can-sample beer with 140 brews on hand. 22: Diamond Bear will raffle off a year of free beer. 23: Proceeds benefit the Arkansas Arthritis Foundation. Tip your cab driver.


9 p.m., The Underground. $5.

On their upcoming debut album, "Kerfuffle," the local music veterans of the Hi-Balls wear their influences well and square on their gingham, Schlitz-spotted sleeves. Ronnie Hawkins, Hank Sr., whatever band did the theme for "Roseanne" — they're all here. Even a little Steely Dan jazz shimmy finds its way into the album on "Whiskey Groovin'." No doubt about it, this is deck music, Arkansas-styled with a splash of south Louisiana boogie for good measure. Think bug zappers, rice paper lanterns and lake breeze. Or think "Foamfest afterparty." The Hi-Balls are joined by local surf band the Reverburritos and blues-rockers Joe Pitts Band.


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