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Lalah Hathaway to Cajun's Wharf 

WEDNESDAY 12/21

THE BODY

10 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Ah, The Body. These two Little Rock natives have come a long way since the days when they were just a couple of guys wearing burlap sacks on their heads and screaming about pain and scaring peoples' parents at art-installation performances and whatnot. Chip King and Lee Buford got started way back yonder, like 1999 or so, in Fayetteville. Hundred Years War, King's previous band, had just split up, and so he and Buford started a new one. They'd set up and practice after-hours at their friend's music venue/record store/porn shop. I think maybe one of them even lived in the place for a while. There were couches there, naturally. Anyway, before too long, they up and moved to the East Coast, eventually settling down in the Providence/Warwick area in scenic Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (that's the state's full official name — look it up if you don't believe me). And now, well heck, here we are like 12 years later and these guys have put out a couple-three killer albums and a slew of singles, and they get all kinds of critical acclaim from such pillars of establishment credibility as NPR and The New York Times, and they go on tour with women's choirs and it's like, they're "The Body — Critically Respected Avant-Garde Doom Metal Band." But if ever there were two guys who would never let all that stuff go to their heads, and who would still just be normal dudes and all, it's Chip and Lee. Also playing is R.I.O.T.S., a newer band that will make you remember that you do love hardcore after all, and that all those terrible scream-y bands with their guyliner and dumb haircuts and 129-syllable band names can't change that. Recommended pre-show warm-up listening: Void side of the Faith/Void LP and the first MDC album. —RB

WEDNESDAY 12/21

LALAH HATHAWAY

7 p.m. Cajun's Wharf. $25-$50.

We'll just get this out of the way at the outset: Lalah Hathaway is the daughter of the legendary soul singer Donny Hathaway. But this isn't yet another case of the child of a renowned musician trading on her father's name. Lalah Hathaway is a trained singer and pianist (Berklee School of Music) whose 20-plus year career has included several critically lauded albums. She's a versatile artist with a smoky, sultry singing voice that's unmistakably hers. Hathaway's latest disc, "Where it all Begins," mixes propulsive, synth-heavy pop-R&B with more classically styled soul numbers, smoldering ballads and dance-floor burners. You'd better believe this show is a good bet for date night. — RB

WEDNESDAY 12/21

LUCERO

8:30 p.m. Revolution. $26.

Little Rock native Ben Nichols leads Lucero back to the natural state for this show to benefit CARTI. The band recently finished recording its forthcoming album "Women and Work" at Ardent Studios in Memphis. The new record will be available March 13, with Lucero set to embark on a nationwide tour in support of the release starting in late February. No official Little Rock dates have been announced (although the band will play back-to-back nights in Fayetteville Feb. 24 and 25), so unless you plan on venturing to venues afar, be sure to get yourself to the Rev Room Wednesday night for some goodtime tunes. Expect to hear cuts from the new record, which, from what we've heard, is a more-than-formidable follow-up to 2009's "1372 Overton Park," which found the Memphis rockers in full-on Memphis soul mode. The new tunes are straight up rock 'n' roll (remember The Faces?) and will please the diehards while welcoming those new to the band. Memphis songstress Amy Lavere opens. — GM

THURSDAY 12/22

THE EVELYNS

10 p.m. Pizza D'Action. $3.

A few months back, a buddy recommended we go see The Evelyns at The Afterthought. He was hyped on this song they'd just put up on their Bandcamp and upon listening to it, it was an understandable reaction. "What to Say" is 2 minutes and 11 seconds of woozy pop, a perfect little gem that lends itself to playing over and over and over. Anyways, the show was really great, but there was this total chief in the audience, and apparently his delicate widdle eardwums were being inconvenienced by the rock 'n' roll. He thought he'd be clever and slip the band a note that said something like, "You'd be twice as good at half the volume." This didn't go over well with the band, understandably, but Mr. Designer Jeans and Faux-hawk was nowhere to be found after their set, and thus they were unable to offer a rejoinder to his unsolicited and wrong advice. So go see The Evelyns, but for the love of Jeebus, don't tell them to turn it down. The opening band is Color Club, a synth-heavy haze-wave trio formerly of Fayetteville, presently of Little Rock. — RB

THURSDAY 12/22

FAIR TO MIDLAND

7:15 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $11 adv., $13 d.o.s.

Sometimes you encounter something that many people seem to dig but that, for whatever reason, you simply cannot comprehend in any way. This is the case for me with the Dallas band Fair to Midland. I can't even make a value judgment about this band because I'm so thoroughly dumbfounded by every single thing about them. Among the things about Fair to Midland that I do not understand: first, the name — a pun on the term "fair to middling." Whether this band is amazing or awful I cannot say, even — no, scratch that — especially after listening to several of their songs. But whichever it is, it is nowhere near the middle of the quality spectrum. This band is playing either the most incredible, mind-blowing, game-changing shit ever, or the worst, most incalculably terrible songs ever even imagined. And I absolutely cannot tell which one it is, though I'm leaning slightly toward the former after checking out the "Violitionist Sessions" EP on Bandcamp. If I had to guess, I'd say they were just being cheeky with their name choice, and that they're actually well aware that their bewildering and potent synthesis of Rush, Tool, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van der Graaf Generator, Tim Buckley, System of a Down, Bob Dylan circa the Rolling Thunder Revue and probably like 47 other bands is in no way typical or "middling." This seems like the most likely scenario. Also, the band's song "Dance of the Manatee" is another thing that really, really confuses me, but I'm running out of room here. Opening acts are Dead Letter Circus and Mainland Divide. — RB

FRIDAY 12/23

THE BIG CATS

6 p.m., 9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

You know, it just wouldn't quite feel like a Little Rock holiday season without some Big Cats shows. The band, whose members are spread out on both coasts and in Arkansas, has been getting back together around Christmas for so long that it feels like a tradition. This year, the Cats are back, but with some new recorded tunes, to boot. "The Ancient Art of Leaving: High & Low" dropped last week on CD and digital formats, but it's only the first of two albums the band recorded this year. The other album will be out in March, and in May, Max Recordings — lead Cat Burt Taggart's record label — will release a 3-LP set with all 25 songs. Opening up for the first show are lo-fi pop-punk newcomers Crooked Roots, while the second features a set from local singer-songwriter fave Mandy McBryde. — RB

FRIDAY 12/23

CHRISTMAS WITH PAMELA

7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Porter's Jazz Cafe. $10.

Normally, you see Pamela Smith in the early a.m., on KATV's Good Morning Arkansas program. But here's a chance to see Smith in a nightclub setting, singing popular Christmas favorites such as "This Christmas," "Santa Baby" and "Joyful Joyful." The show is a benefit for Women and Children First, a nonprofit support group for victims of domestic violence. In addition to the cover, Smith is encouraging everyone to bring donations for WCF, including toiletries, such as hand soap, tissue, diapers, wipes and paper towels, as well as batteries, pillows and bedding, blankets and family-friendly DVDs for the shelter. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served. — RB

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