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Natural Child at Stickyz 

THURSDAY 7/18

NATURAL CHILD

9 p.m. Stickyz. $6.

OK, the first thing with Nashville trio Natural Child is that the band's name makes me think of a line of organic cotton diapers or something. Maybe a Montessori school outside Sacramento in the '80s or I don't know. But whatever, names are just names and let's face it: We're running out of them, as evidenced by the relentless, each-one-stupider-than-the-last litany of scream-y hair-product endorsers. It never ends, with names like Behold the Final Unraveling or The Embers of the Ashes of Our Hatred Will Ignite the Skies or some kind of dumbass mumbo jumbo. So, Natural Child is fine by me as a band name. Also, their tunes are good'ns. Their debut long-player, "For the Love of the Game," sported a very (very) nice tush shot on the cover, but also contained a grip of fine garage rockers and a genuine Stones-in-hick-drag country classic in "How I Got to Memphis." The follow-up, "Hard in Heaven," vibes a bit more subdued, which is A-OK with this listener. Opener "Laid, Paid & Strange" has a greaser rock feel, like The MC5 circa "Back in the U.S.A." On the title track, the band lays it on down with a weary gentleness uncommon for such obviously party-hearty road-dudes. Now, I say this based solely on a gut-feeling Internet-based perception, but these dudes seem like the type of totally loveable scalawags that you're always glad to have as friends because they remind you to have fun once in a while. And seriously: The song "Derek's Blues" is exactly like rollin' down the highway en route to the swimming hole right after your lady friend ditched you for some jerkoff, but you've got your best buds and seven or eight hoglegs and an ice chest with 36 cold lite beers and you're like, "You know what? The hell with her, I feel all right." It's like they took that feeling and made a song out of it. Good job fellas. Opening this all-ages show will be You Me & Us, The Coasts and Shoplift.

FRIDAY 7/19

CRUZ WAY

9 p.m. Juanita's. $10.

Salsa fans in Central Arkansas seem to be well served by a variety of opportunities for dancing at several venues. Little Rock Salsa organizes weekly salsa nights at Juanita's, and this is a special week as the group has booked Cruz Way, a family band that emigrated from Cuba to Mexico to Little Rock. The Times sister pub El Latino recently published a profile of the Cruz family that detailed their voyage to the States. Patriarch Anibal L. Cruz had loved music since he was a child and was a nationally acclaimed singer as a youth, but ultimately pursued a career in medicine. He and his wife Enely were both gynecologists, but earned monthly salaries of just $19 each. "I stopped being a doctor because, the truth is, it was not enough to cover the basic needs of my family," Anibal Cruz told El Latino. So he started the long process of leaving the island nation to find a better life for his family in Mexico and then the United States. The band also includes Anibal Cruz Jr., Alex Cruz, Liset Mercantete, Irisley Luis Gomez and Jorge Luis Gomez. By all accounts, Cruz Way is an amazingly tight live act, so this will be a treat. Dancers of all skill levels are encouraged to attend. There will be a dancing lesson from 9-10 p.m.

FRIDAY 7/19

REPROACHER, PRIMITIVE MAN

8 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $7.

For the last few years, we've seemed to be in this sort of revival period for the crusty, heavy, ragin' hardcore of the '90s and I am way into it. The influence of such scorched-earth trailblazers as Rorschach, His Hero is Gone, Dropdead, Discordance Axis, many of the Slap-a-Ham Records bands and pioneers such as '80s Scandi crust legends Anti Cimex is evident in all of the galloping d-beat thrash, downtuned guitar torture and throat-shredding vox that have been annihilating eardrums. I've been digging on such brutality specialists as The Secret, Nails, All Pigs Must Die, Baptists and Nuclear Death Terror. And so I'll add to that list Wyoming hardcore maniacs Reproacher, who're touring with Denver, Colo.-based doom misanthropes Primitive Man. It's a do-not-miss bill for discerning fans of ultra-nihilistic crust/metal/hardcore/whatever, with killer local support from Snakedriver, Crankbait and Sumokem. (Side note: Seahag was originally billed for a return to the stage at this show but had to cancel. That's unfortunate, but let's hope the band will do a makeup show soon.)

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