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Past winners of the Musicians Showcase play Stickyz 

WEDNESDAY 12/28

NIGHTFLYING 31ST ANNIVERSARY PARTY

7 p.m. Stickyz. $10.

Good old Nightflying magazine is celebrating its 31st anniversary with — what else? — a gigantic rock show. The publication has had a few other birthday blowouts in recent weeks, in Hot Springs and Fort Smith, and now, in Little Rock. The lineup for the capital city show includes Grateful Dead tribute artists The Schwag, long-running folk duo Trout Fishing in America, psych-blues cosmonauts Tyrannosaurus Chicken, party band par excellence Tragikly White, the blues stalwarts in The Joe Pitts Band, R&B and blues from Salt & Pepper and, of course, the man himself, publisher Peter Read. The Point 94.1's Jeff Allen will serve as master of ceremonies.

WEDNESDAY 12/28

UGLY SWEATER PARTY

8 p.m. Revolution. $6.

Remember all those hideous Christmas sweaters you always got from Aunt Matilda (even though you specifically asked her for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Gameboy)? Well, let's hope you hung on to at least one of those awful things, because here's where that crummy gift can finally come in handy. Wear your most dreadful holiday abomination and bring at least two nonperishable food items to this all-ages show, a benefit for Arkansas Food Bank. You can also catch some tunes from Booyah! Dad, The Ginsu Wives, Ezra Lbs., Many Persian Z's and The Alpha Ray.

THURSDAY 12/29

MUSICIANS SHOWCASE PAST WINNERS

9 p.m. Stickyz.

So the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is coming up, and it's the 20th anniversary of the event. That's a lot of bands over the years, and the crew here at Times HQ decided it'd be kinda cool to put together a show with some of the previous years' winners. The Big Cats (1997 champs) probably need no introduction, but just in case, the band's been playing hook-filled rock 'n' roll for nearly as long as the showcase has been around and just released "The Ancient Art of Leaving: High & Low," the first of a two-part album. Adrian Tillman — a.k.a. 607 (2008 winner) — is the tireless renaissance man of the Central Arkansas hip hop scene, whose latest album, "Yik3s!" came out this fall. Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth took the prize in 2010 with their burly, awesomely vulgar power-pop gems. It's an 18-and-older show, so you can bring along your little cousin, sibling, niece or nephew who's home from college over the winter break. The 2012 showcase starts Jan. 26. The entries have been rolling in, and we'll let you know early next month which acts made the semi-finals.

FRIDAY 12/30

COOL SHOES END OF THE YEAR PARTY

9 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after.

This is the last Cool Shoes dance party this year, and it's an all-ages affair, with DJs Wolf-e-Wolf, Kichen, Rysk and Cam Holifield pumping out the music, as well as a free party photo booth and promises of special surprises all night. I'll go ahead and cop to not totally "getting" contemporary electronic dance music. A lot of it sounds like squeaky, squiggly bad-trip nightmare videogame music to my delicate old-man ears, which nowadays can't handle anything more raucous than early Wilco. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, last week, Rock Candy reader "furobertbell" reminded me of something via the comments section: "Robert, you have for the umpteenth time made it abundantly clear that you like only what YOU like and are truly no real fan of music." Presumably it's bad to only like the music you like. You should also like the music you don't like. Furthermore, my "write ups are either bitter, closed minded reflections of something you have NO business covering or a very sad attempt at humor." Wow. Harsh, but completely, 100 percent true. So it was with that withering indictment in mind that I endeavored to check out some of this electro/dubstep/moombahton/what-have-you. I certainly don't like it, and probably have NO business covering it, so it would be a natural fit for my column. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Soundcloud. I found a lot of stuff that didn't seem that far off from Black Dice or Excepter or Wolf Eyes or various other noise and experimental acts I've enjoyed over the years. I listened to some mixes by Wolf-e-Wolf and Kichen and I'll be damned if I didn't end up liking several of them quite a bit. In particular, I thought Kichen's track "HORRORS" was rad — it was jarring and brutal and felt like your brain was being jackhammered. Plus I'm told that the Cool Shoes folks have a colossal sound system and that it's all about getting your innards jostled by the massive bass. So props to commenter furobertbell. Thanks to him or her, I finally like some music that I don't like. But wait — if I didn't like it, but now I like it, then that means I'm back to only liking the music that I like. Dagnabbit!

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