Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
SCIENCE AFTER DARK: ‘IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD’
6 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $5, free for members.
Man, I was all geared up for the world to end on Dec. 21. I’d packed my bug-out bag (a nice waterproof model in olive drab, with concealable reflective strips and 47 pockets). I’d converted all my liquid assets to gold bullion. I’d picked out my post-apocalypse nickname (“Col. Skull-Rager”) and signature weapon (spike-covered aluminum flyswatter) and haircut (Octo-hawk, with each Mohawk beginning and ending in a braided rattail). But I got my heart broken by those lyin’ Mayans and their wrong ancient predictions. It was Y2K all over again when the lights failed to go out and the system didn’t collapse and humanity wasn’t immediately reduced to a vicious, dog-eat-dog existence in which everyone has to barter and make their own clothing out of animal skins and stuff. Drag. But there’s still hope! The world’s gotta end someday, and the Museum of Discovery’s Science After Dark is back this month to illustrate all the ways that could happen. I’m hoping for a giant solar flare, personally. There’ll be a cash bar at this 21-and-older event, so if the thought of a massive coronal ejection of charged particles destroying the electrical grid for the entire world makes you nervous, you can order a calming, restorative cocktail or glass of wine.
'AN EVENING WITH BONNIE MONTGOMERY'
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
This sounds like a delightful way to spend a night out — two sets from the talented and charming Ms. Bonnie Montgomery. Surely by now, Times readers are familiar with Montgomery. She's been a fixture on the local live music scene since relocating back to her home state in 2009, and she wasted no time in winning over audiences with her sophisticated take on country, folk and roots rock. Oh, and she wrote an opera about Bill Clinton that won all sorts of attention and earned staged readings in Little Rock and in New York. In recent weeks, she went on tour opening for her fellow Searcy natives in Gossip, playing for packed houses on both coasts and on the Continent. At this show, Montgomery will treat the audience to her quieter, folky side with fiddle accompaniment by Geoffrey Robson, associate conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and in the second set, she'll be joined by her band (including Gossip's Nathan Howdeshell) for a full-bore honkytonkin' gitdown.
9 p.m. Revolution. $10.
If you're a casual fan of Athens, Ga., jam-circuit heavies Perpetual Groove, you'll want to take note: The band is going on an indefinite hiatus effective April 6, and this run of shows — Wednesday in Oxford, Thursday in Little Rock, Friday in Memphis and Saturday at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville — are among the only ones currently scheduled. Frontman Brock Butler wrote a letter on the band's website recently that outlined the reasons for the break. "Trying to find balance, break bad habits and develop good ones while continuing a life on the road is something I haven't been able to do," he wrote. The other members, Adam Perry, Matthew McDonald and Albert Suttle, will continue to perform as Ghost Owl. As for the hardcore PGroove fans, they've probably already made plans to catch all of these shows. The Revolution show is 18-and-older.
12:30 a.m. Midtown. $5.
Vanishing Islands occupies a relatively lonely space in the musical landscape. Lots of bands seem to want to fit into recognizable genres, and from a marketing standpoint, I suppose that's logical. But this Memphis synth-bass-drums trio seems to have little use for tidy categories, instead straddling the line between Devo-esque, herky-jerky post-punk and, in texture if not in overpowering showoff-iness and freakish time signatures, prog rock. There's a kind of a bummed-out, Van der Graaf Generator vibe going on with "Leben Picchu," from the band's "Extended Player #3" EP from last summer. Bassist Jason (couldn't find a last name anywhere) has a singing voice that reminds me of Peter Hammill, so that might be part of it, but Vanishing Islands has several tracks that capture Van der Graaf's moodiness like few others I've heard. On the band's Facebook description, they list the following rad, very un-trendy musical influences: The Stranglers, No Means No, Oingo Boingo, Genesis, Alice Donut, Can, Jesus Lizard. If all of that sounds like your bag of skronky weirdness, don't skip this one.
'THE ONE-LEGGED, ASS-KICKIN' BENEFIT'
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Back in November, Derek Holcomb, of Little Rock, was shot in the leg while he was deer hunting. Holcomb logged a stay of more than a month in the hospital, and after several complications, lost his right leg below the knee. Spending that long in the hospital is not only taxing on a physical and emotional level. It's also costly from a financial standpoint. To help Holcomb with these expenses, his good buddies in The Good Time Ramblers teamed up with Stickyz to put on this benefit concert. Holcomb has been upbeat despite the trauma, tweeting "I've used the phrase 'dodged that bullet' more times than I can count. I guess I have to shelve that one immediately & indefinitely" and "Should I get tennis balls for my walker? #behonest." Holcomb has even managed to make it out to see the Ramblers, getting onstage as guest vocalist for the group's cover of The Band's "Atlantic City." You can bet on that happening again at this benefit.
8:30 p.m. Juanita's. $20 adv., $25 day of.
Tulsa native Joe Diffie rose to national prominence during the early '90s — a golden era for country music, for sure. He got started the way so many country stars have, as a songwriter working a day job in Nashville, waiting to break through. For Diffie, that happened in 1990, when his single "Home," from the album "A Thousand Winding Roads," hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Diffie had a long string of hit albums and singles throughout the 1990s, including four more No. 1s, and in 1993, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. His most recent album is 2010's "The Bluegrass Album: Homecoming." The title sums it up: The album finds Diffie getting back to the bluegrass that he started out playing decades before in his native Oklahoma. Openers include Hillbilly Vegas, Ashley McBryde and Big Shane Thornton.
7:30 p.m. UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall. $30-$45.
If you've ever been captivated by the sights and sounds and overall amped-up, brassy spectacle of a live marching band, here's one you'll want to consider. "Drumline Live" is a touring stage show based on the rich tradition of the Historically Black College and University marching band experience. According to the producer Halftime Live, the show incorporates "original compositions and soul-infused interpretations of top 40 hits," so if you've been wanting to hear marching-band versions of your top-of-the-pop-charts favorites done up with cracking drums and blasting brass and woodwinds, here is your opportunity.
Good analysis, something completely lacking from the daily newspaper's sports reporters/columnists.
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