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Stranger pops in 

Bounce and sweet sounds at Juanita’s; Hackensaw Boys at Sticky’s.

click to enlarge COMING ON: Hello Stranger.
  • COMING ON: Hello Stranger.

With Valentine’s Day behind us and Mardi Gras ahead on Tuesday, Feb. 20, get ready to put on the high heels and head out for one last pre-Lent run around town.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, the pick of the night is hyper-catchy indie pop rock with Hello Stranger in concert with new Arkansas group The Breakthrough and the Sugar and the Raw spin-off, Big Boots, at Juanita’s (9 p.m., $6). Hello Stranger lead singer Juliette Commagere offers a double-tracked sound that’s bouncy without being bubble gum, sweet without the sugar headache. Think of it as a San Pellegrino Limonata vs. Sprite — there’s just some special, indescribable essence about Stranger’s self-titled debut that sweeps over the ’80s synth dance pop and sends a charismatic vibe through your sinews and bones. Good luck forgetting that first Hello.

On Friday, Feb. 16, the Hackensaw Boys bring old-time bluegrass to Sticky Fingerz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack. The Hackensaw Boys, purveyors of a foot-bouncing, traditional sound, offer a little bit of kindling to a very old flame as many of their apparently ancient backwoods numbers are in fact brand new creations of the band.

Though the group has previously appeared in concert with such diverse acts as Cheap Trick, De La Soul, The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, this Friday will see them in concert with local favorite, 2002 Arkansas Times Musician Showcase newgrass/bluegrass Runaway Planet. Tickets are $8, and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

n Something a little unusual is on the menu this Saturday night in Little Rock. The Village at Asher and University is hosting The Velvet Rope: An Elegant Evening of Sexy Art and Performance to benefit the Arkansas AIDS Foundation. A variety of local acts will be playing, from hip hop to R&B and indie rock, with the lead act being trip hop rapper 607.

The sexy-dressy affair will include a silent auction of provocative art with burlesque dance numbers in between music sets, performed by Little Rock’s Finest Assettes of the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative. Tickets are $7, and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Here’s the rest of the week, starting with Thursday, Feb. 15: At The Treehouse (109 S. Cedar), it’s Indiana folk rock with Arrah and the Ferns; Springfield, Mo., delicate couple rock with Damsels in Distress; and Illinois folk punk with returning artist Redbear (10 p.m., $3) … Guitarist and former New Orleans resident Ted Ludwig is starting the season’s celebrations in style at the Afterthought’s official Mardi Gras Kickoff (8 p.m., free) … Texas blues rock comes to Cajun’s Wharf with Wes Jeans (8:30 p.m., $5) … Vino’s Brewpub newbie metal spotlight, Fresh Blood Presents, offers up Jonesboro’s hardcore Hero 9, Sheridan death metal group Ambrose Cabaret, and Close of Magnolia (8:30 p.m., $5) … and Doug DeLuca and Chris Byrne play the White Water Tavern (8 p.m., $5).

On Friday, Feb. 16: Ivan Neville’ New Orleans funk Dumpstaphunk plays with Free Verse at the Revolution Music Room (9 p.m., $TBA) … Acoustic folk rock Bob Dylan-sound-alike from Memphis, Blair Combest, does a show at the White Water Tavern with Brad Bailey from The Glass (9:30 p.m., $5) … One Stone does Juanita’s (10 p.m., $10) … At Downtown Music, weird Little Rock ambient metal band Sports plays alongside Minneapolis’ psychedelic experimental group Monsters of Pot, the Mojo Spleens, and frenetic, purposeless noisecore Dino Frenzy (9 p.m., $5) … Christian metal with My Children My Bride, Ashes of Augustine, the Rhythm Abstract and local Christian hardcore rockers Kaiden play at Vino’s (8 p.m., $7) … and Doug McDonald and the Blue Mirror Band hit up Cajun’s Wharf (8:30 p.m., $5).

On Saturday: It’s the Roadblock Roadshow 2007 at The Treehouse (9 p.m., $3) … Ramona Smith soothes the daily grind at the Afterthought (9 p.m., $5) … Mojo Depot works the Cajun’s Wharf crowd (8:30 p.m., $5) … Little Rock metal group Sychosys rocks out with Dirty Finger and more at Downtown Music (9 p.m., $5)… At Juanita’s, it’s alt-rock with metal undertones with Monoxide Project, local alterna-rock with Wishtribe, and Fayetteville’s Kind (9:30 p.m., $7) … Little Rock alternative group Chasing the Fall does the Rev Room (9:30 p.m., $TBA) … Sometimes satirical Austin country artist Kevin Fowler is playing at Sticky Fingerz with the Gringos (9 p.m., $10). Check out his cover of Kinky Freidman’s “Get your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed.” This Friday is your last chance to hear Cabot’s After the Tragedy old songs since a new CD will be coming out soon for the fellows. The group appears with Monticello hardcore Strike the Choir and Little Rock’s the Dream Life (8 p.m., $7) … Finally, Little Rock pop with the Boswells and local surf rock with the Reverburritos play the WhiteWater Tavern (9:30, $5).

Sunday: Juanita’s brings us another Sunday of music with East Coast pop rock group Over It, Rhode Island’s Monty Are I, Deer in Headlights, and Buffalo indie rockers Last Conservative (8:30, $10).

Tuesday: It’s Mardi Gras, folks! Head over to Cajun’s Wharf for the Fat Tuesday Party with popular 2-step funk group Dikki Du and the Zydeco Crew (8:30, $5) … Nashville’s popular whiskey-and-vinegar voiced folk country Old Crow Medicine Show steps up to the plate at Revolution Room (9 p.m., $TBA) … White Hall’s Under the Red appears with Conway Christian progressive group The Moment Later and Warren Christian indie rockers Stained Glass Masquerade at Juanita’s (8:30 p.m., $5).

Wednesday: At Sticky Fingerz, Mickey and the Motorcars run amock (9 p.m., $7) … Experimental post-rock noisemakers Cracker Creeptacular, Diameter at Breast Height and Awkward Binoculars, all native Arkansan bands, show up at house show venue the Treehouse (9 p.m., donations) … At Vino’s, Monster Energy Drink Presents The $2 Brawler Tour featuring Boston black metal band Burn in Silence, San Fran’s Apiary, The Handshake Murders, and Legia (7 p.m., $2).

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