Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
9 p.m., Revolution. $6.
Rarely has bedroom pop been so expansive. Several years ago, during a prolonged health scare, Vince Griffin composed a wealth of new material from the confines of his bedroom. After he recovered, the Little Rock singer/songwriter took the project to 11 musician friends scattered in disparate spots across the globe. The members of Bear Colony (or Brothers + Sisters as they were first known) traded parts over the web, honed and passed them back again. Early this year, the Jackson, Miss., record label Esperanza Plantation released “We Came Here to Die.” As the title suggests, there's a fair amount of desolation in Bear Colony. Griffin's voice is naturally plaintive and songs like “Holidays/No Feelings” (“the city will swallow us all tonight”) and “Hospital Rooms Aren't for Lovers” don't exactly sun up the material. Still, even though the densely orchestrated music relies largely on electronic blips and bleeps, there's enough low-key warmth to it to leaven the woe. Against all geographic odds, Bear Colony has toured sporadically behind its release. Thursday's show kicks off a short tour that will take the band on through the East Coast and Midwest. The Barons, an angsty indie-rock outfit from Dallas, open the show.
THE CRYSTAL METHOD
9 p.m., Revolution. $20 adv./$25 d.o.s.
Hey, remember electronica? The beat-driven movement that happened around the time of the dot-com money bubble, that promised us occasional spiritual transcendence in a cornfield near the airport? Yeah, me neither. But Los Angeles club overlords and American propagators of the originally Euro trend the Crystal Method certainly do, and haven't stopped recording since their 1997 debut. They have in fact, remained pretty busy, scoring soundtracks and releasing the occasional DJ mix on top of a regular album schedule. The Method perform less as spacesuit-clad DJs in a box (see: Punk, Daft) and more as charismatic, spinning rock stars, responsible for some of the most omnipresent rock remixes (Filter, Nine Inch Nails) of the '90s and early double aughts, so expect high energy and improvisation on the decks. The concert comes as part of Revolution's monthly DJ series, Zodiac.
MUSIC MY WAY BENEFIT
8 p.m., River Market pavilion. $10.
With music education steadily being phased out of elementary and middle school curriculums, Shaun Hartman, the lead singer of the local rock act Notion, has taken steps to bring musical instruction to kids after school. Through his day job with the Boys and Girls Club, Hartman earlier this year created “Music My Way,” a program where young folks ages seven to 17 can create and perform music. Kids can focus on singing, lyric writing, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and production. Together, participants record material that, at the end of the class, is released on a CD. So far, the program has produced two albums. Friday's benefit will help cover the cost of producing the CDs and allow the program to purchase more instruments. Hartman's freewheeling rock band Notion provides the entertainment for Friday's benefit show. Stylistically diverse — the band's latest album featured a hip-hop guest spot and moments of old-school country twang — Notion is fast becoming a local act not to miss. Further incentive: $1 beers.
SHOW YOUR SHORTS NIGHT
5 p.m., ACAC Arts and Resource Space. $5.
After years of hosting art and fashion shows and putting together concerts, the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative finally has a space of its own. Located at 1419 S. Main St., the new ACAC headquarters is open seven days a week with an art library and soon, the group promises, free wi-fi access. Also up is the “10+10” art show, a mix of work by established and emerging local artists that opened when the space did a month ago. This Friday, the ACAC hopes to draw Little Rock's film community with a night of short films. The selection is billed as “random,” which ACAC's Alex Moomey clarified as assorted favorites from members' collections. Moomey said the cooperative hopes Friday's event will spark interest in using the space for film clubs or discussion groups. Ultimately, Moomey said, ACAC hopes the community will dictate the cooperative's mission. Community: Put on your thinking cap.
8:30 p.m., Revolution. $6.
Are you a pop-rock fan who's all twee-ed out? Can't take anymore Sufjan-style mewing? Earnest songs of heartbreak paired with Casio keyboards make you want to strangle somebody? This show might be your antidote: two acts playing brawny pop of the highest order. Latture, a Conway-based act led by namesake Seth Latture (pronounced “La-tour”), describes its sound on its Myspace page as “eating Christmas dinner with Ben Folds and Freddie Mercury.” That's a fair estimation of the band's grandiose pop, centered on Latture's rangy vocals and ornamented with guitar, bass, drums, violin, keyboard and vocalist Mandi Tollet's high harmonies. More Kinks than Queen, the Nobility specializes in hard-charging pop. Known for years as Jetpack, the band changed its name last year to avoid a copyright battle. Long one of Nashville's most popular acts, the group returns to Little Rock (lead singer Sean Williams is a Searcy native) in a tour in support of its latest album, “The Mezzanine.” Expect hook-heavy songs that'll stay lodged deep in your brain for weeks. Cities and Thrones, a new local indie-rock act, opens.
SAMANTHA CRAIN AND THE MIDNIGHT SHIVERS
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
White Water favorite Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers return to Little Rock Saturday on their never-ending tour. Based in Shawnee, Okla., the group plays meditative folk. Crain's voice is unquestionably the focus. Tremulous in one instant and boomingly clear in the next, it's strong and strange and wide-ranging. As a compliment to its varied quality, Crain writes compellingly conflicted lyrics of love and despair, colored with moments of great brightness and devastating darkness. Blair Combest is a Memphis-based songwriter with a striking voice. He's likely to play his folk tunes alone, with just a guitar. Fledgling local group Silverton plays sly, shuffling folk rock. Featuring a number of ex-Tin Fire Radio members, including lead singer Phillip Huddleston, the band has gotten a fair amount of buzz for its stage show, which features two female backing vocalists and a pedal steel guitar.
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $18-$49
Likely Andrew Lloyd Weber's most famous musical, and his second longest running (trumped by “Phantom of the Opera”), it is also probably T.S. Eliot's most lucrative achievement. The musical, cribbed from Eliot's “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats” is a surprisingly impressionistic tale of a tribe of magical, heavily made up nighthawks (er, cats), vying for the eternal, mythical “ninth life.” If “Cats” fans are any indication, this is to miss the point. Some of Weber's most audacious choreography and costuming are in “Cats,” along with some of his biggest, saddest songs, including “Memory,” which will outlast us all. Now that “Cats” has closed on Broadway, its two nights in Little Rock will be one of few opportunities for kids to learn what exactly David Letterman was making fun of.
9 p.m. Juanita's. $18 adv./$20 d.o.s.
Yellowcard has the double distinction of coming from the two sunniest, if most sinister, pop factories in the world — Florida, home to the Disney compound, and sunny Southern California, where Hollywood dreams go to rest. Give the rock quintet a bit more credit than that, if for nothing else than using a violin on a double platinum album that didn't sound anything like Dave Matthews. Also give them credit for their relentless touring schedule, hit singles, five albums, and emotive, soaring choruses that score the dreams of teen girls across our nation. The kids, they're all right.
ROSY NOLAN and AARON BERG
8 p.m., the Afterthought. $5.
In between gigs in Austin and New Orleans, fresh-faced touring duo Rosy Nolan and Aaron Berg stop in at the Afterthought on Tuesday night. The young Brooklyn-based singer/songwriters have taken circuitous paths to get to this point in their careers. Nolan, who's just released “Phantom Hymns,” her debut album, started playing music at 14, as the drummer of an all-girl punk band called the Rape Utic. From there, she's traveled from London to Los Angeles, writing and performing in all spots in between. Berg, a Greenville, S.C., native, got his start in music as an upright bass player in blues, folk and jazz groups. After high school, he moved to New York to attend the New School, but ended up dropping out — something about disillusionment and wanting to reconnect with his Southern roots. Together, with just their guitars, look for Nolan's Stevie Nicks-esque holler to mix well with Berg's baritone.