Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5
Normally, I'd feel trepidation recommending this show. It seems I'm not the only one who thinks the blues rock revival is overstaying its welcome. Don't get it twisted, I love (and love to play) a grimy, cocksure electric blues just as much as the next pasty white guy, but just last week, I heard three different Black Keys songs in three different ads in a single commercial break. So why am I going to endorse this gig? Because every time he comes to town, Patrick Sweany, that wolf-voiced, blues-scorching son of a gun, shakes up one of the best blues shows you'll see this side of Holly Springs. The Ohio native hollers, shimmies and stomps through three hours of loud, distorted Piedmont blues, shaking juke-joint swagger out of a tractor-sized hollow-bodied guitar. I'm a convert. Dan Auerbach and Jimbo Mathus (big-time throwback rockers from The Black Keys and Squirrel Nut Zippers, respectively) are outspoken members of Team Sweany, too. If there's a rock show this week that'll threaten you with a good time, this one's it.
9 p.m., Mediums Art Lounge. $10
After this New Year's Eve, you're going to be tired, maybe still hung over and probably ready to stock up on as many extra hours of rest as possible before tackling another calendar year. That's just the nature of New Year's Day. But the lineup for "1.1.11" should be enough to make those with an ear for local hip-hop perk right back up. Local rapper/activist/promoter Osyrus Bolly hosts "1.1.11," a hip-hop showcase night featuring some of the best Arkansas has to offer with sets from the Tillman brothers of EarFear, fresh off of releasing the cumbersomely-titled but banging "G33KS GON3 W!LD," their third album in six months; Goines, who just released "It's Gotta Be Black," the newest in a long string of Suga City-affilliated mixtapes that live in my car stereo; Epiphany, the hyper-literate emcee with a dial that's seemingly stuck on "grind"; the baritone swagger of Southwest Boaz; reggae-tinged rap from Bully Gang; heavy club bangers from the masked men of Da Saw Squad; and rock fusion from local mainstays Velvet Kente.
'S.I.N. SUNDAY: THE ANDY WARR EXPERIENCE'
10 p.m., Ernie Biggs. $8 with R.S.V.P.
In last week's issue, we threw some well-deserved accolades towards "Brother" Andy Warr, saying that newly-crowned prince of local rock music makes us feel both short and lazy with his 7'10" stature and his 140 bands (both precise figures calculated using the science of hyperbole). This Sunday, you've got the chance to see him hard at work during this week's "S.I.N. Sunday," a weekly "Service Industry Night" for waiters, bartenders, chefs and the whole food-serving cadre. He's playing a triple header with Sweet Eagle, the Detroit rock supergroup with Andy on guitar; Iron Tongue, the metal group that manages to get better with every gig and now features Andy on bass, and his eponymous band, Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth. If you haven't yet, go find out why the hype is real. Heck, say hello. Just because you're the most intimidating man in town doesn't mean you can't be the nicest man in town, too.
MOCKINGBIRD HILLBILLY BAND/ ISAAC ALEXANDER
9 p.m., The Afterthought. $7
It's no secret that we're fans of The Afterthought, Hillcrest's neighborhood jazz bar and one of the most chill drinking holes in town. And now that the Little Rock institution is booking local, folk-tinged rock music, we're excited to have more reasons to go. This Friday marks the venue's first experiment in widening its tent to local musicians more likely to set up shop on White Water Tavern or Stickz stages. The Mockingbird Hillbilly Band brings its whacked-out, psychedelic flavor of Holy Modal Rounders-inspired hick-folk to the lounge and prolific local pop brainiac Isaac Alexander breaks out a set full of the hyper-melodic, dry-humored pop earwigs that make him one of the best songwriters Little Rock has to offer. Maybe even a few regular jazz jammers at The Afterthought will join on stage to spice up a few numbers. I tend to doubt it, but there's always power in suggestion, nudge nudge.
7 p.m., Malco Theater. $7
After two years of sell-out screenings at Hot Springs' gorgeous, historic Malco Theater, "Arkansas Shorts" is set to return for its fourth year, showcasing music videos, experimental films, documentaries and narrative shorts from the state's filmmakers. Highlights include "Breathturn," a music video by Marc Byrd for his celebrated ambient band, Hammock; "Ces Jours" by Valley of the Vapors organizer (and former frontman of ska heroes The Blue Meanies) Bill Solleder and local painter Michael Shaeffer; the amazingly titled "North Korea Taking the Speed Boats" from author J. Lee; "Princess Bling Bling and the Art Knight" from Anna Wingfield and her 5th grade Art Club, and "cinePLOSION!," a live multi-video installation by Dan Anderson, experimental filmmaker and director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. All proceeds from the night's celebration of cinema go to Valley of the Vapors, the local non-profit arts organization.
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $47.20
In 2003, Rodney Carrington released an album called "Nut Sack." Say what you will about the country comedian/crooner and his awful, lowest common denominator quiver of fart and fat jokes. Feel free to hate his rapid-fire sleaze, his flat-out unfunny jokes about killing nuns and orphans while drunk driving, his smug, self-satisfied grin, his race-baiting shtick, his gay-baiting shtick, his irritatingly nasal singing voice, the bed-stain of a sitcom he starred in or the fact he made himself a millionaire by perpetuating the same tired "ignorant redneck" stereotype that's a cancer to the upstanding majority of Southerners. By all means, hate him for that, if anything. Hate him because Bill Hicks died and we're left with this doofus. Just don't say that naming an album "Nut Sack" isn't kind of hilarious.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
It's a long way from point Delta blues to point punk, but the space in between is jam-packed with all breeds of young, aspiring cowpunks, psychobillies and tattooed hayseeds. But 49-year-old Danny Barnes, a country-punk O.G. ("original gentrifier"), can still storm the alt-country barn with kids half his age. Admittedly, he's the Kurtis Blow to, say, Nashville Pussy's Wu-Tang Clan and he looks more than a little like a cop, but for 20 years the Texan has repurposed the entire idea of "banjo," running it through loop pedals and laptops, scatting over twangy riffs and, in his old band, Bad Livers, using it to rough up classics from Iggy Pop ("Lust for Life") and Motorhead ("Ace of Spades"). He may be an overlooked force to most, but with a recent profile on NPR, outspoken fans in Dave Matthews, Mike Gordon of Phish, real life guitar hero Bill Frisell and college-country icon Robert Earl Keen ready to praise him at the drop of a pick and a nation of folks hungry for alt-country, Barnes may want to brace himself for a sudden explosion. Better late than never.