The To-Do List, Sept. 2, 2010 


7 p.m., Downtown Music. $12.

Meet my housemate, Ethan. Ethan is a happy soul, a wildly intelligent, 6'4" Boston native studying law at UALR. Ethan loves bicycles, debating copyright law, photography and this stuff friends call "bean muck," a muddy, grayish protein-bomb of boiled black beans and spice. More than all this, Ethan loves hardcore punk from his native Massachusetts, especially Bane. At least once a week, you can find Ethan, all high on bean muck, fistpumping by himself in the living room to his Bane 7"s. Ethan tells me the act is legendary in hardcore, thanks to the anthemic and defiantly positive voice they embody in a sea of angry punks. The other day, Ethan played me a few songs by the legends of the genre, like "Superhero," a straight-edged praise for people who quit smoking, and "Swan Song," a chunking shout-along specially made for live shows. Ethan was happy I liked the music as much as I did. Ethan also assures me that Bane fans are many. And passionate. And nice guys who refuse to hurt people at punk shows. Just like Ethan himself. From what Ethan told me, this should be a great show and a rare treat for hardcore fans in Arkansas. Take it from Ethan, our friendly neighborhood expert on all things hardcore: This is a must-do for punk aficionados. Bane is joined by tour mates Trapped Under Ice, Cruel Hand and Alpha and Omega. JT

6 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. $30 adv., $40 d.o.e.

I bet Alexander Millar isn't too happy with his state right now. The turn-of-the-century Methodist minister and former Hendrix College president was the state's leading advocate for prohibition and organizer of the Anti-Saloon League during his fun-hating time as Arkansas's hall monitor. We can credit Phil Brandon and his Rock Town Distillery for Dr. Millar's latest post-mortem disappointment (perhaps somewhere near having a great-great-grandson who writes about debauchery for a living). Brandon has opened the state's first legal distillery, specializing in small-batch, premium spirits forged from Arkansas water and grains. And after months of maturing in the distillery's 250-gallon copper still, they're ready to debut the latest addition to Little Rock's alcoholic offerings with an open bar of the small-batch, hand-labeled liquors at the Arkansas Arts Center. The entry fee covers hors d'ouevres, too. JT

8 p.m., Juanita's. $8.

This "Bottle Rocket"-referencing outfit of melodic soundscapers hails from McAllen, Texas. The group sounds like a lot of other ambitious Texas bands, but it's set apart, consciously or not, by coming from one of the hottest — no, one of the most scorching — places in America, situated five minutes away from the Mexican border and, until recently, snow-free for over a century. See, if fellow orchestral rockers Arcade Fire evoke Canadian snow and bluster, Dignan tries for the sound of expansive heat and blisters. It's a reverbed, harmonic type of noise, full of simple dynamism and choral tones ready to lay some ethereal loftiness in suburban familiarity. And with a touring schedule that keeps the four-piece nurturing its sound while on the road throughout half the year, you can expect a show tighter than a two-day-old sunburn. They're joined by electric folk tour mates Farewell Flight (watch out for their killer cover of "Streets of Philadelphia"), local harmonic power-poppers Whale Fire and long-time bedroom rockers Bear Colony. JT


9:30 p.m. Sticky Fingerz. $5.

International mega-fame, late-night booty calls from supermodels, sold-out stadiums and a complimentary U-Haul filled to the brim with enough top-of-the-line drugs to make Lil' Wayne look like Wayne Newton. These are, of course, a few minor advantages of winning the annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. However, the most prestigious and sought-after perk is a signature cocktail at Sticky Fingerz, named after the victor. This year, Brother Andy, Bad Chad and Johnny D. — three guys who know their way around a liquor store — are unveiling the bar's new feature. What could it be? A Killians/Hot Damn/sloe gin thing called Andy's Big Red Beer-d? Warr-Steiner? Brother Andy and His Big Damn Shot of Gin? Tune in this Friday at Stickys for the thrilling conclusion. William Blackart, Adam Faucett's partner-in-crime and one of the most criminally underexposed singer-songwriters in the state, opens the show alongside the rough-shod country of J.R. Top and local garage-country trio Jonathan Wilkins & The Reparations. JT


9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10


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