Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
THE REPARATIONS ALBUM RELEASE
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $6.
Apart from having one of the bitingly best names in the history of Central Arkansas rock music, The Reparations (formerly Jonathan Wilkins and the Reparations) have maintained their reputation as top-tier Arkansas bar rockers. Since sharpening its pointed folk sound with Matt Floyd (Smoke Up Johnny) on bass and Will Boyd (American Princes) on drums, the trio has doled out rough-hewn, sharp-tongued American music about, well, just about everything worth singing about: immoral wars, truck payments, the perks of having a steady girl and, on their latest album, "Ride or Die," "Mrs. Huxtable" and "Jewish Girls." Ever political, Wilkins even gives a whiskey-wetted finger to a former Republican senator from New Hampshire on "John Sununu." It's that anything-goes songwriting that pairs so well with the Reparations' primitive roots-punk and keeps our hometown trio a few steps ahead of its sonic peers. And it keeps their CD plugged in my car stereo, too. The night opens with sets from the Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth and The See, which is taking a break from recording its debut album to hit the stage.
THE BUCKINGHAMS/BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA. $30-$40
The University of Central Arkansas wraps up this season's "Nostalgia Series" with a night of squeaky-clean AM radio classics from The Buckinghams and Blood, Sweat & Tears, two mainstay bands on golden oldie compilations, state fairs and record store bargain bins. Don't take that as a slam, though. The Buckinghams' breakthough song, "Kind of a Drag," is a canonical piece of late '60s white-boy pop and only suffers from being too tight. That's a great problem to have. Likewise, Blood, Sweat & Tears' early '70s fusion of big-band, jazz and rock on display in their self-titled album is undeniably great, even beating out "Abbey Road" and "At San Quentin" for the Grammy album of the year award back when the honor was an honor.
HOMEBREWERS SHOWCASE 2011
7 p.m., ACAC. $20
Why not double up on Showcases? Before checking out some of the best music in the state at our Musicians Showcase finals at Revolution, check out some of the best homecrafted beers in the area at ACAC. Members of the Central Arkansas Fermenters Association bring an array of their best signature brews to the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative for a tasting-slash-chance to show off the members' hop and barley skills. If your throat is sick of choking down Stroh's and your brain is tired of acting like major brewer "specialty" beers, like Shock Top (Michelob) or Blue Moon (Coors), are anything better than nasty, this night's for you. And if you see a sweet potato beer like the one my neighbor Grant brings to my house on occasion don't pass it up.
7:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $25.75-$55.75
How in the name of Megachurch Jesus can two people make music so sickly sweet and so eggshell bland all at once? If you like your country music factory-made with extra layers of dull-eyed plainness, you're not going to miss out on Sugarland, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning, No. 1 single-manufacturing duo. The band's 2004 debut, "Twice the Speed of Life," sold a trijillion copies and set the Atlanta singer/songwriters on the fast track to big-time nu-country megastardom. Since, Sugarland has released three more enormously successful records, a healthy spray of chart-topping singles and, in one of the craziest live collaborations in memory, buddied up with The B-52s during the 2009 CMT Music Awards for a cover of "Love Shack." The same year, the group put a stop to the great Brooks & Dunn's nine-year run as the Academy of Country Music's best vocal duo award winners. You have to credit the band for writing the bulk of its own songs: an admirable feat that becomes more and more of a rarity in Nashville every year. Sugarland is joined by fellow megastars (and occasional collaborators) Little Big Town and "American Idol" bronze medalist Casey James.
TRUE SOUL REVUE
10 p.m., White Water Tavern.
It's been a crazy few months since True Soul Revue, the pride of Arkansas soul-funk, took the stage for a shaking October gig at White Water Tavern. Now Again Records, a specialty funk/soul/psych imprint label under Stones Throw's experimental hip-hop tent, is set to release a comprehensive two CD/DVD, four LP retrospective of highlights from Lee Anthony's celebrated label. The group has been the object of beat-digger fetishization since DJ Shadow gave the studio house band a shout out years ago. But now, with the upcoming anthology being prepared for release, a new audience of backpackers may end up adoring the seven-piece the way Arkansans do. Few acts in the area have such a fervent following. And even fewer, if any, can start a party like these guys. Bring a pair of groove boots in case your dancing shoes bust.
QUEER PROM 2: DIRTY SOUTH
8 p.m., ACAC. 8 p.m. $10.
After an inaugural year packed out a private, albeit enormous, loft in Little Rock, the organizers of the straight-friendly Queer Prom have decided to up and move their now-annual fund-raising party to the public space at the downtown ACAC space. What to expect? This being a "dirty South" prom, look out for people boozing it up while dressed in everything from hay-stuffed overall dresses to knock-off gold grills. Also, in addition to shows from three local drag queens and a DJ set from local poet/music guru Michael Inscoe, the prom offers up old-time music from Montgomery Trucking, reverbed country and western from Mandy McBryde and the Unholy Ghost (who may be coming off of a win from the Musicians Showcase finals the night before) and rowdy roots folk from Jonathan Wilkins and the Reparations. Also in the mix: a rumored creamed corn fight. Dang it, boy. The night requires you be 18 to enter, 21 to drink. All genders and sexual persuasions are invited.
LITTLE ROCK MARATHON
The city's largest gathering of self-harmers gathers downtown for another year of unbelievable athleticism during the eighth annual Little Rock Marathon. As of print time, all 3,700 spots for the 26.2 mile race have been filled, as have all 2,100 openings for the 13.1 mile half-marathon. Personally, I've never been big on public barfing, so I keep my running sequestered to my treadmill. However, friends who have tackled multiple marathons seem to enjoy our local course, which winds downtown before hooking off to the Governor's Mansion district, up to Kavanaugh, down Lookout and over to Rebsamen Park Road and Riverfront Drive. Saturday kicks off the marathon weekend with an 8 a.m. Fun Run/Walk that starts in the River Market before Statehouse Convention Center doors open at 10 a.m. for a Health and Fitness Expo geared towards runners. Saturday afternoon offers runners a chance to carb up with the official Little Rock Marathon Pasta Party at The Peabody, 4 p.m., $20. The starting line fills up Sunday morning: 6 a.m. for early starters and 8 a.m. for marathon, half marathon and relay participants. After all the day's craziness, the Clinton Presidential Center hosts a post-race party with music from the Greasy Greens, barbecue from Whole Hog Cafe, more pasta (this time from Olive Garden) and hog dogs from the master, Hot Dog Mike.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…