Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
9 p.m., Arts Scene. $5.
New Jersey’s Lismore makes music that’s alternately been described as twee-electronica and glitch pop. Jersey City neighbors Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman, who worked as drum ’n’ bass DJ Kingsize, formed the band on a whim, with Hindman weaving skittering beats and tremoloed vocal effects with Trappes’ ethereal vocals. The group’s acclaimed debut, “We Could Connect or We Could Not,” leaned toward a more traditional band arrangement, with a drummer and bassist augmenting the twosome, but Lismore’s back to stripped-down electronica as a twosome with a new EP, “All That You Are.” “Sunrise Girl Says,” one of the new tracks, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Jacques Cousteau documentary. Happy Fuckers Unite!, the booking group behind the Treehouse, who lost their go-to venue after a police crackdown, organized this show. They’ve also lined up Michael McDonald aficionado Browningham and Beeping Slag, the impressive local DJ collective led by Ettiem, one of the guiding forces behind Les Attaques and the Chinese Girls.
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Last January, Kevin Kerby released his first solo album on Max Recordings. A departure from his work with the rowdy rock band Mulehead, “Secret Lives of All Night Radios” shows off his stripped-down songwriting. On “Secret Lives,” the Little Rock native reflects on small-town life with straight-forwardness. Take, for instance, “Paper Mills and Broken Wills,” where he admits: “I broke all my habits except the ones that kill/This town smells like paper mills and broken wills.” Another favorite, “Here Comes the Neighborhood,” sounds a bit like “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel”-era Wilco. On that track (and many others), Kerby lays down heartfelt lyrics over a driving sound that gives conventional alt-country a pop-rock punch in the gut. Since the album’s release, Kerby has been humbly promoting the album with acoustic sets like the one he’s got planned tonight. Label mate John Housley, a powerful singer/songwriter in his own right, and ex-Mulehead guitarist Dave Raymond support.
THE DYNAMITES FEATURING CHARLES WALKER
9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8.
Charles Walker’s career has been one of reinvention. In the early ’60s, the Tennessee native led Little Charles and the Sidewinders, a popular club act in New York in its day that’s since become revered by deep-soul fiends. He cut soul sides with the great blues/soul labels of the day — Decca, Champion and Chess — recorded sporadically in the ’70s and ’80s and returned to music in 1999, recast as a bluesman. Now he’s riding the deep funk revival that’s lately been gaining steam behind folks like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Amy Winehouse (thanks to the Dap Kings’ input). Earlier this month, Walker and the Dynamites, the nine-piece band that supports him, released “Kaboom!,” a blistering collection of James Brown-style funky soul. A young white man, Bill Elder, who performs as Leo Black, leads the Nashville-based act as its guitarist, composer, songwriter and producer. He’s a 1990 graduate of Central High.
LITTLE ROCK STAR
7:30 p.m., Windsong Performing Arts Center. $15.
The final weekend of the Little Rock Star singing competition takes place on Friday and Saturday nights at Windsong Performing Arts Center in North Little Rock. During Friday night’s semifinal round, the top 11 contestants will perform two songs each, and, at the end of the night, the field will be cut to five, who will compete in Saturday night’s finals. Arkansas’s version of “American Idol,” the event features a judges’ panel of entertainment-industry experts, including an ex-Broadway performer, a former Capitol Records exec and an old rock ’n’ roll sideman. During the finals, each of the remaining five contestants will perform a three-song set, two songs they’ve selected and a secret selection chosen by the judges. The winner will be announced that evening. The top 20 all have secured a one-year development deal with Windsong Studio Productions, and the winner will receive a three-year development deal and recording contract. Both events begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for the semifinals on Friday and $20 for Saturday night’s finals.
9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Two of the leading men in Little Rock music headline the first of two benefit shows for KABF over the next two weeks. Isaac Alexander and Brad Williams started Big Silver in 2001. Over the course of three albums, the five-piece has evolved a couple steps from its melancholy alt-country beginnings into melancholy country-tinged pop — the distance, perhaps as Alexander has suggested before, from “Music from the Big Pink” to “Rubber Soul.” Along the way, Williams has followed his country inclinations as the leading man of the honky-tonk group the Salty Dogs, while Alexander has explored his pop wanderings in the Easys. Those bands that began as side projects might have overtaken Big Silver in terms of popularity, but, thankfully, the band abides. This rare acoustic performance will likely feature material from the band’s forthcoming album, set to come out on Max Recordings later in the summer. Stacy Mackey has been a fixture on the Little Rock arts scene for years. The front woman in dozens of disparate bands, she’ll play folk tonight with members of Parachute Woman. Father and son Jerry and Jeremy Colburn anchor the rhythm section of the Bloodless Cooties, a gleefully deranged band that covers obscure garage rock and rockabilly. Jeremy Colburn and Louisa Rook sing in frighteningly cartoonish high-pitched wails. Mark Lewis, the guitarist for the Moving Front, is curating these benefits, which support local community radio station KABF 88.3 and its new website, kabf883.com.
8:30 p.m., Juanita’s. $7.
There might not be anyone in local music with the business savvy of Epiphany, the rapper/co-founder of Conduit Entertainment. He’s said before that he has different mixtape sales strategies for different demographics, and he talks often of viral marketing and sponsorship. Perhaps his most prolonged success thus far has been the Chills, a bi-monthly concert series that he’s branded as the hip-hop and R&B event for the kickin’ it crowd. “As urban music matures, so does its audience,” reads a teaser for the show. But don’t get confused — this isn’t cocktail party music. A local production company will be on hand to shoot the video for Epiphany’s swinging hit-in-the-making, “5 Dollas,” a song he does with the help of live band One Night Stand and impressive local soul singer Gina Gee. The Conduit duo Suga City, which does deliriously infectious country rap tunes, will likely headline the night. R&B chanteuse Maria V and Afrocentric rapper Osyrus join Kwestion, Carteaire Custom, Sincere, Sean West, Da Saw Squad and Rockstar in support. The indomitable g-force DJs.
7:30 p.m., the Village. $22-$35.
R&B crooner Bobby Valentino was no stranger to the game when Ludacris signed him to his Disturbing Tha Peace label in 2003. Mississippi-born but Atlanta-raised, Valentino first tried to break on to the scene as the lead singer of a teen Boyz II Men-style group called Mista, which made the charts with the slow jam “Blackberry Molasses.” Management problems stymied further development, so Valentino went to college and earned his degree before returning to the studio full-time. In 2005, he debuted as a solo artist with “DTP Presents Bobby Valentino,” and just last month, he released “Special Occasion.” His new single, “Anonymous,” a skittering Timbaland production, suggests that the soul man might be the heir to R. Kelly’s reign as the king of the club jams. Valentino still has youth on his side, so expect the ladies to represent in full at this show. David Lawrence, one of Arkansas’s most accomplished R&B performers, supports with the funk bands Ultimate Groove and Kemistri.
FOURTH OF JULY
With a much-deserved, mid-week day off, you’re free to sleep the day away or enjoy it to the fullest by taking in family-fun Fourth of July events. Pinnacle Mountain State Park hosts games galore at its “Fun on the Fourth” event in the picnic area. Every 30 minutes, park interpreters will put on favorite summertime contests like watermelon seed spitting and water balloon tossing. The games begin at 10 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch. Call 868-5806 for more details. It’s “Frontier on the Fourth” at the Historic Arkansas Museum from 2-4 p.m. In celebration of the nation’s birthday, museum staff members will dramatize historical events and read the Declaration of Independence. A parade is planned. Admission is free. For more information, call 324-9351. There’s free admission to the Clinton Presidential Center from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. The library will host two special performances by Bill and Sue Willis posing as Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. The annual Arkansas Symphony Orchestra event “Pops on the River” will take place at the Riverfest Amphitheatre on Wednesday evening. The outdoor concert includes patriotic music and Broadway show tunes performed by the David Rosen Orchestra at 7 p.m. and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at 8:30 p.m. The fireworks display will begin at 9:30 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Beer, soft drinks and food will go on sale at 6 p.m. The event is free with donations of cash or non-perishable food items to the Arkansas Rice Depot. Lawn chairs are welcome, pets are not. For more information, call 918-4576.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $15.
David Lowery is indie-rock’s most persistent smart aleck. In the ’80s, he fronted Camper Van Beethoven, a band that ruled college radio, but that was stymied from further success because of its inability to escape being labeled “quirky.” The band was quirky: It blended country, punk and folk, prominently featured a violin and scored one of its biggest hits with a song called “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” In 1989, the band split, and Lowery formed Cracker, a more straightforward rock outfit that briefly broke through the mainstream with the song “Low” (“I’ll be with you girl/like being low/hey, hey, hey like being stone”). Over nearly 15 years, the band has released a steady stream of alt-country gems. Most recently, Lowery and co. put out “Greenland,” a collection of elegiac country-rockers and amped-up, Stones-style blues. Lowery’s also reunited with Camper Van Beethoven to record a full-length cover album of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and “New Roman Times,” a rock opera that tells the story of a Texas teen who joins the military only to leave to join an anti-government militia, so we can keep our fingers crossed that some CVB songs will creep into the set list.
-- By Lindsey Millar and Nicole Boddington