Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
9 p.m., On the Rocks. $5.
And the prize for the young year's most unlikely bill goes to … Even forgetting that this is happening at On the Rocks — a River Market area club that always draws the out-of-town throngs, most of whom couldn't care less about some local band they've never heard of and spend their bar hours drinking ridiculously cheap beer and staring cock-eyed at the stage — this line-up is just plain strange. For one thing, it's been many moons since the Boondogs played out a weeknight. One fifth of the band lives in Tulsa; everyone else has kids, and late night babysitters, I'm told, are in short supply. But the 'dogs have new music (their fourth full length, “Take Shelter,” came out in November) they're eager to share with fans of cheap beer. Playing in support, the See is a much-buzzed about new-ish, noisy indie rock trio and Father Maple are four musicians who, according to their MySpace page, “play music you like.” Resident DJ Sleepy Genius closes out the night with a blend of “top 40, club classics and bangin' vocal house.” LM.
2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT
5 p.m., Downtown.
A new venue joins the 2nd Friday Art Night bunch this Friday: The Arts Scene at 110 La Harpe. The trolley will add this stop to its rounds that take gallery-goers to the Historic Arkansas Museum (opening “John Bridges: Echoes”), Hearne Fine Art (featuring art talks by Marjorie Williams-Smith at 6 p.m. and Garbo and Archie Hearne at 7 p.m.), River Market ArtSpace and the Cox Creative Center. Showing at The Arts Scene will be paintings by Jon Shannon Rogers, who graduated from the Chicago Art Institute in 2008. Singer-songwriter Charlotte Taylor will perform. The HAM show features the work of the director of the photography department of the Arkansas Arts Center's Museum School. Art Night hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, in conjunction with its “Collaborations: Two Decades of Excellence” exhibit, artists Rex Deloney, George Hunt, Anthony D. Lee and Alvin Roy will give a talk at 2 p.m. LNP.
9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
A week after Lucero played White Water, the band returns to Little Rock about five months ahead of schedule. The quick turnaround is a tribute to the Memphis heavyweight's admiration for the American Princes. As I've reported in this space and online, Princes bassist Luke Hunsicker recently underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. The prognosis is for a full recovery, but like so many musicians, Hunsicker lacks health care coverage. His bills, of course, are substantial. To help cover the costs, his friends have set up a donation page, which can be accessed via americanprinces.com, and they've made really cool T-shirts, which will be on-sale at this show. All proceeds go to benefit Hunsicker. Big Boots, a popular local pop-rock act in which Hunsicker also plays, opens the show with young rockers Whale Fire.
8 p.m., Vino's. $5.
“Maxx is back!” That's how the young MC Max Farrell introduced himself to the local rap scene a couple years back. It rhymed. But now it's fitting. The 19-year-old, who rose in the local rap ranks after a series of much-ballyhooed live shows this summer, returns to the stage for his first full set after a semester in college. In the waning days of his holiday break from Grinnell College in Iowa, Farrell's debuting a new live hip-hop band, Apples & Spades. He won't be the only rapper with a band. Osyrus opens with his band, Blacc Zephyr, and Little Rock's resident rap superstar 607 also puts in some stage time. He'll be performing songs from his just-released, much talked about 31st album, “Mirrors of Time.” DJ g-force spins all night long, too. Last time Maxx hosted a concert, some 300 people came out, so get ready for Vino's to be cozy. LM.
BRAD WILLIAMS/ AMY GARLAND
8 p.m., Studio Joe.
Here's a rare gig for you. Brad Williams spends most of his time on stage leading everyone's favorite country-swing throwbacks the Salty Dogs. In his spare time, he plays guitar in Big Silver. Which doesn't leave him much time to show off his mighty country tenor in solo gigs. Look for him to debut some new sketches of Salty Dogs songs. Some lost gems, too. Meanwhile, Amy Garland has been M.I.A. of late. Long one of the area's finest singer/songwriters, she's been tied up with motherhood for what seems like a couple years. Here's hoping this marks her return to regular giggin'. Local guitar giant Nick Devlin, who plays in both the Salty Dogs and the Amy Garland Band, sits in with each performer. Look for a Williams/Garland/Devlin free-for-all at the end. Be sure to whoop loud a couple times. You'll want to distinguish yourself from the crowd, so you can hear yourself on the radio. KUAR is now airing live performances recorded at Studio Joe every Saturday at 9 p.m. Expect a cover charge somewhere in the $5 range. LM.
7:30 p.m., Summit Arena, Hot Springs. $15-$50.
I'm confused. The championship bout on this live Smackdown card pits “The extreme high flying” Jeff Hardy vs. “The Rated R Superstar” Edge for the WWE Championship. But that's not supposed to happen until Royal Rumble, live on Pay-Per-View on Jan. 25. If Hardy's signature snap reverse powerbomb proves ineffective when faced with the Edge's Russian legsweeps, seated chinlocks and half nelson sitout facebusters, and the Edge reclaims the title belt from Hardy, will it only count in Hot Springs? That little asterisk that always accompanies these touring shows, “lineup subject to change,” should have you worried. Even more than Edge and Hardy, I'd be pretty devastated if The Great Khali, who's somewhere around 7 feet tall and 400 pounds heavy, and Big Show, who's similarly sized, didn't show and lumber around Hulk smashing each other around. The rest of the card supposedly includes the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Hurricane Helms, R-Truth, Vladmir Kozlov, Umaga, MVP, Primo and Carlito, Ezekiel, Maria, Maryse and Jimmy Wang Yang. LM.
GYM CLASS HEROES
8 p.m., the Village. $16 adv., $20 d.o.s.
If MTV.com's investigative reporting into cryptic blog posts is to believed, the It couple of the young pop set is no more. Yep, look for he-said-she-said showdowns between pneumatic Katy Perry and much-tattooed and pierced Travis McCoy on the cover of Teen People coming to a supermarket near you. But before, or maybe even during, that fallout, McCoy leads his band Gym Class Heroes to the Village for what's sure to be a full, emotionally charged show. See if you can spot the pathos in songs like “Guilty as Charged” or “Cookie Jar.” Umm, maybe not. Instead, see if you can make sense of some of the hyphenates critics have used to describe the band, like “post-hip-hop pop collage.” Based on a few songs from the band's latest, “The Quilt,” I'm guessing that means that McCoy is a not-great rapper who has a knack, or at least surrounds himself with people who have a knack, for crafting pop hooks that draw on a range of nostalgic and modern influences. Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump co-produced and Daryl Hall guests, after all. LM.
10 p.m., White Water. $6-$8.
Longtime musician on the scene Bryan Frazier returns to the stage to celebrate the release of “Love in the Modern World,” his second full-length album, with a concert on Saturday. The new album collects songs that Frazier's been crafting for as much as five years. Thick Syrup Records, lately getting prolific with its releases, is putting out the album. Local music video fans will recognize “Unwise,” the single that earned Frazier second place in last year's Little Rock Film Festival Music Video Competition. That song, like much of the album, showcases Frazier's talent for crafting gentle, reflective pop confections. TJ Deeter, who's lately DJing as just plain “Deeter” (TJ the DJ is too easy), works up a dance party post-release party. LM.