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To-Do List, Oct. 1 

FRIDAY 10/2

 

ERIC CHURCH

9 p.m., Revolution. $20.

 

Eric Church knows his audience, and they are him. “The scars on my knuckles match the scuffs on these cowboy boots/and there's a whole lot more like me,” he sings on “How Bout You?” a tribute to all things Southern and blue-collar. Not exactly novel territory in country music, but like the best in the business, Church manages to elevate standard fare — some might say cliche — with a witty turn of phrase. Here he offers perspective on a woman who's hit the road  (“I believe that Jesus is comin' back/Before she does”), there he describes a pregnancy scare (“We were young and on fire and just couldn't wait/Six weeks in, she was three weeks late”). Just about everywhere he layers muscular rock 'n' roll flourishes over a twang-y base. Look for a live show that's even more raucous on Friday. At a recent concert, Church told his audience, “I like my country ROCKIN'.” Here's betting he won't have any trouble filling up the place with the likeminded.

 

 

TOTALLY MICHAEL

10 p.m., ACAC. $6.

 

Totally Michael is a one-man band out of Bloomington, but originally from Cabot, who specializes in syrupy sweet dance-anthems about cheerleaders and prom and Winona Ryder. That he counts Blink 182 and Soophie Nun Squad as major influences isn't hard to pick up on. His lyrics follow in the unabashedly juvenile, gag-a-minute tradition of the former (the chorus of the tribute to Ryder goes, “Winona I'd like to get to know ya/let's burn Saks Fifth Ave. into the ground”), while his concerts, many of which have been here at house shows in the past, are all about crowd participation, costumes, wearing short shorts, reverting to childhood and other similarly Soophie-ish wild-out behavior. Little Rock's most promising experimental act, Ginsu Wives, opens the show. They sound like Prince as covered by a deranged chorus of broken robots.

 

 

JIMBO MATHUS

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $10.

 

Clarksdale-born Jimbo Mathus doesn't do genres. “I break down walls and stereotypes with my music,” he's said, more accurately than boastfully. “I confuse people. I use Mississippi music, which is renegade music at heart, as my inspiration and motivation…I keep the old stories alive while they help keep me alive.” Luther Dickinson, of the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes, may've captured Mathus even better when he described him as a link in “the ‘crazy Mississippi white-boy' chain of music that goes all the way back through Elvis Presley to Jimmie Rogers … white musicians playing black music and influencing people in both cultures.” It's not the position in which most probably remember him. In the early '90s, he rose to fame leading the swing-revival act Squirrel Nut Zippers. After a five-year hiatus, that band reunited in 2007 and continues to tour sporadically. But since the early 2000s, Mathus has been busy with his own projects. He's toured with Pine Bluff's CeDell Davis, served as musical director for Buddy Guy, recorded Elvis Costello in his Delta Recording Service studio in Clarksdale and released a host of records, moving easily between swamp rock, country and the acoustic blues. His latest, “Jimmy the Kid,” straddles all those genres.

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