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ONE MORE TIME: A TRIBUTE TO DAFT PUNK
9 p.m. Revolution. $10-$15.
One thing about bands that only perform in costume is that the conceit adds a very real element of ontological ambiguity to the whole live experience. When you go see the rapper MF DOOM, for instance — who has worn a mask in public since his emergence as a solo artist in the mid-'90s — how can you be sure it's actually him on stage? As it turns out, you can't be sure. A few years ago, the rapper was forced to admit, after a number of controversial and disappointing live shows, that he'd been sending imitators in DOOM masks to perform in his place. So what does this mean for Daft Punk, who not only wear robot helmets and gloves, but also rarely utilize vocals that aren't mechanically processed? Among other things, it means that a "tribute to Daft Punk" has the potential to be not only enjoyable for fans of the band, but essentially identical, if less expensive, to an actual Daft Punk concert. What I always admired about Daft Punk, anyway, was their taste: At their best, they repurposed sounds and rhythms from the ash-heap of pop history — from soft rock, blue-eyed soul and '80s boogie — and created new contexts for them. It's a trick that imposters could pull off just as well — so long as they have the right masks. WS
I WAS AFRAID, HEADCOLD
7 p.m. Vino's. $5.
Conway punk band Headcold is punishing, relentlessly unhappy and great. The group is expert at naming punk rock songs — e.g. "Ignorant Moral Compass," "Delete the Internet," "This Is a Rat's Nest" — and will leave you feeling angry for reasons you can't clearly articulate. In addition to its very good, pummeling April cassette EP "Awkward Tape," the band has released split singles in recent months with like-minded local colleagues Rad Rad Riot and Nouns. Like Jawbreaker or Rancid, Headcold is capable of growling and singing well simultaneously, and of transforming minor personal grievances into a kind of bleak, operatic despair that can make you feel less alone. Friday night the band will share a bill with Little Rock's I Was Afraid, whose members are similarly minded but with an arguably less immediate, more cerebral approach to songwriting. The band's January LP "Endless Ecstasy" was drenched in emo affect and grunge guitar pedals that gave the whole thing a grim, desolate pallor. It's a world I probably couldn't spend too much time in, but it's well worth it for a night. WS
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. $4.
Andy Warhol's pop images of the natural world, from his "Flowers" series from the 1960s to his floating inflatable and interactive installation "Clouds," go on exhibit on Independence Day at Crystal Bridges. If you go on opening day and want to see a connection to the birth of our nation, check out Warhol's "Self-Portrait," part of his Fright Wig series of photographs of the artist overlain with camouflage — here a red, white and blue version of the silkscreen. It's a patriotic match with Jasper Johns' "Flag," in which he's painted a silk American flag with encaustic paints and mounted it on canvas. The new acquisition debuted on Flag Day in June at the museum. To enhance the Warhol mood, a Spotify playlist will feature music from the 1960s and '70s, including tracks by the Velvet Underground. The works in "Warhol's Nature" come from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa. LNP
32ND ANNUAL POPS ON THE RIVER
Noon-10 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. Free.
The boom of timpani and whistle of rockets again mark Independence Day on the river, as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performs patriotic tunes as a prelude to the 9:30 p.m. fireworks show. The day kicks off at noon when food and crafts vendors will set up in Riverfront Park (members of the military will receive discount coupons) and the annual Classic Cars show and competition returns. The music starts at 5:30 p.m.; also starting then is the opportunity to record a video message to the troops at the Salute the Troops tent. The audience and judges will vote in The Oh Say Can You Sing competition of five finalists to determine who sings the National Anthem with the Symphony. To reserve a seat at the amphitheater, go to eventbrite.com. LNP
8 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
Lushes is a Brooklyn duo that sometimes makes misfit noise rock and other times slow, open-ended, chin-scratching indie rock of the sort that used to be called — kind of pretentiously — post-rock. The duo released an album last year called "What Am I Doing" and have a new one on the way in October called "Service Industry," which sounds both scarier and more professional. The new record was recorded and mixed by Aaron Mullan, who's been working with Sonic Youth since "Daydream Nation," and his contributions are, if not evident, inferred. Singer-guitarist James Ardery hails from Louisville, Ky., where he created a music festival called Cropped Out. The band Slint, which recorded music from roughly 1986 to 1991, was also based in Louisville, and it has been mentioned as a sonic precedent in just about everything written about Lushes I can find — for reasons not purely geographical. Like Slint, Lushes' records seem to portend doom and veer unpredictably from engine-grinding distortion to lonesome, buoyant tunefulness. The bands also share an aura of understated mystery. "As much as I hate it, anonymity is the name of the game," Ardery said in the only interview I found with the band online. "And yes, there is a game." WS
WEDNESDAY 7/8-SUNDAY 7/12
AMERICAN TAEKWONDO ASSOCIATION WORLD EXPO
Statehouse Convention Center.
Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee, better known as H.U., was born in Northeast China during World War II, after which his family returned to their home in Korea. He began studying martial arts seriously after the war, and had earned his black belt by 1954, just a year before the term "Taekwondo" was officially designated (by committee) to represent the various extant strands of Korean martial arts — the name could be very loosely translated to mean "The Way of the Hand and Foot." In Korea, Lee opened a school near a U.S. Air Force base, where he befriended an American named Richard Reed. It was Reed who inspired Lee's move to the U.S., where he opened a school in Omaha, Neb., and in 1969 founded the American Taekwondo Association. In 1977, Lee relocated the headquarters of the ATA (now called ATA International) to Little Rock, where he claimed the pine trees reminded him of those he'd grown up with in South Korea. It's been based here ever since, one of the largest taekwondo associations in the world, though Lee himself died of cancer in 2000. He was promoted to 10th degree black belt posthumously and given his impressive (and vaguely ominous) title "Eternal Grand Master." The association brings tens of thousands of visitors to its convention in Little Rock every year and is also constructing a new $13 million, 6,500 square-foot world headquarters here in town, featuring a museum and training center. WS
Doesn't hurt with the Godzilla tie-in. With the mentioning of Monarch, and the atomic bomb…