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Anvil at Juanita's 

WEDNESDAY 2/8

ANVIL

9 p.m. Juanita's. $15 adv., $19 d.o.s.

One of the great should-have-beens of the early '80s metal scene, Toronto's Anvil never saw the level of renown enjoyed by contemporaneous acts such as Slayer, Metallica, Exodus and others. Nonetheless, the band forged ahead in the ensuing decades, releasing albums on small indie labels and playing club shows while holding down decidedly non-metal day-jobs. Anvil achieved probably its greatest level of fame via the 2009 documentary "Anvil: The Story of Anvil," which was made by a former roadie turned screenwriter. The film was a huge hit (Anvil was last in Little Rock performing after a screening at Market Street Cinema) largely due to the compelling friendship between unrelentingly positive vocalist/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner (no, not that one, though there is an undeniable air of "Spinal Tap"-esque ridiculousness to the documentary). For being about a thrash metal band, it's an amazingly touching film. And even though there will probably be quite a few folks at the show purely for rubbernecking, Anvil's music is ragin' and stands on its own merits. Opening acts are Little Rock wildmen The Wicked Good and veteran metal acts Vore and Scorned, both of Fayetteville.

WEDNESDAY 2/8

THE POLYPHONIC SPREE

8:30 p.m. Revolution. $16 adv., $20 d.o.s.

It's been a few years since we heard from Dallas symphonic-pop outfit The Polyphonic Spree. Just in case you weren't paying attention to music at all between 2003 and 2007 or so, here's the Cliff's Notes version: Tripping Daisy frontman Tim DeLaughter was profoundly bummed by the death of that band's guitarist, Wes Berggren, in 1999. Partly as a reaction to his friend's death (according to an NPR story), DeLaughter began writing joyous-sounding pop songs and assembled this gigantic band, which has as many as two dozen members at any given time, all singing and playing a variety of stringed instruments and sometimes wearing robes. If you dig lush, gorgeously arranged pop music in the vein of later Mercury Rev or "Soft Bulletin"/"Yoshimi"-era Flaming Lips (but are somehow unfamiliar with The Polyphonic Spree), well, this should be a no-brainer. Even if you're not way into that kind of stuff, this show will be entertaining and stands a very good chance of being one of those forever-talked-about concerts that you'll kick yourself for not going to, should you skip it.

FRIDAY 2/10

CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT

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

If you've ever had the privilege of seeing the Juke Joint Duo, you're probably aware that in addition to being a stone-badass drummer, Cedric Burnside is also a helluva guitar player and singer. When I saw the band a couple years back at White Water, Burnside stepped out from behind the kit and played a few songs on a resonator or dobro or something. Whatever it was, his songs were, perhaps unsurprisingly, amazing hill country blues, cut from the same entrancing, deep blue cloth as those of his grandfather, the late, great R.L. Burnside. Burnside is in town with his newest band, The Cedric Burnside Project, which last year released its first album, "The Way I Am." Expect this show to be packed; get there early.

FRIDAY 2/10

'FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF'

7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

In the wake of Tyler Perry's abysmal film adaptation "For Colored Girls," it might be easy for some to forget that the source material — this 1975 play by Ntozake Shange — still contains some powerful, emotionally rich stories of the challenges black women face every day. Composed of 20 "choreopoems" told by seven different women, the experimental play started out Off Broadway, but a year later was enormously successful and went on to win prestigious theatre awards, including a Best Featured Actress Tony for Trazana Beverley. The play's harrowing themes — love, heartbreak, rape, abortion — are timeless, despite Perry's critically reviled cinematic mishap. The production runs Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 25.

SATURDAY 2/11

ASO: 'VALENTINES IN NEW YORK'

8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$65.

So let's say you messed up powerful bad and didn't do anything all that romantic for your significant other for Valentine's Day last year, like you came home with Funyuns and Corona and a Blu-Ray of "Robocop." How to make up for it this year? Here's a good place to start. Soprano Melissa Errico ("the voice of enchantment" according to the New York Times) and baritone Ryan Silverman ("It's Complicated," "Sex and the City 2") join the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for an evening of romantic Broadway hits. You'll hear "Luck be a Lady," "I Got Rhythm," "All I Care About is Love," "Be Our Guest" and more. The show also runs Sunday at 3 p.m.

SATURDAY 2/11

RASCAL FLATTS

8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $26-$60.

Even if you don't like Rascal Flatts' music — and, I do not, at all — it is impossible to dislike the band. I tried really hard and failed utterly. The group's chart-demolishing pop-country songs and heavenly harmonizing are so overwhelmingly pleasant and innocuous and all-American that I had no choice but to submit to the band's multi-award-winning excellence. In their songs, you'll find none of the drinkers and brawlers and cheaters that populate other country songs. Rascal Flatts is like that really handsome, popular, athletic kid in high school who was so universally friendly and guileless that no one — not even the hoodlums with their worn-out Led Zeppelin T-shirts and their cigarettes and their chips on their shoulders — could so much as utter an unkind word about him. Speaking of that kid, he's got a super amazing girlfriend, and her name is Sara Evans. You might remember her from her recent appearances at Magic Springs or that ill-fated thing at War Memorial Park with Toby Keith. But let's forget about that. Right now, it's Rascal and Sara. Together, they're that power couple that you look at and just think, "Dang, they are gonna be so successful and prosperous." Hunter Hayes opens the show. I don't know that much about him. He's like the new kid who doesn't say anything on his first day but turns out to be really good at PE. On Thursday, Rascal Flatts are playing the 2012 Starlight Gala at John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers. It's $200, but it's a benefit for Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter. See what I mean? They're such nice dudes that there is no way you can't like them.

MONDAY 2/13

AFENI SHAKUR-DAVIS

7:30 p.m. University of Central Arkansas. Free.

Afeni Shakur-Davis is not as well known as her son, the late Tupac Shakur. But ever since the rap superstar's murder in 1996, the activist and former Black Panther member has guided his legacy, establishing a record label that has released eight posthumous albums, as well as reissuing the five released during his lifetime. In 1997, Shakur-Davis established the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation to provide arts training to young people via day camps and classes at the TASF Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Ga. Her lecture is titled, "Road to Peace and Empowerment." It's free, but tickets are required and can be picked up at the Reynolds Performance Hall box office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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