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Big Business, Rockst*r and rock'n kickball carnival this week 

BIG BUSINESS

9 p.m., Juanita’s. $10.

Who needs guitars? Seattle duo Big Business distills stoner metal down to its deep, sludgy essence with just a bass and a drum kit. Formed from the ashes of Northwest alt-rock bands Karp and Murder City Devils, the band debuted in 2005 with “Head for the Shallows,” an album that caught the attention of sludge-punk legends the Melvins. By 2006, the duo was holding down the Melvins’ rhythm section, recording and touring and opening up shows as Big Business. Earlier this year, the band put out “Here Comes the Waterworks,” a follow-up full-length produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Built to Spill) that finds bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis broadening its stylistic horizons, working in punk sounds (with near-hooks!) and drumming showy enough to make Neil Peart blush. Which is to say, don’t get them confused with Pantera. Lyrically, too, the band occasionally ventures into rare territory for metal: quirky humor. On “Grounds for Divorce,” bassist/vocalist Jared Warren captures a round of high-school-style gossip gone wild. “I heard he dabbled in the witchcraft. I heard occult. Oh, they’re pretty much the same. I guess he was adopted or else was raised by wolves. That’s ridiculous… I heard that, too, it’s true!

FRIDAY 7/27

HONEYDEW REVUE

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Arkansas-reared, Hendrix-educated Graham Wilkinson returns to Little Rock’s White Water Tavern to debut his latest project, the Honeydew Revue. For some time now, the dreadlock-sporting Wilkinson and his band, the Underground Township, have been jam-band neo-hippies on the Austin alt-country scene. With his new outfit, the twangy vocalist is moving more toward bluegrass and honky-tonk. On the mellow “Take Me Down,” Wilkinson sings, “Take me down to your watering hole/Deliver me from this old dust bowl/Take me to where the tumbleweeds roll/Take me down, oh, take me down.” While the lyrics might be as shallow and dry as that watering hole in the summertime, the rise and fall of the harmonica, fiddle and two-part harmonies (created by Wilkinson and a singer reminiscent of Caitlin Cary) turn the simple sing-along into something special. Friday night marks the first of a four-night stint in Arkansas as the Honeydew Revue plays U.S. Pizza and George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville on Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively, and makes one more stop in Little Rock at White Water Tavern on Tuesday night. For Friday night’s show, local band Damn Bullets will open. Expect a bare-footed folk-rock jam.

THE VENUS MISSION

8 p.m., RiverTop Party at the Peabody. $5.

With the doldrums of August hot on our heels, the RiverTop Party at the Peabody ends its run of summer concerts and parties with the Venus Mission, an ’80s cover band from Memphis. In our completely unscientific estimation, no band has played more often in Little Rock over the last three or four years to consistently large crowds. Maybe folks ’round here just can’t get enough of Belinda Carlisle and “The Wang Chung.” Or it could be that the allure comes from the three ladies who front the band. But, most likely, it has to do with Arkansas native and co-lead singer Sweet T. With heavy blue eye shadow, a Pebbles-style high ponytail and lots of fishnet, she always manages to get homestaters riled up. In keeping with the theme, West Little Rock boutique Scarlet will host an ’80s fashion show.

ROCKST*R

10 p.m., Mediums. $5.

Since Ohio-born rapper/producer Rockst*r emerged on the local scene two years ago, he’s been promoting his debut album, “Instant Classic.” Classic? Maybe. But instant? The album still hasn’t come out and won’t until late fall. To sate the audience he’s developed through constant performances until then, on Friday the MC releases the “Instant Classic” mixtape, a CD that will include originals side-by-side with industry tracks. Earlier this week he put out a new single, “Radio,” and an accompanying video. Like his previous single, “That’s My Nature,” the song has an old-school, East Coast flavor and an irrepressible, sing-songy hook. To celebrate the mixtape’s release, Rockst*r performs at Mediums on Friday. The doors open at 10 p.m. and the new video will show sometime thereafter, but Rockst*r and his assorted guests — including Epiphany, Razormack, David Lawrence and Dirtbag — won’t come on until midnight. Stick around to hear the rapper do the buoyant “She’s in Love,” which he unveiled last summer, but still should factor into your soundtrack this summer. The song, which features Rockst*r’s former partner, Heavyweight, who was killed outside of Legend’s last October, is sure to be delivered as a tribute.

FOCAL BOOK SALE

10 a.m., Main Library. Free.

Book fiends, take note. Three times a year, the Friends of the Central Arkansas Library (FOCAL) host a basement booksale in the library’s main branch. The cavernous and typically sweltering basement is generally teeming with books — library discards, donated books, surplus — all for 50 cents per paperback and $1 for hardbacks. Fans of genre literature, like mystery or romance, can count on an unbelievable surfeit of material. For the more high-minded, the literature section is always stocked with choice titles; last year, we picked up “The Complete Shakespeare.” The last two sales, in the Arkansas section, made available several copies of “True Grit,” essential reading for any red-blooded Arkie. Sure, most everything is a bit dank, a little shopworn and library markings and old card catalog sleeves come pretty standard, but, hey, here’s a chance to get 15- or 20-some books for the price of one. The sale opens to the public at 10 a.m. Friday and runs until 4 p.m. It continues over the same hours Saturday and concludes Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Bargains also extend to nearby River Market Books and Gifts, where all books will be 10 percent off.

SATURDAY 7/28

GIANT BEAR

10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Memphis-based Giant Bear claims to be the world’s only five-piece orchestral funkabilly band. Whether that’s true, or even provable, it’s probably safe to say that Giant Bear is the only five-piece orchestral funkabilly band touring the country in a yellow Dodge bus salvaged from a carpet-cleaning company. While the band’s style might be unconventional, its music is deeply rooted in traditional country, blues, folk and funk. Each member sings and plays one or more of many onstage instruments, including mandolin, accordion, lap steel guitar, cello, banjo, bass, keyboards and drums. The band has been called a “Southern-fried version of the New Pornographers,” and when bassist/vocalist Robert Humphries harmonizes with cellist/chanteuse Jana Misener on “Nashville,” it’s a spot-on comparison. Promoting the release of its self-titled album, Giant Bear will make a stop Saturday night at White Water Tavern. Opening is Memphis singer/songwriter Blair Combest, who will likely play a slow-moving set.

ARKANSAS TWISTERS

7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $10-$30.

On Saturday’s “fan appreciation night” and regular season finale, the Twisters look to secure their first home-field playoff game in four years with a win against divisional cellar-dwellers Amarillo. Sitting out for six weeks midseason, quarterback Brian Villanueva struggled after returning, throwing nine interceptions in his first three games back. Fans should keep their fingers crossed in hopes that Amarillo’s weak defense will help Villanueva continue to regain his form and confidence after last week’s four-touchdown performance. The cheapest seats cost $10, but with contests, giveaways and performances by the Sirens throughout the game, it’s worth spending a bit more to get close to the field for all of the arena action. When sitting field-side, watch for wide receiver Kevin Williams (No. 11) as he works the crowd and dances to hip-hop beats in between plays and puts up big numbers when the clock’s ticking.

ROCK’N KICKBALL CARNIVAL

10 a.m., Interstate Park. $5 donation.

Few subcultures in Little Rock have thrived in the last several years like the kickball community. Last spring, 100 teams competed in three different leagues in the 3-year-old Little Rock Kickball Association. Under the guidance of founder Larry Betz, AKA “The Grand Poobah of All Things Kickball,” or, as he’s mostly known, just plain Poo, LRKA has become not just the default way to spend Sunday afternoons for hundreds, it’s become a vibrant fundraising organization. This weekend’s Rock’n Kickball Carnival hints at Betz’s grand vision for the league. On Friday, LRKA hosts a gala at Next Level Events Center, in the train station, featuring a performance by local pop-rockers the Boondogs, as well as food, drink and a cash bar. Admission is $10. On Saturday and Sunday, 24 teams, split into competitive and non-competitive brackets, will square off in a tournament at Interstate Park. During the action, over the course of both days, 11 different acts will perform — including 607, Epiphany, the 4X4 Crew, Brian Frazier and impressive young rappers Blockade. Also, nearby, a kids’ carnival features an inflatable jumping room, games and prizes. Suggested donation is $5. On Sunday, the event includes a grown-up track-and-field contest, with sack and three-legged races. Like kickball Sundays, the tournament is BYOB. (Beer is often an integral part of kickball.) Proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters and to K.I.C.S. for Kids, a start-up youth kickball league. Also, the weekend is dedicated to the memory of Jeff May, who was one of the founding fathers of LRKA. Betz says he hopes to make this tournament and carnival a nationwide event in the future.

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