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C.J. Ramone, Those Darlins and "My Fair Lady" 

WEDNESDAY 7/20

C.J. RAMONE

8 p.m., Downtown Music Hall. $15 adv., $20 door.

You could make a pretty solid case that The Ramones were one of, if not the, quintessential American rock bands. "Da bruddahs" from Queens rose from working class backgrounds and took the things they loved – buzz saw garage rock, AM bubblegum pop, lowbrow culture and self-aware, misanthropic humor – and wedded it all to some of the catchiest tunes ever written, in the process permanently altering popular music. On July 4, 1976, the band went to England and more or less single-handedly upended the musical order of the motherland. As the band's first manager, Danny Fields, put it in "Please Kill Me," the beyond-essential oral history of punk rock, "On the two-hundredth anniversary of our freedom, we were bringing Great Britain a gift that was forever going to disrupt their sensibilities." It's really hard to believe that 35 years later there's only one founding member still alive – original drummer and later producer Tommy Ramone. That leaves drummers Marky and Richie, and bassist C.J., who replaced Dee Dee in 1989 and is now hitting the club circuit playing Ramones tunes with the band's former producer Daniel Rey. This tour could be seen as a blatant cash-grab, if you want to be all cynical about it. Or you could go to the show and hear a bunch of your favorite songs played by some folks who shared the stage and studio with the founders of one of the greatest bands ever. After all, this is about as close as you're ever going to get to seeing The Ramones. Northwest Arkansas can check out the show Thursday in Fayetteville at George's, 9 p.m., $13.

SEVENDUST

9 p.m. Juanita's. $21 adv., $25 door.

Sevin Dust the gardening product was what my grandma used to spray on her tomatoes to keep the bugs off. Sevendust the musical act is exactly the kind of band you'd expect to be included on 1997's "More Kombat," the "Mortal Kombat" soundtrack sequel. Not the soundtrack to the sequel to a movie about a videogame, the sequel to the soundtrack to a movie about a videogame. (Bonus trivia: the original "Mortal Kombat" soundtrack included "What U See/We All Bleed Red" by none other than Batesville's Mutha's Day Out!) That is to say, Sevendust is firmly a second-tier '90s nu metal act, playing an ever so slightly more accessible version of the mosh-friendly fare of acts like Slipknot and Linkin Park. Call it pop-Korn. But whatever. The band's still going strong, carrying the nu metal banner in 2011. This stuff has a surprisingly durable popularity. While it's not exactly at the top of the charts, nu metal has far outlived its predecessor genres of funk metal, groove metal, rap metal and the little-discussed but nonetheless historically significant salsa metal. Opening the show are Adelita's Way, Seven Day Sonnet and Violence to Vegas.

FRIDAY 7/22

'MY FAIR LADY'

7:30 p.m. Weekend Theater. $16-$20.

It's hard to imagine now, but back in the '50s, when Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe sat down at the piano to create a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion," their task was seen by many to be an impossible goal. That opinion was shared by no less than Rodgers and Hammerstein, who'd already attempted it and given up. But Lerner and Loewe managed to find the music in a play that didn't fill the traditional requirements for a musical, writing timeless numbers such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Wouldn't It Be Loverly." They had an enormous hit in 1956 with "My Fair Lady," helping make Julie Andrews a star along the way. The Weekend Theater's take on the musical runs through Aug. 13, with 7:30 p.m. shows on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 matinees on Sundays.

THOSE DARLINS

9 p.m. Stickyz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.

The latest album by Those Darlins finds these Tennessee gals and guy having abandoned their clogging and Carter Family covers in favor of a Runaways-vs.-the-Ronettes-in-a-switchblade-fight sorta vibe. Nowhere is this more evident than on opener "Screws Get Loose," also the title of their latest album. "Mystic Mind" offers some mildly foreboding garage psych in the vein of The 13th Floor Elevators' more restrained moments, and "Be Your Bro" is an instantly catchy anti come-on with perfectly snarling lead vocals from Jessi Darlin. This change of course didn't come completely out of left field (see "Red Light Love" from 2009's self-titled album), but Those Darlins is a pretty different outfit here in 2011. In recent years, there's been no shortage of bands mining the sounds of girl groups and early rock 'n' roll — Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Best Coast. Those Darlins' version of wall-of-sound retro rock is more straightforward than say, the warped lunacy of Thee Oh Sees, but that's not to diminish it. The band's expanded palate is a good thing, and the album is ear candy in the best sense of the term. Correne Spero, Quin & Dodson and Vanhoose open the show.

POPTART MONKEYS

8 p.m. Peabody Hotel. $5.

Florida's Poptart Monkeys don't go in for subtlety or nuance. The band plays hybrid pop-punk party music, kind of like the lovechild of Sublime and Blink 182 on day five of an MTV Spring Break bender. Check out the band's song "Choke Yourself," which, to be clear, is in no way an endorsement of auto-erotic asphyxiation: "Worried about your brain / just save your mental health / tonight my hands won't work / you'll have to choke yourself." The band's central message: Why don't you just chill out, brah? So check your brain at the door, have a good time and knock back a drink or three while taking in the splendor of the Arkansas River and enjoying one of the city's biggest, most diverse party scenes. Epiphany emcees the good times at the final Peabody Rivertop Party of 2011, so don't miss out.

SATURDAY 7/23

BREAKFAST, BOOKS & BOOZE

Noon. White Water Tavern. Free or $5 after 7 p.m.

On certain rare, blessed occasions, a really wicked hangover is something to be savored. That's not to say it's a condition that feels good, or at least not "good" in the traditional sense of the word. But every once in a while, a rough morning after can leave you with a feeling of damaged grace. The awfulness you committed against your liver and central nervous system causes you to slow down, to be a bit more careful and deliberate, introspective even. What better setting for such a morning than to be surrounded with books, quiet acoustic music, brunch foods and perhaps a Bloody Mary or two to take the edge off things? Now, you don't have to be hungover to come enjoy the sounds of Adam Faucett, Mandy McBryde, Kevin Kerby, No Hickeys and Correne Spero while browsing a wide array of underground literature and books from Mary Chamberlin's Tree of Knowledge distribution and swapping LPs and 45s with DJ and man-with-a-million-records Seth Baldy. But it might augment the occasion. You never know.

ALIEN ANT FARM

9 p.m. Revolution. $11 adv., $15 d.o.s.

If you have an unquenchable thirst for nu metal and managed not to sustain any serious moshing injuries at the Sevendust show, then by all means, don't miss Alien Ant Farm. The Riverside, Calif., band was part of that unrelenting late '90s tide of groups that combined rapping and metal with wearing Adidas gear and having dreadlocks and making a lot of hand gestures and jumping around and feigning some manner of angst-y sensitivity while generally acting like an agro jock. Alien Ant Farm is probably most often remembered for its worldwide smash-hit cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal," which historians will surely someday acknowledge as one of the most disastrous moments of the early '00s. It wasn't as bad as Sept. 11 or anything, but still. MeTalkPretty (not a typo, the words are supposed to be run together like that; we've apparently run out of acceptable things to name a band) opens the show.

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