Jazz still has a place at the Afterthought 

WINDING UP HERE: Mainspring.
  • WINDING UP HERE: Mainspring.

The Afterthought, the club at the corner of Beechwood and Kavanaugh and now under new ownership along with the next-door Beechwood Grill, has expanded its mostly live jazz offerings to include party, soul, rock and blues bands. However, it will continue to play host to the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation’s Monday Jazz Project.

The upcoming show features guitarist Ed Smith on Monday, Jan. 23. Smith has been playing jazz in Central Arkansas for 25-plus years, gigging with local piano greats like Art Porter and Charles Thomas.

Joe Vick will be on bass and Ted Seibs will be on drums for Smith’s show. Cover charge for the 8 p.m. show is $5.

Some of the contemporary acoustic, blues and rock-bluesy acts at the Afterthought on non-jazz nights include Chris DeClerk, Michael Goodrich and his four-piece Parachute Woman, and Big John Miller.

James Thomson, who books the jazz acts at the Afterthought for the Jazz Heritage Foundation, has started up a cool coffee house with weekly shows at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, Mainspring Ensemble — a group led by Matthew and Pamela Murchison — will perform. The group blends world, folk and original music, fusing elements of Celtic, Latin, jazz and classical with inventive instrumentation. Matthew Murchison plays euphonium, Pamela Murchison the flute, Micah Burgess guitar, Ed Owens tuba and Josh Knight the drums.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. in the church’s Thomson Hall, 1818 Reservoir Road. Admission is $10 (tickets are available at Capitol Keyboard, 13401 Chenal Parkway, or by calling James Thomson at 225-2891).

The Mainspring Ensemble will also perform at Giffels Auditorium in Old Main at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20. The show is free; call 479-575-4197. Mainspring will venture to Jonesboro and the Arkansas State University Fine Arts Center on Monday, Jan. 23, for a 7:30 p.m. free show. Call 870-972-3862.

Mainspring wraps up its tour through Arkansas with a free show at Conway at the University of Central Arkansas’s Snow Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25. Call 501-450-5759.

Led by Genine Perez, local R&B group Lagniappe covers artists such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Al Green, the Staple Singers, Irma Thomas, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Lagniappe will appear at the Afterthought on Friday, Jan. 20. Admission to the 8:30 p.m. show, which has been designated a non-smoking event, is $5.

Hardcore/metalcore fanatics have a choice all-day concert starting 12:30 p.m. at Vino’s Brewpub on Saturday, Jan. 21. Bands featured for the “Knuck Fest 2006” tour are Clenched Fist, Blood In Blood Out, That Was Then, Cut the Tension, Under One Flag, Hollywood, Becoming Saints, In the Crosshairs, Fight Like Hell, Expired Young, Haunted Life, Thumbscrew, Silence the Epilogue, Ashes of Augustine, Bats and Knives, Disregard, Reaction, IA Drang Valley and Waco.

Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Vino’s is at Seventh and Chester streets.

Jonesboro’s hard-rock group Further Down will have a new drummer, Brad McLelland, beating the skins for its live shows, starting Friday, Jan. 20, at the West End. Special guest openers will be Nashville-based Pilot’s Lounge. The show starts at 10 p.m. with a $5 cover.

The next day, Further Down will be playing an all-ages show in their hometown at the new Guit-Down Music Emporium, 221 S. Main St. in downtown Jonesboro. The show starts at 9 p.m. The cover is $6.

Congos, drums, lager phones, cowbell, tambourines and shaky sticks are just part of what percussionist Joe Cripps will bring with him to the Press Box as part of Ombudsman, Cripps’ esoteric side project. Ombudsman will start around 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, and the cover is $5. The Press Box is behind UALR on Fair Park.

Cripps has played with such varied acts as Brave Combo, Circo Verde and CeDell Davis.

Also, each Thursday night at the venue, relocated New Orleans singer-songwriter Dino Kruse is hosting a singer/songwriter showcase and contest starting at 8 p.m. The contest winner, to be announced later next month, will receive recording equipment and more. Guest artists include Shannon Boshears and Texas Rikki D. There is no cover charge on Thursdays.

Indie rock straight outta Milwaukee can be found at the White Water Tavern on Thursday, Jan. 19, with The Box Social. The band lists as influences the Clash, Tom Petty and Superdrag. The lineup is Nick Junkunc on guitar, Nick Woods on guitar and “noise,” Adam Melberth on bass and Brian Peoplis on Drums. The loud-ass foursome has just released “Blown to Bits” on indie label No Karma. They’ll start at 10 p.m. The cover charge is $5.

Browningham, Fort Smith native Nathan Brown’s one-man keyboard band, will appear at Easy Street Piano Bar on Saturday, Jan. 21. Brown, an overdosed child of the ’80s, cites as influences the Pointer Sisters, Billy Ocean, Kraftwerk, Yes and Michael McDonald. He’s recently released the CD “Gotta Get It Outta Here” on local indie label Thick Syrup.

The opening act will be Brian Frazier. Admission is $3 for the 8 p.m. show.

Also at Easy Street, every Monday is now “Madame” night, with an open mic and a special showing of “The L Word.” There is no cover charge.

The organizers of the annual Hot Springs indie music Valley of the Vapors festival will have a fund-raiser for the upcoming March event on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Punk and emo bands will perform starting at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at the Skateland Skating Rink, 2156 Higdon Ferry Road (formerly the Pocket Theatre). The headliner will be Chicago-based Fourth Rotor. Also appearing are Richmond Bread Riot (for reportedly its last performance ever), Victorias Victorius Flaxlight and Easter Standard Time.

The $5 general admission price is for all ages. For more information, call 501-282-9056.

It’s official: Coconut Bay, the tropical-themed bar and restaurant in the River Market district, has closed. There is no news about what will happen in what some see as the “cursed” location of that space. How about a hookah or oxygen bar?


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