Lex Porter, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit and Frown Pow'r 


7 p.m. Porter's Jazz Cafe. Free.

Here's a great way to kick off the holiday season as well as a chance to witness the continuation of a musical legacy. Lexington "Lex" Porter, the grandson of Art Porter Sr. and the nephew of Art Porter Jr., the two Little Rock jazz legends, is a senior at North East School of Arts in San Antonio, and he began playing violin in third grade. He's been a member of the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio since 2005, and in June 2010, he traveled to China to play with the YOSA Philharmonic, performing in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and several other cities. Though there is no cover charge, donations will be accepted to benefit the Art Porter Music Education Inc. Scholarship. There's an early-bird special at 5 p.m. with complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drink specials. Lex will perform with a variety of local musicians.

8:30 p.m. Revolution. $5 for ages 21 and up, $8 under 21.

This young quartet out of McAllen, Texas, takes the tenor of what one might call, for lack of a better term, "emo," and weds it to the discordant din of the post-punk revivalists of the early aughts. That means lots of tight, syncopated beats, thumping bass and jagged wedges of angular guitar reminiscent of the spikier moments of Les Savy Fav. The band's on tour for its debut full-length, "Errorrs." While a lot of the record hews pretty close to The Rapture's '01-'04 playbook, The Young Maths sound more convincing and less contrived than their once-buzzed-about predecessor. The title song on "Errorrs" veers into some PiL-type weirdness there for a sec, and the album's last one, "Practicing Invisibility," features some interestingly repetitive pluckin' and strummin' on the acoustic guit-box, amid booming synth drums and swaths of squelchy feedback. The opening acts at this all-ages show are Vitamin Overdose and Mainland Divide.

FRIDAY 11/25

1:30 p.m. LSU Tiger Stadium. $50.

With the death of Arkansas tight end and Little Rock native Garrett Uekman, this game will no doubt be freighted with even more significance for the Razorbacks, who tragically lost a friend and teammate last Sunday. As the team members mourn, they also prep for the biggest game of the year in hostile territory. Already, there was a lot riding on this year's Arkansas-LSU game. Not to get too worked up, but if Arkansas wins (and especially if Alabama loses on Saturday against Auburn), the Razorbacks could be headed to the BCS Championship Game. Or to translate that into stiff sportscaster lingo, this is a game with divisional, conference and national implications. Now, the inner workings of the BCS are widely considered arbitrary and capricious, and it's entirely possible that, no matter what happens Friday, the Hogs will end up in Orlando or even Dallas come January. But however that shakes out, Arkansas-LSU is an exciting match-up every year, even if the rivalry is a newer one compared to some of the other age-old annual SEC grudge matches. But it will only get better with each passing year, and with new addition Missouri slated to play in the SEC East, there's no danger of "The Battle for the Golden Boot" ever mutating into "The Cluster%&¢! for the Golden Hip-Wader." Anyways, WPS! The game is on CBS.

FRIDAY 11/25

9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.

You probably already know the story with Mulehead: 'long about the late '90s, Kevin Kerby, the poet-philosopher and chronicler of youthful languor, departs Ho-Hum, one of the best and best-loved bands to come out of Little Rock in the last 20 years. Along with rock yeomen Dave Raymond, Brent LaBeau and Geoff Curran, Kerby starts Mulehead, which, with a bit of luck, a lot of talent and (probably) a not insignificant amount of JB Weld, proves to be another one of the best and best-loved bands to come out of Little Rock in the last 20 years. Mulehead proceeds to cut several albums' worth of superb country rock 'n' roll as good as nearly any by its peers (and a damn sight better than most). Our heroes record their third album, "Finer Thing," and then break up just afterward. Then a few years later, they get back together and start playing the odd show here and there, which is excellent. The opening act is the venerable Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth.

FRIDAY 11/25

8 p.m. Maxine's. $5 adv., $7 door.

This quartet got started bashing around in a garage down in Arkamadelphia before moving on over to rampage in the Capital City. The band cut "Don't Doubt It, Shout It!" for Thick Syrup Records, an album that will satisfy that burning question that many people (well, maybe just me) have been pondering: What might it sound like if the Sic Alps had been from Memphis? That is to say, Frown Pow'r plays messy roots-psych-pop with enough WTF?-ness to keep your ears on their toes. At 2:40, "Keep the Bores at Bay" is a tasty little jangle-pop petit four that would work wonders on a mix tape sandwiched in between, say, The Byrds and The Soft Boys. Or Missing Foundation and Dagmar Krause. Who knows? Get crazy. Also playing are Little Rock acts Bloodless Cooties and Ezra Lbs. The former is a long-running outfit that shoves all your fave garage rock classics through a blender made out of squealing feedback and broken glass, while the latter band traffics in rock that could loosely be described as Pavement-esque, with hints of Mascis-ian guitar loudness.


12:30 a.m. Midtown. $5.

Here's a performer that seems custom-made to be a perfect fit for the wee hours at Midtown. Eric Sommer's tunes range from rangy slide blues instrumentals to acoustic Kottke-like fingerpicking workouts to songs that recall those quiet, golden gems that Neil Young was absolutely nailing from 1968-1972 and has pretty much owned ever since. Sommer cut his teeth playing in a power-pop trio at punk dives in Boston before focusing on a solo career that keeps him on the road for 250 or more shows a year. He's played Little Rock several times, so perhaps you caught one of his shows at White Water or Vino's. If not, here's your chance to catch an excellent guitar player and certified road warrior.


9 p.m. Revolution. $12 adv., $14 d.o.s.

Ever since departing the Drive-By Truckers back in '07, singer, guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell has wasted exactly no time in getting his solo career going. Since departing the band, Isbell's notched three studio albums as well as a live one, and they've all been well received. With his backing band The 400 Unit, Isbell's tunes still swing, but they've got more of a soulful country vibe in contrast to the Truckers' bruising, gritty sound. Isbell's latest, "Here We Rest," starts off with "Alabama Pines," a wistful ode to his homeland, and it ends with "Tour of Duty," a soldier's sigh-of-relief in the form of a homecoming song, replete with smartly drawn observations on all the comforts of home from someone who knows what it is to yearn for them from thousands of miles away. In between, Isbell examines the lives of various weary and heartbroken souls doing their best to get by in a world that has changed and is changing faster all the time. That might sound like a downer, but the record is anything but. Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass is a great choice for an opening act at this 18-and-older show.




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