The To-Do List, Sept. 2, 2010 


7 p.m., Downtown Music. $12.

Meet my housemate, Ethan. Ethan is a happy soul, a wildly intelligent, 6'4" Boston native studying law at UALR. Ethan loves bicycles, debating copyright law, photography and this stuff friends call "bean muck," a muddy, grayish protein-bomb of boiled black beans and spice. More than all this, Ethan loves hardcore punk from his native Massachusetts, especially Bane. At least once a week, you can find Ethan, all high on bean muck, fistpumping by himself in the living room to his Bane 7"s. Ethan tells me the act is legendary in hardcore, thanks to the anthemic and defiantly positive voice they embody in a sea of angry punks. The other day, Ethan played me a few songs by the legends of the genre, like "Superhero," a straight-edged praise for people who quit smoking, and "Swan Song," a chunking shout-along specially made for live shows. Ethan was happy I liked the music as much as I did. Ethan also assures me that Bane fans are many. And passionate. And nice guys who refuse to hurt people at punk shows. Just like Ethan himself. From what Ethan told me, this should be a great show and a rare treat for hardcore fans in Arkansas. Take it from Ethan, our friendly neighborhood expert on all things hardcore: This is a must-do for punk aficionados. Bane is joined by tour mates Trapped Under Ice, Cruel Hand and Alpha and Omega. JT

6 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. $30 adv., $40 d.o.e.

I bet Alexander Millar isn't too happy with his state right now. The turn-of-the-century Methodist minister and former Hendrix College president was the state's leading advocate for prohibition and organizer of the Anti-Saloon League during his fun-hating time as Arkansas's hall monitor. We can credit Phil Brandon and his Rock Town Distillery for Dr. Millar's latest post-mortem disappointment (perhaps somewhere near having a great-great-grandson who writes about debauchery for a living). Brandon has opened the state's first legal distillery, specializing in small-batch, premium spirits forged from Arkansas water and grains. And after months of maturing in the distillery's 250-gallon copper still, they're ready to debut the latest addition to Little Rock's alcoholic offerings with an open bar of the small-batch, hand-labeled liquors at the Arkansas Arts Center. The entry fee covers hors d'ouevres, too. JT

8 p.m., Juanita's. $8.

This "Bottle Rocket"-referencing outfit of melodic soundscapers hails from McAllen, Texas. The group sounds like a lot of other ambitious Texas bands, but it's set apart, consciously or not, by coming from one of the hottest — no, one of the most scorching — places in America, situated five minutes away from the Mexican border and, until recently, snow-free for over a century. See, if fellow orchestral rockers Arcade Fire evoke Canadian snow and bluster, Dignan tries for the sound of expansive heat and blisters. It's a reverbed, harmonic type of noise, full of simple dynamism and choral tones ready to lay some ethereal loftiness in suburban familiarity. And with a touring schedule that keeps the four-piece nurturing its sound while on the road throughout half the year, you can expect a show tighter than a two-day-old sunburn. They're joined by electric folk tour mates Farewell Flight (watch out for their killer cover of "Streets of Philadelphia"), local harmonic power-poppers Whale Fire and long-time bedroom rockers Bear Colony. JT


9:30 p.m. Sticky Fingerz. $5.

International mega-fame, late-night booty calls from supermodels, sold-out stadiums and a complimentary U-Haul filled to the brim with enough top-of-the-line drugs to make Lil' Wayne look like Wayne Newton. These are, of course, a few minor advantages of winning the annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. However, the most prestigious and sought-after perk is a signature cocktail at Sticky Fingerz, named after the victor. This year, Brother Andy, Bad Chad and Johnny D. — three guys who know their way around a liquor store — are unveiling the bar's new feature. What could it be? A Killians/Hot Damn/sloe gin thing called Andy's Big Red Beer-d? Warr-Steiner? Brother Andy and His Big Damn Shot of Gin? Tune in this Friday at Stickys for the thrilling conclusion. William Blackart, Adam Faucett's partner-in-crime and one of the most criminally underexposed singer-songwriters in the state, opens the show alongside the rough-shod country of J.R. Top and local garage-country trio Jonathan Wilkins & The Reparations. JT


9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10

One part Tod Browning, one part Tom Waits and a healthy dollop of Steve-O — that's Hellzapoppin', the world's largest (and likely most famed) sideshow revue. The traveling troupe of walking oddities is led by Zamora, The Torture King, a 20-year vet of the gross-out industry and "Ripley's"-featured master of mind-over-matter known for sending kebab-like skewers through his arms, face and chest, not to mention supporting his entire body weight on the tip of a sword. He's joined by contortionist Viola LaLa Mia, emcee, song and dance man Bryce "The Govna" Graves and Chelsea NoPants, who — gentlemen, gird your loins — can swallow a pool stick. Local songstress Jessica Carder and metal overlords Iron Tongue open the show. JT

7:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $35-$75

Riverfest Amphitheatre hosts a triptych of '90s R&B stars on Saturday, the latest course served up to satiate Little Rock's bottomless appetite for throwback bump 'n' grind acts. New Jack swinger Keith Sweat has been a fixture on the R&B charts with 15 platinum albums on his wall and a handful of instantly-recognizable tracks like 1996's "Twisted," the old-school mega-hit, "I Want Her," and his paean to eternal love (and doin' it) which provides the tour its name, "Make it Last Forever." He's joined by Montell Jordan, the brain behind the Slick Rick-ribbing, timeless party-starter, "This Is How We Do It," and Next, the Minneapolis one-hit wonders who were responsible for keeping their big hit, "Too Close," in everyone's ears during the spring of 1998. JT


4 p.m., War Memorial Stadium. $10.

This weekend, War Memorial plays home to Bootfest 2010, an annual fund-raiser to benefit the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The cause: an enormous, bronze-tinted statue of three firemen to be placed in front of the state Capitol that, as of June 28, was 95 percent paid for. This year, the organization offers up a bill of six performers, headlined by John Conlee, the late-'70s, early '80s country star. Also on the ticket: Matt Huff, the local singer-songwriter; SpinRad, a jam band out of Mountain Home; the electric country-rock of Cliff Hudson, Southern-fried bar-rockers Riverbilly and the 17-year-old Luke Williams. JT


8 p.m., Cornerstone Pub. $5-$10. 

It's been so long since we last heard from Arkansas's answer to the Wu-Tang Clan that there are probably young hip-hop heads out there who don't know the response to the call "Who Do's It?" It's GRIM Muzik, of course, Little Rock's largest rap clique. When GRIM last released a mixtape (2007's "Who Do's It? The Mixtape Vol. 3"), it counted 16 rappers and five in-house producers among its ranks. That number may've swelled since then, but you can always bank on one constant. Everyone forms like Voltron around co-CEO Kevin "YK" Mitchell, the group's most visible producer. Historically, his style has been a sort of Southern brand of G-funk, heavy on bleeping synthesizers and Moog effects. I haven't gotten a chance to preview "Who Do's It? Volume 4," but if the cover — a collage that merges together a "WILL WORK FOR FOOD" sign, a grisly photo of a bombed-out slum and the American flag — is any indication, GRIM might be bringing politics to the streets. Regardless, the clique gathers for a concert once every blue moon. And always brings friends. This time, they include Arkansas Bo, Bobby, Dirtbag, Frank Neeno, Ice Smilez, Jay Jamerson, Platinum Black and more. Don't miss out. LM.

Various locations.

With a No. 17 AP ranking, Big Tex Mallett readying to tack a truck-load of Ws to our long-suffering record, and Coach "BMFP" refusing to end another season as a mere SEC spoiler, Razorback fans have plenty to be excited about for this, the most promising year for Arkansas football in recent memory. And to celebrate, RazorRock, the six-day pep-rally, beginning on Labor Day and leading up to our slaughter of the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at War Memorial Stadium next Saturday. The highlights include Monday's RazorRock Relay, a bike race in and around Riverfront Park that involves cycling and Razorback trivia; the same night's RazorRock Foodie Festival at Dickey-Stephens, featuring food from a number of Argenta restaurants; Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame luncheons and workshops; and, the night before the Hogs kick-off Saturday, Oxford American's "A Night of Arkansas Music," featuring tunes from brilliant local songcraft Jim Mize, the throwback country twist of The Salty Dogs and the legendary True Soul Revue, who provided the "bass and brass" sound behind True Soul Records. See our calendar or visit littlerockchamberweb.com/razorrock for more information. Woo, pigs! JT


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