To-Do, Jan. 28-Feb. 4. 


5 p.m., Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.

The Little Rock Chamber of Commerce is broadening its scope, according to executive vice president Gary Newton. “It used to be that if you located a business in a city, the people would come. Now the model is, you have to have the people in order to attract the business. The future of economic development is about keeping, attracting and growing talent.” Which is where Create Little Rock comes in. With a stated mission “to retain, develop and attract a talented, creative and competitive work force” in Little Rock, the Chamber-sponsored group launches, officially, on Thursday. Actor/filmmaker Ray McKinnon, one of the highest-profile relatively-recent newcomers to Little Rock, will offer a short talk. Epiphany and One Night Stand, g-force, Riverbilly and Velvet Kente will provide music and the first of a series of Create Little Rock's advertising spots, “I Create Little Rock,” will screen. Membership to Create Little Rock is $35 per year for individuals who work for a Chamber-member employer, and $50 for those who don't. LM.

7:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $10- $25.

What an odd, corrupted year it's been for sports. MLB 'roid dealers get more coverage than the mutants who needle-up; Hog fans can't seem to shake the no-good referees from this season's Hogs/Gators game, and it seems the remainder of the Lakers' season depends on Ron Artest's plantar warts. There's really no better time to step back, compose yourself and welcome a sport that needs little more investment of brainpower than what it takes to fire off a loud “ooh wee, that car blowed up good!” Hoot, holler, and fist pump to the simple pleasures of watching heroically loud and garishly-decorated oversized trucks with names like Raminator, Prowler, and — what's sure to be Grandma's favorite — Rammunition, as they pop two-story high wheelies and make big, stinky donuts for your pleasure. Leave your brain, bring your liver. The fun continues on Saturday, too. Same time, place and price. JT.

10 p.m., Pizza D'Action.

It's hard to keep up with Jonathan Wilkins. Not too long ago he was the dude with Sideshow Bob hair manning the door at White Water, opening shows regularly with an acoustic guitar and a punk-folk disposition. Then sometime late in 2008, he recruited the best rhythm section in town — Matt Floyd (bass) and Will Boyd (drums) — and re-styled himself a barroom rocker with a folk foundation. Last year, he and Boyd and Floyd finished second in the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. A year later, improbably, they sound about 50 percent better. They're going by Jonathan Wilkins and the Reparations now (great rock 'n' roll name) and playing with a practiced abandon that's mesmerizing to watch (special props to Will Boyd's wild-eyed drumming). The band's new songs sound less like folk songs made rockin' than full-out burners. People, this is a band ready to blow up. LM.

10:00 p.m., Juanita's, $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

This should be a rare treat. It's not so often that Little Rock gets a full-blown soul-jazz band. That alone warrants a bit of consideration for this show. If the Revelations sound as tight live as they do on the record, which was arranged beautifully by Eddie Kendrick's cohort, Patrick Adams, their show could well be a gig for the books. Williams and the Revelations fill a much-needed vacancy in today's neo-soul field; that is, they operate a super masculine, Kenny Lattimore-type of sound, complete with those time-tested, play-by-play “good guy in a moral and/or sexual quandary struggling to reconcile his own primal desires with his moral standards” lyrics, a la R. Kelly or a libidinal, urban Tolkien. Expect the ladies to be out for Nas collaborator 'Tre Williams and his “testosterone engorged baritone” (soultracks.com's words, not mine). The concert's open to ages 18 and older. JT.


7 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $6-$20.

How's this for starting young? The Arkansas Symphony Preparatory Orchestra features musicians as young as 8. On Saturday, they and some 200 local junior musicians, ranging up to age 18, perform selections from Grice to Beethoven in the ASO's annual youth showcase. The program concludes with a collaboration of the most advanced group, the Youth Orchestra, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The combined groups will play works from Brahms, Copland and Sibelius. LM.

9 p.m., Cornerstone Pub. $10.

Two years ago, another hip-hop showcase might have felt like an overdose, but these days, they're so few and far between, manna in the desert might be more like it. Let's keep our fingers crossed that these local could-bes have been out of public view lately because they've been busy working on being dope, rather than, say, sulking because the A-state doesn't get its due. Local rappers unite: Quit rapping so much about how you're ignored. It's boring. Decidedly not boring — 607. Lately, Little Rock's greatest rapper has been making homemade videos for Facebook, learning to play the cello and working on a more street-geared Ear Fear album. More to watch out for: Rah HoWard, an up-and-coming Lupe Fiasco-style rapper; Big Drew, the north side of the river's most reliable MC; Cat Daddy, the hardest female rapper ever, probably; and Shea Marie, a saucy Grim Muzik-affiliated R&B singer/rapper. Mista Mayhemm, Carteaire Custon and Mike Streezy also feature on the bill. Epiphany hosts. LM.


9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.

Confession: I don't get dudes who play electric guitar. Rather, I don't get Dudes Who Play Electric Guitar. So much of their panache seems so unaware, so self-serving. I'm talking about the gear fetishism, the fine-tuned tone snobbery, the obscene ponytail ratio, the grotesque facial contortions. I'm talking about the race to see who can play the most unnecessary notes in the shortest amount of time. So I have Dudes Who Play Electric Guitar filed in the “I'll never get this” drawer right alongside “improvisational comedy” and “saxophones.” But that's not to say there isn't incredible skill and discipline displayed on stage and on record by self-styled guitar virtuosos like Chris Duarte. After a coming-of-musical-age in 1980s Austin, a mecca for Texas blues-jazz guitar, and receiving Guitar Player's “Best New Talent” award in '95 (not to mention fourth in the magazine's “Best Blues Guitarist” category behind a helluva triumvirate — Clapton, Guy, and King), Duarte's older, wiser and bringing his power trio to Juanita's for a night of, well, electric guitar music. If it's down your alley, then this is a must-see. The Joe Pitts Band opens. JT.


8:30 p.m., Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

Manchester Orchestra worships at the temple of '90s alt-rock. The loud/soft dynamics of the Pixies and Weezer. The swirling guitars and grunge-filtered pop of Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins. The pissed-off brattiness of Isaac Brock and Perry Farrell. All shines through in the Atlanta five-piece's 2009 album, “Mean Everything to Nothing.” Recorded with indie-heavyweight producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, The Raconteurs, My Morning Jacket), the album finds the band inching ever closer to the sort of major commercial success their forebears enjoyed. Hard touring never hurt. The band returns to Little Rock just a little more than four months after supporting the Silversun Pickups at Revolution. Look for a big crowd. Little Rock indie collective Bear Colony and Nashville pop-rockers Harrison Hudson open. LM.


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