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To-do list, July 16 

FRIDAY 7/17

 

SWITCHFOOT

6:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre, $10-$20.

 

The first concert in the Music in the Park's Summer Series features a four-act lineup geared to the faithful. But though Switchfoot is often referred to as a Christian act, mostly due to its debut album's distribution by a Christian label, the band shuns the label. Switchfoot — named after a surfing maneuver — has sold multi-platinum albums since forming in San Diego in 1996 and produced a string of radio hits, including “Dare to Move” and “One Girl Revolution.” Switchfoot's sound has evolved from the predominantly lo-fi, indie rock of early albums to more layered, synth-influenced material that's helped launch it into mainstream popularity. Steering clear of preachiness, Switchfoot lyrics instead question the status quo, probe existential issues and appraise the human condition. Sharing the bill are Christian contemporary rockers and 2009 Grammy nominees Superchick, as well as local performers Kingsdown and Tyler Bass. PP.

 

 

SUMMER EXPLOSION

8:30 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $15 adv.

 

For the first time in years, Juneteenth came and went in Little Rock without a concert showcase of national rap and R&B acts. Though the names might not be quite as big they were in years past (or on the bill slated for Alltel in June that got done in by the economy), Summer Explosion looks to fill the void. Mostly upstarts fill the line-up. South Florida MC Ace Hood was the first to sign to DJ Khaled's We the Best Music. The names of his two albums, “Gutta” and “Ruthless,” serve as good descriptions of the tone of his songs. Detroit's Teairra Marie started out, several years back, with Roc-a-Fella as the “Princess of the Roc.” It didn't take. Now she's with Warner Bros., which is slated to release her new album, featuring the Kanye West-assisted “Diamonds,” later this summer. Dallas's B-Hamp is the man behind the massive dance hit, “Do the Ricky Bobby.” St. Louis native King James II recently graduated cum laude from Jackson State. Now he's riding “The Train,” a dance track that appeals mostly by mimicking a whistle pull. K. Michelle is yet another voluptuous R&B singer who sings about empowerment and heartbreak. Dallas MC Dorrough has made some noise with the singles “Walk that Walk” and “Ice Cream Paint Job.” In sharp contrast to the rest of the line-up, Memphis' 8ball and MJG have been one of the South's most respected acts for the last 15 years. A host of local acts open the show, too. LM.

 

 

WICKED 2

8 p.m., the Village. $10 adv., $15 d.o.s., $20 after 9 p.m.

 

Local dance promoters Cybertribe aim to fill the voluminous Village like few, if any, have before. From 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., they've got nearly 20 DJs slated for two areas, in the pit near the stage and in the lobby. The Bay Area's Propa Tingz is probably the biggest name. He's a UK émigré whose official bio claims that he is “widely acknowledged as the pioneer of Glitch Step.” I'm not sure anything in arcane DJ culture is “widely acknowledged,” but Tingz' description, on paper and through speakers, sounds pretty good — a geographical “sound clash” of Bay Area hyphy, Dirty South Crunk, UK Bass and the latest in Glitch, music built around what we think of as the sounds of digital error (clicks, scratches and glitches). A good number of local DJs also fit in the bill, including the rising DJ/producer trio Deviant Soundsystem, Conway party starter Wolf-E-Wolf and Cool Shoes co-founder Shawn Lee. Get the full line-up and schedule at myspace.com/cybertribe.

 

 

DIRTFOOT

10 p.m., Maxine's, $5.

 

Swill some whiskey on the front porch out on the countryside with a carefree, jubilant hippie girl twirling her dress in the front yard after burning some hand-rolled tubes, and you're on your way to the vibe this Shreveport, La., group should create down in Spa City. Heavily laced with percussive toys, subtle flavors of punk and grumble-country, funky hooks, horns, witty storytelling and an overall sound designed to shake moneymakers, this six-piece has discovered the rare formula that appeals to both the festival and intimate pub crowds. With acoustic instruments pumping out energy and ingenuity that you'd swear was electric, from upright bass, banjo, pots, pans and bells, the end result is a sexy, festive gumbo. Something about the way they grow musicians down in Louisiana continues to impress, and if you don't want to wait until October to see them in action again in Arkansas along with newfound Wakarusa mates Damn Bullets, draw straws for a designated driver and treat yourself to some voodoo lunacy. PP

 

 

SATURDAY 7/18

 

MAZE FEATURING FRANKIE BEVERLY

9 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $42-$85.

 

Let's consider three musicians influential in the development of Frankie Beverly. First, Frankie Lymon, from whom Beverly, born Howard Beverly, borrowed a name. It was Lymon's talent, too, that, apparently, made Beverly recognize he wanted to perform gospel music. Down the road, after Beverly recorded for more than a decade with the Butlers, a soul group that attracted little attention beyond its hometown Philadelphia, he broke away to form his own band, much like his Philly contemporary Daryl Hall, who split from a vocal group to front Hall and Oates. Who knows if Hall's later Yacht Rock inspired Beverly to create his own mid-tempo, cheeseball synth-filled Yacht jams? Last but not least: Marvin Gaye, whose buttery vocals and socially conscious lyrics provided a template for Beverly. Perhaps equally important was Gaye's direct help to Beverly and his new group Raw Soul. Gaye helped the group land a record deal on Capitol and suggested a name change. The rest, as they say, is history. Frankie Beverly and Maze became one of the most beloved R&B acts of the late '70s and '80s. The nostalgic will be out thick on Saturday night to see if they've still got it. LM.

 

 

HOT DAMN!

9 p.m., the Village. $5.

 

Max Farrell, the 19-year-old MC who fronts the live hip-hop band Apples and Spades, is fond of framing his young career in politically expansive terms. Last year, he named his solo debut “The Rise of Maxxism,” and he coined his move last fall to Grinnell College in Iowa as the “Grand Expansion.” The group's new EP, “State of Things,” finds Farrell offering an interior look at Maxxism, which is to say, his lyrics often come across like diary entries. As in most diaries, some of the material is trite, but there's plenty of surprising wordplay, insight and smart instrumentation to keep you bobbing along. In only a handful of performances, the band's already developed a knack for stirring up a crowd. Also on the bill: one of Farrell's mentors, 607, who's lately been laying low learning to play the violin. Local rappers Mike Streezy and Playalaid share the bill. DJ Shawn Lee mans the turntables. There'll be prizes given to those wearing the best Hawaiian shirts. LM.

 

 

CORY BRANAN AND

JON SNODGRASS

9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $7.

 

The names should be familiar to the White Water faithful. Branan, from Memphis and then Fayetteville and now Austin, is a much-heralded singer/songwriter with a slightly bar-scratched voice (fittingly, he and Ben Nichols are friends and sometimes collaborators). He's toured prolifically, but recorded almost sparingly — just two full-lengths since 2002. Snodgrass plays in the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Drag the River, an alt-country juggernaut made up of several punk rock veterans. For more than a decade, the band's recorded and toured prolifically, occasionally with Nichols and Lucero. Now, Branan and Snodgrass have collaborated on a new split seven-song LP, with each backing the other up in turn. Branan offers three originals, including “The Corner,” while Snodgrass covers two Thin Lizzy tunes and lends two of his own compositions, too. Look for the pair to have limited edition vinyl and cassette. Both come with download coupons. Catch 'em the night before in Fayetteville at George's, too. LM.   

 

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