- ALLSUP GETS DOWN: At White Water.
As November begins and we welcome the full effect of fall, it’s the nicest time to be wandering around nights searching out not only the invigoration of crisp autumn air, but also the sound of Little Rock’s best music. And where would that be? Somewhere in the realm of subjectivity, I would assume, but here’s a rundown of your options:
Country singer Austin Allsup performs Saturday at the White Water Tavern. Austin is the son of famed Crickets guitarist Tommy Allsup, who started out his musical career with the Oklahoma Swingbillies. While recording with them he met Buddy Holly, who asked him to join Waylon Jennings and Carl Bunch in Holly’s backup band.
Sadly, this success was all too brief due to Holly’s death in 1959. Tommy Allsup survived the Iowa plane crash in February 1959 literally because of the toss of a coin. He lost his seat on the plane to Ritchie Valens, who died along with Holly and the Big Bopper.
Austin Allsup began learning the guitar from his dad at age 17, and three years later he formed an acoustic band with Mike McClure. His first album, “Intensity” (produced by McClure), is mainly country with a pinch of rock.
Also at White Water: The Dark Romantics will play on Tuesday. They performed recently at Vino’s Brewpub, obviously well enough to warrant a return. They’re not too shabby to look at, and they describe their music as “darker, sexier jams with just enough blues and twang to make you get up to get down.”
Juanita’s has Florida-based semi-hardcore pop-rockers Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on Thursday (Nov. 2). All the band members are around age 21 and are prime TRL fodder.
They formed the band in 2003 and struggled early for recognition from a label. After several lineup changes they found that perfect radio-friendly sound and hit the big time with Virgin Records.
On Monday at Juanita’s it’s Umbrellas. Formed last year by Scott Windsor, the band recorded its second album, “Illuminare,” during tornado warnings in an old comedy club in Tulsa. They nearly lost the building, and one of the band members had his car stolen, but they persevered, and the newest album’s sound is lush new wave. The album has also had criticism about the acoustical reverb being overwhelming due to the structure of the space where the band recorded, but fans of Coldplay, Depeche Mode or Lovedrug probably won’t be concerned with the technicalities.
On Wednesday, Texas rock super group the Burden Brothers play Juanita’s. Composed of former Toadies vocalist Vaden Todd Lewis and former Reverend Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley, the duo is Southern Goth classic rock (kind of like Led Zeppelin with eyeliner) that doesn’t fit perfectly into its mold. The Burden Brothers’ newest album, “Mercy,” which was released on Halloween, keeps the heavy drums and wailing guitar riffs coming but throws in misleading elements such as the opening melodramatic incantation and the acoustic, vocal-free “Mercy.” Their inscrutability may be their most memorable quality.
Speaking of Zeppelin, check out cover band Let’s Zeppelin at the Revolution Room on Friday, Nov. 3. At the Rev Room on Tuesday, Nov. 7, it’s Russian surf rockers the Red Elvises. Formed by Russian political refugees Igor Yuzov and Oleg Bernov, the band combines Russian folk elements with classic rockabilly (and of course Elvis) influences. No doubt influences behind more recent bands like Gogol Bordello, their style is as danceable as it is ridiculous. For those of you excited about Borat, this is the band to catch.
On Saturday at the Rev Room, LittleRockScene.com will be holding a show featuring various Arkansas bands, including Anxiety (Conway rockers with a Kings of Leon vibe), well-suited alt-pop rock from Gazer (with new album in tow) and hardcore Chasing the Fall, a melting pot of various local bands.
Also this week: Starkz, the Fort Smith heavy modern-rock band that has relocated to Little Rock under the management of Butch Stone, will headline a show with Brash on Friday, Nov. 3, at Juanita’s at 10 p.m. It’s the first Starkz show around here in several weeks, and Stone says the band is “closer than ever” to signing a major record deal; Atlantic has had the band under a development contract for a couple of years. The band also dropped a member and is now a four-piece … The “Take It Back Tour” featuring If Hope Dies, Versus the Mirror, the Human Abstract and Oh Sleeper, hits Vino’s on Monday … Roots rock with Bonepony of Nashville at Sticky Fingerz on Wednesday, and blues jams and acoustic songs with Mama’s Cooking and local guitarist Chris Henry on Thursday ... On Saturday at Sticky’s catch former members of Jackass, Ryan Dunn and (Chris) Raab Himself, in their band Rusty Lemon.