RON ROBINSON THEATER OPENING EVENTS
Various times. Ron Robinson Theater.
The Central Arkansas Library System's newly opened Ron Robinson Theater caps off a streak of great and diverse opening-week programming this weekend, beginning Thursday at noon with a lecture on the Arcade Building from a "Graphic Designer's Perspective," courtesy of UALR Art Department Chair Tom Clifton, archivist Shannon Lausch and Joe Swaty. Then, at 5:30 p.m., there's a dance performance by Emily Karnes and Anthony Bryant, with choreography by aptly-named UALR Artist-in-Residence Rhythm McCarthy. Finally, at 7:30 p.m., screenwriter and former Times columnist Graham Gordy will be on hand for a screening of Ray McKinnon's Sundance Channel series "Rectify." Gordy served on the writing staff of the show and will talk about it and "Quarry," a TV series he co-created for Cinemax. Come back on Saturday for a screening of the John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix firefighter epic "Ladder 49," presented by director Jay Russell, a Little Rock native who also helmed movies like "My Dog Skip" and the 1987 cult film "End of the Line" (featuring Kevin Bacon and Levon Helm). WS
LET IT BLEED: A BENEFIT FOR KABF 88.3 FM
9 p.m., White Water. Minimum donation $5.
"Let it Bleed" was the last Rolling Stones album of the 1960s, released the day before their infamous concert at the Altamont Speedway and featuring the final contributions of Brian Jones, who managed an autoharp part and some back-up congas before being dropped from the band for a drug problem (no small feat in this crowd) and dying a few weeks later. Bookended by perennial Baby Boomer nostalgia-anthems "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want," it seems like the kind of inarguably "classic" rock album that couldn't possibly fail as tribute concert material. Participating artists include Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Greg Spradlin, Big Silver, and many others. All proceeds go to the local community radio station KABF 88.3 FM, the self-proclaimed but unchallenged "Voice of the People." WS
FRIDAY 1/24-SATURDAY 1/25
AMASA HINES RECORD RELEASE
10 p.m., White Water Tavern.
This is a long time coming. Velvet Kente came out of nowhere in 2009 to become Little Rock's favorite band. Then a year or so later, lead singer/guitarist Joshua — the owner of one of the most powerful and dexterous voices heard in Arkansas in years — joined with another group of veteran musicians to form Amasa Hines, and whichever of the two was playing next became Little Rock's favorite band. All along there's been talk of recording, with only one single from Amasa Hines finding its way to the public. Two years later, Amasa Hines' nine-song debut album, "All The World There Is," is here. Whatever the band's been up to in the studio all these years, it shows. The album is gorgeous, a tour de force of contemplative, Ethio-jazz-flecked, soul-shouting, space rock. Or something like that. Most songs feel like anthems, but controlled — nearly all the tracks clock in around 4 minutes. Joshua, singing earnestly of faith, love and identity, sounds as dynamic as he can live. Norman Williamson's beautiful sax work puts a dreamy haze on everything. The guitar interplay between Joshua and local ace Judson Spillyards is seductively understated. In sum, it's a damn fine record that's bound to get attention beyond Arkansas. Even if you've sworn off buying CDs like me, this is one you'll want to pick up at one of the band's two nights of celebrating its album release. Or hold out for the vinyl, coming in the near future. Either way, consider this a must-do/must-buy. Isaac Alexander and Adam Faucett open the Friday night show. LM
8 p.m., Revolution. $8.
North Little Rock doom metal stalwarts Rwake got their band name when frontman Chris Terry tried pronouncing the word "wake" (their former name, back in their late-'90s early days) on drugs. "It was like primordial man," as Terry told the Times of the renaming back in 2010, and it's hard to imagine a better way to sum up their sound, which is all mind-bending dirges and gothic, blood-and-thunder theatrics. Their last full-length was 2011's well-received "Rest," though last year saw the release of their concert movie head-trip, "A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door" (a name they nabbed from Thomas Wolfe, also probably while on drugs). Their music mostly pulverizes; it hurts, though "Rest" is punctuated by moments of menacing serenity and subtlety. It's a brand of bleak, Deep South masochism that you either intuitively understand or you don't. Those of you that do should come to Revolution Friday night, where Rwake will headline alongside a solid collection of local thrash and stoner metal acts, including Sumokem and Enchiridion. WS
FRIDAY 1/24 – SATURDAY 1/25
6:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $20 adults, $5 kids.
Maybe you're the type of reader who isn't looking for live music or lectures or film screenings. Maybe you think these things are dull, disappointing, even lightweight entertainment-wise. Maybe you're right. The Verizon Arena hasn't forgotten you, fortunately. Here, for two consecutive nights this weekend, you will find ramps, giant trophies, gratuitous pyrotechnics, and all of your favorite monster trucks: Hotsy, Rap Attack, XXX, Robo Machine, Incinerator, and, of course, Fatal Attraction. I have seen pictures of these trucks. They are very big. The sport — which I have now learned evolved out of the late 1960s mud-bogging and tractor-pulling subcultures, came of age in the 1980s, and achieved transcendence with the iconic Grave Digger truck (conceived by one Dennis "The Man" Anderson) — offers vigorous, next-level entertainment. Rest assured, there will be an autograph signing after the show. WS
TURQUOISE JEEP RECORDS, YIP DECEIVER
9 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv.
Turquoise Jeep Records is the YouTube-famous novelty hip-hop collective known for absurdist club rap anthems like "Lemme Smang It," "Taste You Like Yogurt," and "Naughty Farmer." Their videos, handmade and ambitiously out-there in a "Tim & Eric" sort of way (think two-dimensional, pastel-colored underwater and outer-space scenes), are either hideous or hilarious depending on how funny you find the idea of song called "Naughty Farmer." The stable includes rappers Flynt Flossy, Yung Humma, Whatchyamcallit, Pretty Raheem, and a few others, who, in addition to the videos, collaborated on the 2013 album "Existing Musical Beings." This Saturday, they'll share a bill at Revolution with Yip Deceiver, the dance-pop side hustle of Davey Pierce and Nicolas Dobbratz (of Of Montreal out of Athens, Ga.), which sounds like Of Montreal minus the goofy prog surrealism. WS
9 p.m., Town Pump. $3.
When we last saw Michael Chavez, he was playing last year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase under the name Miles Rattz. Since then, he's changed his name to Mildriot and finished an album, "Fought Songs," which is due for release in February via Sister 9 Recordings, which is apparently somewhere in the UK (their website hypes him as their "first US-based artist"). The songs are endearingly unpolished and dizzy and simple — home recordings that seem rooted in the hushed and insular late '90s and early-aughts indie rock of bands like Grandaddy and the Unicorns. WS
9 p.m., White Water.
Led by Ryan Rousseau, a former bandmate of the late Jay Reatard's, Destruction Unit is a low-end-heavy psychedelic rock band that claims to be from the Sonoran Desert, which probably means Phoenix, Arizona, but either way sounds impressively rustic and full of mystery. I pictured robed, nomadic tribesmen wielding Stratocasters, like those Tuareg rebels who play droning electric blues atop sand dunes in the Sahara. This is pretty far from the truth, but also basically faithful to the spirit of the endeavor: They are steeped in the myth-making aspects of the space-rock tradition, with enigmatic album covers and walls of whirring feedback. This is altered-states garage rock, with song titles like "Druglore," "Smoke Dreams," and "The World on Drugs." Their recordings are loud and messy, and their live shows have a reputation for being much louder and messier than their recordings. They'll be at White Water on Monday with R.I.O.T.S. WS