DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR.
8 p.m. Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. plays buzzy indie pop of the post Animal Collective/MGMT species. Think layers of bright twinkling sounds, wistful melodies, clean guitar, ethereal Casio drones, echoing synthetic percussion and reedy, upper middle-class harmonies. All of these elements abound on the group's highly pleasant-sounding 2011 full-length, "It's a Corporate World." It sure is fellas. I read that these guys sent a note to Dale Earnhardt Jr. to let him know they weren't making funny on his name. Supposedly he's cool with it and digs their music, according to DEJJ's Josh Epstein. That's good news because a few years back, someone (not me) dressed up for Halloween as Dale Earnhardt Sr. (after the crash) and went out to the bar, and people got seriously, hair's-breadth-from-a-physical-altercation-level angry about it. You've got to be cautious with your NASCAR joking. Opening up this show are The Tricks and Whale Fire.
WINTHROP ROCKEFELLER INSTITUTE FILM FORUM
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute at Petit Jean. $35-$750.
Here's something for the devoted film geeks, who thankfully make up a growing number of us in Central Arkansas. This forum includes a variety of panels and workshops with actors Robert Walden ("Happily Divorced"), Lea Thompson ("Back to the Future"), acting coach and teacher Sandra Seacat, director and teacher Joan Darling ("M*A*S*H*), Craig Renaud (Little Rock Film Festival founder), director Howard Deutch ("Pretty in Pink," "Some Kind of Wonderful") producer Fred Roos ("The Godfather Part II," "Apocalypse Now") and many more, including some surprise guests. The forum runs from March 8-11, and for my money, you really couldn't ask for a better setting.
BOBBY BARE JR.
9 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.
Bobby Bare Jr. has been at this music thing for a minute. He had his first Grammy nod at age 8 back in '74 for a duet with his father, the legendary country performer. Their version of the Shel Silverstein number "Daddy What If," was a huge success, reaching No. 2 on the country charts. Bare has released several albums for, among others, Bloodshot Records. His tunes straddle Nashville — where he was born and raised — and the wider world of rock 'n' roll. How many other Music City natives can cover The Smiths or The Pixies and make it sound so natural? But even with such a pedigree, Bare seems like a very down-to-earth dude. Looking around on his website, it would appear that he is a most game and good-natured performer. You can get him to play a small concert at your house, and you can — for a minor remuneration — be an executive producer on his next album. Now, you will probably be an executive producer only in a very "loose" sense, and your suggestions will likely be considered only in a very "whatever" kinda manner, but still: You'll get your name on that thing. Opening up this show are The Goodtime Ramblers and First Baptist Chemical, which is Rod Bryan's new band.
JIMBO MATHUS AND THE TRI-STATE COALITION
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
The Mississippi Renaissance man Jimbo Mathus writes and performs the type of tunes that have been described as "catfish music for the masses." Now as you can probably imagine, the Arkansas Times is going to be into something like that. We're pretty populist, we love catfish (we've got one as our mascot) and we dig music. Add it all up and it does indeed sound something like Mathus: It's familiar, Southern, steeped in tradition yet beholden to no one. An aside: Do you think Mathus has ever been to The Lassis Inn? If not, one of ya'll should take him there. I'm being serious now. I know Mississippi's got some good catfish over there, but Lassis is undeniable. If you can't find anyone else to take him to get lunch there, I'll go. I've got my own car. I'm at: 501-375-2985. Ask for "Robert."
BALLET ARKANSAS: BEYOND CATEGORY
8 p.m. Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. $20-$25.
This eclectic concert from Ballet Arkansas melds classical, contemporary and modern dance and highlights Michael Bearden, principal dancer from Ballet West in Salt Lake City. Bearden returns to Little Rock fresh off a five-week engagement in Scotland. The show includes choreography by Michelle Jarvis, Bud Kerwin, Keisha Ilama-White and Leslie Schickel, whose world premiere dance, "Delta, Push Up Open," is a ballet based on the history of the Delta Blues. Performances are at 8 p.m. March 9-10 and at 2 p.m. March 11.
CORROSSION OF CONFORMITY
6:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $15 adv., $18 d.o.s.
It's so good — and sadly, so rare — when a legendary band gets back together and actually creates something vital. I can think of a few instances, but for every Wire (specifically the '00s reunion) or Mission of Burma, it seems that there are a dozen that are mediocre (The Police), pointless (Spice Girls, The Sex Pistols) or so obviously just about the money that it's kind of a bummer (Pixies). I'm happy to report that the mighty Corrosion of Conformity can be placed firmly among the few truly worthwhile reunions of recent years. The band's new self-titled album marks the return of the original founding trio of Mike Dean, Reed Mullin and Woody Weatherman. The band hasn't abandoned the Southern metal groove of the 1990s Pepper Keenan-era lineup, but they've brought back the bruisin' 'n contusin' thrash chops of their '80s crossover classics "Animosity" and "Technocracy." Check out "El Lamento de Las Cabras," an instrumental that sounds like Earth if they decided to focus and rein in the wandering tendencies just a bit. "The Doom" swings between Pentagram-like riff worship and galloping hardcore, while "The Moneychangers" sounds like it could be a criminally neglected B-side from the "Deliverance" or "Wiseblood." Rumor has it that Keenan might be returning to COC's ranks, which could be awesome, given how alive and inspired the band sounds now. Opening acts are the Miami-based doom-pop honchos in Torche, the chorus-happy skull-crushers Valient Thorr and the harsh, epically bleak post-metallers A Storm of Light. This will certainly be — if not the best — then one of the very best metal shows of the year.
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.
The buzz doesn't buzz much buzzier than it did for Neon Indian's 2009 debut "Psychic Chasms," which is one of the cornerstones of the whole, uh, you know, that thing that's a genre with a name that everyone associated with sorta doesn't wanna be associated with. You probably know the lazy shorthand: Ariel Pink-influenced, burbling, gurgling electro pop that burbles and gurgles like the soundtrack to a forgotten NES game that's drowning to death and there are '80s/'90s references/sounds and the cover is often a blurry Hipstamatic photo of a beach or a girl or something sun-kissed and vaguely sentimental. With a name like Neon Indian and song titles like "Deadbeat Summer," "Terminally Chill," and "Should have taken acid with you," Neon Indian's initial offering had all the signifiers of the nascent chillwave or glo-fi or whatever that was or is. Being that it was music made by and for attractive, funded twentysomethings as a soundtrack for their carefree, drug-taking, fun-having, never-ending good times, I summarily dismissed "Psychic Chasms" and its peers. I was prepared to give the same treatment to its follow-up from last year, "Era Extraña." But it's actually a very enjoyable listen, as is "Psychic Chasms," here at a couple years' remove and now that I don't live in Austin anymore. It's still burbling, gurgling electro pop, but recorded and produced a little better and the songs have a darker, "Man, I'm in my mid-20s now" sort of edge to them. Purity Ring opens up this all-ages show.