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Get in the conga line

Cripps, Norte de Havana play at Cajun's.

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  • NORTE DE HAVANA: At Cajun's.

We’re jazzing up our conga line skills in preparation for Norte de Havana, a dance band with a Cuban-Mexican-Brazilian flair that will be at Cajun’s Wharf on Thursday and Friday, July 27-28.

The Denton, Texas band is part Latin Pimps, part Brave Combo (Joe Cripps will be on percussion), and well worth the $5 to get in and see. As a side note, Little Rock native Cripps has moved from Denton to Los Angeles to work on some projects in television that feature world music.

We’ve talked about the Big John Miller Band and their new lineup; now it’s time to talk about Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain, who will be at Cajun’s on Saturday, July 29, with their new lineup. Check it out: Taylor has replaced guitarist Brian Dethero (who is now with Big John) with Maine ax-slinger Gregg McGowan, while 17-year-old Lil’ Mike Eilers (who also plays in a Pentecostal church on Sundays) is on bass. John Roach (drums) and John Weir (trumpet) stay in the group.

Charlotte’s our hands-down favorite blues woman, and that’s no lie. Ask for “Dreaming,” one of Taylor’s originals.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and the cover charge is $5.

Something wicked this way comes: Ace Spade and the Whores of Babylon are brewing up a pyschopunkabilly storm for their debut at Pizza D’ Action on Saturday, July 29. The group’s first official gig was supposed to have been opening for the HotRod Hillbillies show a couple of weeks ago. For a number of reasons (and we still aren’t sure why) the HRH had to cancel, and Spade and Co. didn’t have enough material to play a whole show. Well, now they do.

Here’s a preview of what to expect, according to bassist Mikey Magdalene (all the band’s members have rather theatrical pseudonyms): Their sound is “as if the Ramones and the Misfits were playing Hank Williams songs about aliens and vampires.” They do a cover of the Misfits’ “Plan 9 from Outer Space” and have a few other originals with titles like “B-Movie Queen” and “Ice Crystal.”

Other members include Ace Spade (“guitarist, antichrist” is how he’s described) and one ghoul, Sofira N. Brimstone (“percussion, seduction”).

Lethal Red, from Fayetteville (and also influenced by the Misfits), will play a set as well. They have equally compelling sobriquets: Andy Hate on vocals, Jonny Switchblade on bass, Thor Carver on lead guitar, Beau Cousins on rhythm guitar and Ryan (smokesalotta) Bowls on drums. They’ll start around 9 p.m. Admission is $5.

And we are sad about it: Trainwreck with Kyle Gass of Tenacious D canceled an upcoming show at Juanita’s due to “scheduling problems,” according to the band’s website. They were booked for Saturday, July 29. Jeff Coleman and the Feeders, who were on as the opening act, will now headline, and you could do a lot worse, we promise. Jeff Coleman seriously rocks. And we’re sure the shots of brown will flow accordingly. Showtime is 9:30 p.m., and cover is $5.

We got some flak from our anal-retentive boss for using the word “schwag” instead of “swag” in an article a few months ago to describe some freebie sundries we got at a music trade show; we wrote it off as inside vernacular. But there’s no confusion about the name of The Schwag, the smoked-up rock band from St. Louis inspired by the Grateful Dead playing at Cornerstone Pub on Saturday, July 29. 10 p.m., $5.

If you’re a bit of an acoustic/finger-style/bluegrass music connoisseur, you may be familiar with Shady Mix, led by Wil Maring, who will be headlining as a duo with guitarist Robert Bowlin at Acoustic Sounds Cafe on Friday, July 28. She’s a previous winner of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and has toured extensively in Europe and Japan. She’s also released six albums (two solo), the most recent titled “The Calling.”

Jed Zimmerman and Kelly Mickwee, who in their press release describe themselves as “hand-in-glove harmonies inspired by duos such as Gram Parsons and Conway and Loretta,” open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Acoustic Sounds is at 600 Pleasant Valley Drive in Second Presbyterian Church.

Also: Memphis-based bad-ass rockabilly at Sticky Fingerz on Saturday with the Dempseys. Tub-thumpin’ bass, the outfits, it’s a whole show. Scott H. Biram, good friends with Austin bands like Honky and the Weary Boys, opens at 9 p.m. with a solo set. Think dirty hill-blues and country. Ask for his cover of “Muleskinner Blues” and the original “Blood, Sweat and Murder.” Admission is $7 … Return to Sticky Fingerz on Wednesday, Aug.2. Conduit Family is recording for Brian Rikuda, winner of BET’s “Ultimate Hustler” contest. Suga City (made up of Arkansas Bo and Goines), DK and Epiphany, as well as DJ KP on the turntables. It starts at 9 p.m.; cover is $5. … Press Box owner Kevin Britton has sold the place, and if all goes down right the new owners will take over Aug. 1 and convert it into a pizzeria-style restaurant, Britton says. The Press Box has been around for several decades, situated just behind UALR.

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