- Gregory Nolan
7:30 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $30.
Dropkick Murphys, the beloved Boston Celtic-punk band that crossed over to the mainstream when Martin Scorcese used its raucous "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" in a pivotal section of his film "The Departed," appears to be made up of some good dudes. Founder Ken Casey started a charitable foundation, the Claddagh Fund, which by all accounts does meaningful work to help people with addictions. The band, formed in the working class neighborhood of Quincy, is stridently pro-union. It raised more than $100,000 for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings by selling a limited edition T-shirt. In 2013, when a fan jumped onstage in New York and gave a Nazi salute, Casey beat him up. Thursday's show marks Dropkick Murphys first appearance in Arkansas during its 20-year career. The band is touring behind its new album, "11 Short Stories," which takes inspiration from the opioid crisis that's taken hold in New England while still staying true to Irish instrumentation and foot-stomping anthems. LM
- 20 YEARS OF SUFFERING: Jay Vance has been Captured! By Robots for two decades now, and the android-human hybrid band touches down at Low Key Arts Thursday night with Ginsu Wives, 8 p.m., $8-$12.
CAPTURED! BY ROBOTS
8 p.m. Low Key Arts. $8-$12.
Like most people at a Captured by Robots concert, I was drawn by the mere premise of the thing: Regular guy Jay Vance (JBOT) builds robots to be in a band with him after a series of fraught breakups with human band members; the robots become sentient and enslave JBOT, forcing him to wear a mask and play self-described "brutal pummeling music" in crusty dive bars across the nation. If that story had preceded a show from four guys with guitars playing a standard alt-rock set, I'd have been disappointed, but the whole affair is wildly true. Vance hooked himself up to a guitar-keyboard contraption and played the whole thing from under a leather mask appended with plastic eyeballs, alongside the horrifying mannequins that make up his android backing band. It's performance art, and it's loud, and sometimes they play "Mississippi Queen," and you come away feeling like you can never really trust those animatronic characters from Chuck E. Cheese again — and maybe like you never should have trusted them to begin with. Once such crusty venue was Clunk Music Hall in Fayetteville in the late '90s, where I discovered the CBR debacle as a teenager, and over the course of the last 20 years, there have been countless others. Times have changed: Vance has shed the mask, and the band is reportedly "much more united in hating humanity" than ever. ("Stockholm syndrome?" the band's website asks. "Or maybe you all just suck really really bad.") Evidently, the people booking the show had a stroke of genius and asked Ginsu Wives to open. This is a band whose 2015 EP "Hospital Vibes" should leave no doubt that it's the most appropriate choice to set the scene for monstrosities like GTRBOT666 and DRMBOT 0110. SS
- Michael Weintrob
- THERE'S ROOM FOR US ALL: Grammy-winning zydeco artist Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience bring the music of St. Landry Parish to South on Main Thursday, 8 p.m., $25-$40.
TERRANCE SIMIEN & THE ZYDECO EXPERIENCE
8 p.m. South on Main. $25-$40.
Zydeco pioneer Terrance Simien is not smiling on the cover of his album "Across the Parish Line," and for that, you can barely recognize the guy. He seems to have been born with a permanent grin, singing the words to "Zydeco Boogaloo" and "Don't Mess with My Toot Toot" from the cradle. Simien is an eighth-generation descendant of a Creole family who settled in St. Landry Parish. He picked up his first accordion when he was 14 and, although I have to assume he eats and sleeps at some point, he doesn't appear to have put down the squeezebox much since. When he and his band plays the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this May, they'll be doing it for the 31st consecutive time, and he's received some deserved accolades for that tenure in the last decade or so. In 2009, Simien played accordion, frottoir (a rubboard) and triangle for Randy Newman's "Gonna Take You There" as part of the soundtrack for the Disney film "The Princess and the Frog," and in 2014, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience were awarded their second Grammy. What's more, they won that award for a recording of a live show not unlike the one they'll put on at South on Main on Thursday night. Don't miss this one. SS
- TO BE FEATURED AT GALLERY WALK: Gene Sparling's wood bowl "Sea Surf," at Justus Fine Art.
HOT SPRINGS GALLERY WALK
5-9 p.m., galleries on Central Avenue.
When the ponies run, Hot Springs galleries bet that horseracing paintings will be popular. For example, Gallery Central, 800 Central Ave., has lined up thoroughbred paintings by Trey McCarley and Bob Snider; for Gallery Walk, Snider will paint live. For something off the beaten track that evening, the gallery will also feature a demonstration by knife maker Claude Lambert, who'll make a flint striker. Justus Fine Art, 827 Central Ave., opens "True to Form," an exhibition of works on paper by Donnie Copeland, sculpture by Robert Fogel, wood sculpture by Robyn Horn and Sandra Sell and turned wood vessels by Gene Sparling. Legacy Fine Art, 804 Central Ave., is showing blown glass chandeliers by Ed Pennebaker and paintings by Carole Katchen. Pastel landscapes and florals by Sheliah Halderman and expressionist paintings by Amaryllis J. Ball will be featured in March at Artists' Workshop Gallery cooperative, 610 Central Ave., which also is showing miniatures by Joanne Kunath and June Lamoureux. LNP
- David McClister
- CAIRO AND SOUTHERN: Son Volt celebrates the Feb. 17 release of "Notes of Blue" with a show at Revolution Thursday night, 8:30 p.m., $20.
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $20.
Jay Farrar turned 50 last year. He's been making music for about 29 of those years. First with Uncle Tupelo, the foundational alt-country band he formed with Jeff Tweedy in 1987 that fell apart seven years later after he and Tweedy, the band's principal songwriters, couldn't get along anymore. Tweedy of course went on to start Wilco, while Farrar put together Son Volt, a band that, over the course of nine albums and despite lineup changes and regular moves toward experimentation, has always been firmly in the alt-country lane. Like Neil Young (aside from "Trans"), Farrar's distinctive voice and songwriting sits up in front, whether he's riffing on the Bakersfield sound (Son Volt's 2013 album "Honky Tonk"), collaborating with Ben Gibbard to pay homage to Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" (on 2009's "One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur") or channeling bluesmen like Mississippi Fred McDowell (Son Volt's new album, "Notes of Blue). Johnny Irion, grandnephew to John Steinbeck and son-in-law to Arlo Guthrie, opens with melodic, folk-flecked Southern rock. LM
- William Lacalmontie
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $12.
Scott Kelly is a founding member of Oakland heavy music giants Neurosis, who got their start on Jello Biafra's record label Alternative Tentacles. They toured the underground scene relentlessly, eventually playing shows with troops like Biohazard, Pantera and even Black Sabbath. Around 2003 Neurosis started its own record label, Neurot Recordings, and begin releasing its own material, including Kelly's first solo record, "Spirit Bound Flesh." "I started SBF in the winter of 2001," Kelly told us. "It was right after I had gotten sober and my mind was just racing with ideas and I was anxious to find out if I could make substantial music without drugs and alcohol. I was — and still am — really attracted to the idea of creating these minimalist songs that still hold the emotional arc within them." Kelly's latest EP release, "Push Me On To The Sun," is the darkest ever, and Kelly is certainly staking his own claim as a solo artist. It's a rare opportunity for Kelly to be down this direction, and John Judkins (Rwake, Protomen) joins Kelly for this small, intense performance at the White Water Tavern. Arkansas's own heart and soul, singer/songwriter Adam Faucett, will be sharing the stage, and we'll get a small taste of Jeff Morgan's (Rwake, Madman Morgan) new acoustic project, Light Inside The Woods. CT
- Misho Antandze
- STARS ALIGN: Little Rock expat Natalie Carol's project Valley Queen is making waves with vocal tremolo and frenetic video work, and the band plays at South on Main Saturday night, 9 p.m., $10.
9 p.m. South on Main. $10.
Little Rock native Natalie Carol doesn't get the airplay that other expats have enjoyed, but since she left for L.A. and connected with her band Valley Queen, Carol has been quietly releasing a handful of strange, self-assured tracks like "My Man" for a few years now. Check out the earnestly tender video for "Who Ever Said," inspired on a plane ride Carol took from Little Rock to L.A. in the aftermath of the Arkansas Senate's passing HB 1228, the so-called "Conscious Protection Act" that would have legalized discrimination against LGBT people. Or "High Expectations," a lament for the modern lover: "I'm not gonna fake it/Orgasms in texting conversations/It's so easy to lie/But babe, the truth really is/I get myself off just fine/Maybe that's why I'm all alone tonight." Carol's voice floats and lilts like Joni Mitchell, wavers like Iris Dement and stretches one syllable into three like Lucinda Williams — and somehow, she doesn't really sound like any of those women. The tracks mentioned here make up a good chunk of the band's discography thus far, and here's hoping they're indicative of the direction of Valley Queen songs to come. SS
- EVEN THE DEVIL GETS THE BLUES: The White Water Tavern rarely opens its doors on a Sunday, but it'll be open this week for an early show from Helena-born bluesman CeDell Davis with Zakk and "Big Papa" Binns, 6 p.m., $10.
6 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
Helena-born bluesman CeDell "Big G" Davis is a survivor. He's such a survivor, he has survived many of those who have called him a survivor. Steeped in blues royalty through playing with Robert Nighthawk and childhood friend Dr. Ross the Harmonica Boss, wheelchair-bound Davis was late to the recording game. Now in his 90s, the turn of the century has been good to Davis, with the 2002 release of "When Lightnin' Struck the Pine," featuring members of R.E.M. and produced by Little Rock drummer Joe Cripps, and "Last Man Standing," produced by Jimbo Mathus, in 2015. Davis celebrates the October release of his latest, "Even the Devil Gets the Blues," at Capitol View's White Water Tavern — where he's played off and on for decades — for this rare Sunday afternoon show. Davis' powerful vocals were long overlooked in light of his singular, cacophonic, upside-down slide guitar technique, which utilized a butter knife, a polio workaround. Following a 2005 stroke, he no longer yields guitar or knife, but remains a nonpareil blues shouter: "Nobody really plays guitar like I did. But when you can't do it yourself, you get somebody else to." What, you thought he would stop? SK
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $30-$70.
So we know the guys in Green Day aren't considered local Arkansas boys made good by the rest of America, but the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were considered warmly in Little Rock punk circles for their early area shows even before actual hometown hero Jason White came into the band's fold some years ago. As Green Day, and its audience, slowly matured, so did the band's message. Next thing you know, there's a Green Day song playing at high school graduations and on "Seinfeld" clip shows — and it's not a punk song about weed or jacking off. This culminated with "American Idiot," which brought the band mainstream respect — and now, sadly recurring relevance; "Revolution Radio," the band's 12th studio album — recorded sans White as a three-piece — was released just before the election. Green Day's European shows earlier this year featured lots of songs from "American Idiot," the now 13-year-old album that's sprung back up fresh as a daisy. And while Verizon Arena can't compare to Vino's back room for places to plot the revolution, it can hold a lot more revolutionaries. SK
- Alistair Muir
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., 7 p.m. Sun. through March 19. Robinson Center Performance Hall. $33-$153.
Deciding whether to go to see a touring production of "Phantom of the Opera" is a little like deciding whether to ride the Gravitron at the state fair. There is no room for ambivalence. You're either in or you're out, no takebacks, and odds are good you've already made the decision by the time it comes around anyway. That said, know that favorites like "All I Ask of You" and "Masquerade" will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52 people, making the most of the technical assets in the new Robinson Center in a redesigned production from Cameron Mackintosh, the billionaire British producer who's been producing shows like "Phantom" and "Cats" for nearly 50 years. The part of Christine Daae will be sung by Katie Travis, a soprano with a two-year "Christine" pedigree behind her, and the part of the Phantom will be sung by Derrick Davis, only the third man of color to sing the role, and the first to do so in a touring production. SS