LEYLA MCCALLA TRIO
8 p.m. South on Main. $17-$27.
Whether or not The Dude's Zen utterance at the conclusion of the Coen Brothers' "The Big Lebowski" — "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you" — is more of a shrug than its Haitian proverb correlate, "a day for the hunter, a day for the prey," is in the eye of the beholder. For cellist-songwriter Leyla McCalla, though, the Haitian phrase — the title of Gage Averill's book — bore less of an air of resignation and she titled her second album after it. "I felt that this proverb really captures the essence of the Haitian spirit, which to me is very linked to the struggle for human rights and political sovereignty," she told NPR earlier this year. McCalla departed Grammy-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops after releasing her acclaimed solo effort, "Vari-Colored Songs," an arresting set of interpretations of the poems of Langston Hughes. She sings youthfully and plainly in English and French Creole against her warm cello, which she plucks with a rhythmical precision that announces her classical training; when Chocolate Drops manager Tim Duffy ventured to New Orleans to track her down at her sister's recommendation, he found her playing Bach's cello suites from memory on the street. Her concert at South on Main, featuring Daniel Tremblay on banjo and guitar and Free Feral on viola, is part of Oxford American's "Archetypes & Troubadours" series and is the last in the U.S. before a string of dates in Switzerland, France and Belgium; catch her here while you can.
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10-$12.
I've never really known what the term "post-punk" means, but if there is a clear and recent example of it, it might be Protomartyr's 2015 release, "The Agent Intellect." Although the lyrics of songs like "Dope Cloud" are born and bred of the disenchantment with which the band's native Detroit has come to be nearly synonymous, it's easy to be reminded of our own recent hometown political divisions over matters of money and marijuana when reading lines like, "The dope cloud/that's descending/on this town/is blowing gold dust/into the pockets/of the undeserving." Conversely, cueing up "Ellen," armed with the knowledge that it's an imagined promise from frontman Joe Casey's late father to his mother, who has Alzheimer's, is a worthwhile exercise in perspective and a great way to use up that last trifold of Kleenex at the bottom of the box on your desk. Protomartyr shares a bill with Pittsburgh's The Gotobeds — who we can only hope will bring half the goofball quotient to its set as the four members brought to the video for "Cold Gold (L.A.'s Alright)" from "Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic" — as well as Bombay Harambee, a local quartet whose academic rock and stream-of-consciousness delivery should bookend Protomartyr perfectly.
9 p.m. Vino's.
Daron Beck and Jon Teague, the two remaining members of the band The Great Tyrant, live and perform with the dysphoria of a band member lost to suicide, bassist Tommy Atkins. They've paid a constant and harrowing tribute to that loss by naming the re-formed duo after the color of the walls next to the spot where Atkins died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, though they downplay the name's origin these days out of respect for Atkins' memory, and in light of tragedies the two have endured since that time. Musically, Pinkish Black's synth-drum dystopias are cut from the same spooky cloth that the soundtrack to "Stranger Things" is made of, except that, you know, they've been creating sounds of that ilk since the kids who play Eleven, Lucas, Mike, Will and Dustin were communicating primarily via baby monitor. The duo's latest effort, "Bottom of the Morning," is a tense, theatrical marathon, and anyone who bothered to put together a Halloween party playlist last week probably should have just put on this album instead. They're joined by Conway's thrashing punk-and-pedalboard hybrid Headcold and Mainland Divide, a local quintet whose ultra-dense texture of layered guitars is framed with absolute muscle and fortitude by an intense drummer.
'BLACK HISTORY SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE'
1 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. Free.
In the middle of July in 2009, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. came home from a trip to China, where he'd been researching Yo Yo Ma's ancestry for a PBS special on genetic interconnectivity called "Faces of America," and found his front door jammed shut. An arrest, a media frenzy and a White House "beer summit" later, Gates' work continues to ask what it means to be black in America today. Citing the progress of the civil rights movements and the influence of artistic statements like James Brown's "I'm Black and I'm Proud" and Beyonce's "Formation," Gates' documentary series "Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise" begins with Malcolm X's assassination, the Voting Rights Act and the following Watts riots, moving through the last 50 years with excerpted interviews from Shonda Rhimes, Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Jesse Jackson, Nas, Dr. Cornel West, Ava DuVernay, Donna Brazile, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and former Attorney General Eric Holder. In the series, Gates observes that "poverty remains a stubbornly persistent way of life for far too many African-Americans, incarceration rates in our community are at an all-time high, and people are crying out to have their basic human dignity recognized, leading some to wonder if things really have changed." A panel discussion follows the screening, with moderators Dr. Angela Webster, University of Central Arkansas associate vice president for institutional diversity; Dr. John Miller, University of Arkansas at Little Rock faculty mentoring program coordinator and associate professor; Dr. Joseph Jones, Arkansas Baptist College president; Ryan Davis, director of Children's International; and Matthew Caston, founder of the Freedman Society.
9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs.
This bill is full of introspection and half-steps, a lovely trio of bands worth straining to hear. Julia Lucille, a self-described "dark-folk" singer from Austin, wrote a song for each new moon of the year to create "Bedroom Tapes: Volume One," a process she says reinforced for her "that life is not a straightforward progression, but an endless cycle of continual falling apart and rebirth. Sometimes things happen that you would never want to happen, and you can resist the change rather futilely, or you can embrace it." She pairs her feathery lines with the kind of barely-there guitar picking that comes across as absentminded but is an intentional complement to her poetry: "I went to war for my dreams/and I fought for glory and other unreal things/I fought with all the panic of my feared inadequacies/with pasted over reasoning/and other people's mutterings/and it didn't lead to anything." After this stint in Central Arkansas, Fayetteville's Nite Pup heads to the Southwestern United States, a landscape that seems fitting for a band that pairs an earnest wolf howl falsetto with lonely, bending guitar arpeggios, as on "Sierra" and "Nature Fetish" from "The Idea is Like Grass," released earlier this summer. Hot Springs trio Notice to Quit lists Joy Division among its influences on the band's Facebook page, and after a listen to the lilt and cheer in the band's summer's tracks, "Lucid" and "Redwoods," The Cure circa "Three Imaginary Boys" might be just as apt an inspiration.