- Gabriella Mozelle Pineda
- 'THE WITCHING HOUR': New Orleans jazz outfit Noruz performs at Four Quarter Bar Friday night with the Matt Treadway Trio.
NORUZ, MATT TREADWAY TRIO
10 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $8.
As sad as it is to have the Afterthought's jazz shows in the rearview mirror — for the time being, anyway — it's been exciting to see bars elsewhere in the city fill in the gaps. The Rodney Block Collective has performed at a breakneck pace all across town, for one (see the next item). The Goat Band keeps a Monday night gig at The Lobby Bar, and the Ted Ludwig Trio performs its longstanding spot at the Capitol Hotel Bar & Grill, which is to say nothing of the pioneers and up-and-comers stopping in Little Rock for the Oxford American's Jazz Series: trombonist Steve Turre (Dec. 7), vocalist Catherine Russell (Feb. 1) and the Melissa Aldana Quartet (April 5). Count the Friday night show from New Orleans quintet Noruz at Four Quarter among those offerings, shows where the grooves are chill enough to breathe, build up and ease back down again lightly. Noruz dropped two singles from its upcoming record, "The Witching Hour," due out March 2018, and the two tracks work well as an "A" and "B" side introduction to both sides of the band's expansive sound. "Alchemy," composed by New Orleans/New York session singer Honey Savage and Noruz bassist Amina Scott, cuts right to the chase with moody modulations, sustained horns and an ethereal mission statement: "You can call me Midas/Gold feathers in my hair/I'm where the light is," and the 7-minute "Grey Sky" takes its sweet time, blossoming from a solitary, punchy guitar sequence to an inquisitive trumpet-flute unison duet underpinned by moody Rhodes piano progressions. Perfectly, the hot jazz- and European-influenced sounds of the Matt Treadway Trio are the opening act.
- Rodney Block
BLOCK FRIDAY: THE ALL BLACK AFFAIR
9 p.m. Revolution. $15-$20.
God help you if you brave the Black Friday crowds at Best Buy or Park Plaza or (gasp) that new outlet mall with the Bass Pro Shop and the Le Creuset store. You poor darling. You're probably going to hear Third Eye Blind or that Santana song with Rob Thomas at least twice. If you bear your breastplate upon that battlefield, and especially if you're forced to question the inherent goodness of human nature somewhere along the way, I promise you the resulting anxiety is nothing a little Rodney Block Collective featuring Bijoux Pighee cannot fix. Block often describes the collective's sound as "jazzy future house music," and that's pretty indicative of what happens when they play — poetic, unmetered key changes hold sway for minutes at a time and eventually give way to a sophisticated cover of a sweet track from Mariah Carey or Brownstone. The Rodney Block Collective is joined by Ricky Latt, J-Phil and more for this one. If you've got the family in town, it's a fantastic bet; Block's concerts are classy enough for your uppity aunt, but lively and warm enough that your 21-year-old niece will probably roll her eyes, give in and dance anyway. Call 442-0649 to reserve a table.
- Jennifer Heimbaugh
- Adam Faucett
ADAM FAUCETT & THE TALL GRASS, R.I.O.T.S.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
They say friends are the family you choose, and for this Friendsgiving, one of Little Rock's most reliably incisive and moving songwriters is hosting at a venue his voice has filled many times over. Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass will play a long set, it will be loud and beautiful, and the song "Dust" will probably make someone weep openly. They'll be joined by R.I.O.T.S., an absolute dream team of a punk rock outfit whose songs are mostly 90 seconds long and whose name stands for all or maybe none of the following: "Really, It's Only Ten Songs," "Reagan Is Out There Somewhere," "Reunion: It's Our Twenty-sixth Show" or "R.I.O.T.S. Is Over Trump's Shit."
GENINE LATRICE PEREZ
10 p.m. South on Main. $15.
Maybe it's the decades of high-impact cardio, or the minerals in the water in her adopted home of Switzerland, but impossibly, remarkably, Tina Turner turns 78 years old Nov. 26. Turner's working on a musical about her life with "Mamma Mia!" director Phyllida Lloyd, but it's not too early to brush up on the hits, brought to you Friday evening by Genine LaTrice Perez, the charismatic frontwoman of Lagniappe, longtime collaborator of pianist Rex Bell and possessor of the stage electricity and the vocal chops it takes to channel Tina properly. She's joined by her full band and by vocalists CandySoul and Dee Davis, soloists in their own right. Call 244-9660 to reserve a table.
- Becca Bona
- 'SOMETHING TO SEE': Swampbird returns to Stickyz Saturday night for a show with The Uh Huhs and Colour Design.
SWAMPBIRD, COLOUR DESIGN, THE UH HUHS
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack. $8.
Swampbird is one of those bands that, like Becca Mancari and Jenny Lewis, makes me feel excited about country music again, and optimistic that country can still gracefully embrace its weirder tendencies, perhaps leaning less often toward the whiskey songs, more toward the peyote and the desert. Here's a rare show from that quintet, gilded with a similarly rare rock set from The Uh Huhs, 2016 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase champions and the cheeky masterminds behind the urgent, Mark Mothersbaugh-ish number "Wrong Young Lady," terrifically showcased in a video directed by Chris Jones about a year ago. If you needed another reason, consider the slow, hovering guitar effects of Colour Design, whose layered sound pulses and curls around bleak, evocative lyrics, mostly questions of disbelief and despondence: "Is this what we left our home for?" and "Have we passed through this night?" One more thing: If you're in a position to do so, the Facebook event indicates this show will also serve as a donation pickup for The Van, specifically "blankets, new socks, sleeping bags, gloves and jackets/coats" for our homeless neighbors to use during the winter months to come. If you can't make it to Stickyz on Saturday night and feel like giving anyway, visit theoneinc.org.
- Ted Gilliam
D.O.T., DAZZ & BRIE
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says the Year of the Woman wasn't 1992 after all. It's 2018. I hope she's right, and if she is, I hope the lo-fi treasure D.O.T. and the rich, seismic sounds of Dazz & Brie are part of the soundtrack on a local level — no, make that national! ("Reign Dance" would make a badass campaign song. Just sayin.') Until then, prepare for the New Year by acquainting yourself with the two local girl gangs on this bill, easily two of the most energetic and compelling live acts playing in Little Rock these days.
6 p.m. Clinton School of Public Service. Free.
If you've played "Fallout 3," you might already know about this. Even if you don't know what "Fallout 3" is, chances are the presidential Twitter feed has given you reason as of late to stop and think, "Gee, now, what exactly do you figure would happen in the event of nuclear war?" As you might imagine, the U.S. intelligence network has definitely done more than think on it. They have built it, and it is called Raven Rock — aka "Site R," aka "Raven Rock Mountain Complex," a 650-acre underground compound complete with medical facilities and cafeterias, built in the late 1950s to sequester a few thousand people in the event of ballistic missile-induced catastrophe. Actually, there are more such bunkers, in Colorado Springs and Omaha, and all have been financed and constructed with the idea that the United States (or at least a chunk of leaders it deemed most important) could survive the atomic bomb and rebuild from the ashes. The plan is part of what's referred to as Continuity of Government (COG), and author Garrett Graff examines those strategies in a book released earlier this year, "Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die." (Cheers, everyone!) Graff's lecture is part of the Clinton School's speaker series, and will cover everything from survival biscuits to post-apocalyptic tax plans to the ways in which we've made it easy for the POTUS to press the button, as Graff put it alarmingly on NPR's "Fresh Air" in June: "There wouldn't be any time to double check with someone else, so we have very carefully crafted a system that ensures that there's nothing that slows down a presidential launch order. Those plans were always predicated upon the idea that the person giving the launch order is the most thoughtful, most intelligent, most sober-minded individual that you could possibly imagine atop the nuclear command and control system." Email email@example.com to reserve a seat, or call 683-5239. Or, stream it live at clintonschool.uasys.edu/uacslive.
- Matthew Murphy
- 'ON MY OWN': Brennyn Lark performs the role of Eponine in a touring production of "Les Miserables," directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell and inspired by the Victor Hugo novel.
WEDNESDAY 11/29-SUNDAY 12/3
7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., 2 p.m. Thu. and Sat.-Sun. Robinson Center Performance Hall. $26-$87.
Already a "Les Mis" devotee? Here's what you should know: Audiences and critics are going gaga for this Jean Valjean's (Nick Cartell) performance of the showstopper "Bring Him Home." Also, this touring production — only the second interpretation to get the seal of approval from original producer Cameron Mackintosh — is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, a creative team that's steered the aesthetic darker and more impressionistic, abandoning the revolving stage and using a different orchestration. If you're not familiar with "Les Mis," be advised of the following: It's pretty long, and it's set in 19th century France. You should also know that it's through-sung, so excepting the pop qualities of Claude-Michel Schonberg's score, you'll experience it more as an opera than you might a spoken play. Don't let its length — or any of the rest — dissuade you, though. You got through "Scarface," didn't you? Or "The Wolf of Wall Street" or "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?" Similar run times. Just prepare yourself for an epic, not an episode. Know, too, that the musical's built astonishingly well for the tastes of a television-rich 2017 audience, as it sort of scratches the same itch as shows like "American Idol" or "The Voice" do. Expertly cast, golden-voiced singers step into the limelight one at a time, grappling with questions of ethics and economics against the backdrop of poverty and political turbulence. It's been translated into at least 22 languages, and the original Broadway production ran for 6,680 performances before calling it quits. It's still the longest-running musical in London's West End theater district and the second-longest running musical in the world, and there would absolutely be no "Hamilton" without it. Get tickets at celebrityattractions.com.
- Brian Looby
- KING OF CLOWNS: Clownvis Presley's work is half prank, half performance art, and he lands at the White Water Tavern Wednesday night.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Internet-famous for reverse-heckling Sharon Osborne, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan on "America's Got Talent" in 2010, Clownvis Presley is — as his name either promises or threatens — an Elvis impersonator dressed as a clown. His repertoire includes the following: a song called "Barack O's Tacos (Taste the change!)," banana tricks and a holiday anthem called "Jesus Christ Eatin' on a Chicken Wing," sprinkled with angelic backup vocals and lyrics that implore the listener, "My Lord and My Savior, watch him savor the flavor." The St. Louis mischief-maker once made a habit of hosting local revues in St. Louis and photobombing family snapshots and wedding photo shoots at the Saint Louis Zoo, and he's since taken the show on the road with "The Cursive Song" and other oddities. Oh, and for the record, he doesn't care what Sharon Osborne thinks, as he told the Riverfront Times in September of that fateful year, "because Geezer Butler's wife loves me."
- From the 1946 Frank Capra film, "It's a Wonderful Life"
WEDNESDAY 11/29-SUNDAY 12/31
'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY'
7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., 7 p.m. Sun. Nadine Baum Studios, Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $10-$47.
If Jimmy Stewart and Charles Dickens have taught us anything with "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life," it's that the doldrums tend to kick in when the weather gets cold and the days get short, especially seeing as how capitalism's kinda put a weird spin on that whole thankfulness thing. And, a sizable Frank Capra-directed dose of "Damn, it's good to be alive" makes you feel, well ... good to be alive! TheatreSquared's production is Joe Landry's adaptation of the 1946 classic flick, and puts four voice actors at the core of the era-specific story and ends up bringing a modern-day George Bailey into the mix as a twist on the classic. This one's for anyone who's been thrust into a philosophical quandary courtesy of "The Good Place," or maybe just anyone who tends to get a little jittery about the idea of someone sitting around making a list of merits and offenses — let alone checking it twice. The play has a run time of 110 minutes with a 10-minute intermission. Jeff Church directs. Get tickets at theatre2.org.