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Outside the gates

Local venues provide alternative to Riverfest.


TwinSpirit, at Argenta Coffee House.
  • TwinSpirit, at Argenta Coffee House.

African-American artists are dominating what’s going on May 25-31 outside Riverfest’s borders, with appearances by neosoul singer Twinspirit, rap duo 8-Ball and MJD, and Blackalicious.

Argenta Coffee House will be the place for good vibes when Memphis-based singer TwinSpirit appears there Saturday, May 27. She has cool, radiating pipes, and we don’t think she’ll mind our comparing her to neo-soul diva Erykah Badu. We really liked “Excuse Me” and the heavier “Woman Scorned” on her download at www.myspace.com/twinspirit. She’ll start at 9 p.m. with Tim Anthony as back-up. Cover is $5.

The Memphis rap duo 8-Ball and MJD, best known for their gold-selling album “Living Legends,” will make a stop at Badabing on Saturday, May 27. Follow-up album “Pure American Pimpin’ ” will be out in July, and singles from the new disc are on the playlist. That album, by the way, features special guests Big Boi of Outkast, T.I., Juvenile, Jazze Phae and Lil’ Jon. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20.

B-boys through and true, Blackalicious (Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab), have been around for 20 or so years, producing smart, street-ready albums. They’ll be at the Cornerstone Deli on Wednesday, May 31. Their latest album, “The Craft,” made groovy creative waves in the hip-hop industry this year. They bring it down to earth, rapping about the appreciation of the smooth ride of a ’64 Impala or, ahem, a woman with a nice physique. Local DJ Dirtbag will host the show. The show starts at 8 p.m. $13 tickets are on sale now at the club.

More divas: On Sunday, May 28, the Really Entertaining Divas will perform at Juanita’s at 7 p.m. Opener is David Lawrence. The show is open to ages 18 and up, and free.

In addition to the Blackalicious show, there are a quite a few cool things happening on Wednesday.

• Australian female folk-rock duo bluehouse will be at Sticky Fingerz, with their rich, warm alto vocals and excellent folk-rock guitar. I enjoyed from their website (www.bluehouse.com) the new songs “I’ll Find You” and “Go No Further.” The 9 p.m. show (with an act to be announced as of press time) is really a steal at $5.

• Juanita’s has booked (hed) p.e., the rapcore band outfitted with some gangsta funk, punk, metal and classic hip-hop. Their album “Back to Base X” will come out in June, a follow to their 2005 release, “Only in Amerka.” Also appearing: Wicked Wisdom, with some members of Fishbone and, yep, Jada Pinkett Smith on vocals. Also: Mower. It’s all ages, starts at 9 p.m. and cover is $16.

The lineup has changed many times for the all-girl Canadian metal band Kittie, which will appear at Vino’s on Thursday, May 25. Still, we hope they’ll tear up their single “Brackish” from their debut album, “Spit.” The group’s latest album is “Never Again,” and Kittie’s on tour to promote it. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m. with the Agony Scene, Calico System and the Autumn Offering. Tickets are $15.

Kiss Army, which says it’s the nearest thing to KISS, plays at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Cajun’s. Full make-up and, we’re hoping, safe pyrotechnics are all part of the show. $5.

It’s sure to be a fun evening at Acoustic Sounds Cafe, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive (Second Presbyterian Church), on Friday, May 26, with pop-folk artist Dulcie Taylor. Taylor is opening the show on her way to the Kerrville Folk Festival as a performer on the main stage.

Headlining is Central Arkansas-based newgrass band Toadsuck Symphony, whose truly fun self-titled album is full of classic rock covers like “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi Hendrix and “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison. Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and students. The venue is non-smoking and alcohol-free.

Some local acts to catch this week: It’s been a minute since we’ve seen the Salty Dogs; they’ll be at White Water on Thursday, May 25, with Chris Denny and Drag the River, with the show starting at 10 p.m. Cover is $5. Free Verse will be at Cornerstone on Friday, May 26 (8:30 p.m.; $5).

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