NIGHTFLYING 31ST ANNIVERSARY PARTY
7 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Good old Nightflying magazine is celebrating its 31st anniversary with — what else? — a gigantic rock show. The publication has had a few other birthday blowouts in recent weeks, in Hot Springs and Fort Smith, and now, in Little Rock. The lineup for the capital city show includes Grateful Dead tribute artists The Schwag, long-running folk duo Trout Fishing in America, psych-blues cosmonauts Tyrannosaurus Chicken, party band par excellence Tragikly White, the blues stalwarts in The Joe Pitts Band, R&B and blues from Salt & Pepper and, of course, the man himself, publisher Peter Read. The Point 94.1's Jeff Allen will serve as master of ceremonies.
UGLY SWEATER PARTY
8 p.m. Revolution. $6.
Remember all those hideous Christmas sweaters you always got from Aunt Matilda (even though you specifically asked her for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Gameboy)? Well, let's hope you hung on to at least one of those awful things, because here's where that crummy gift can finally come in handy. Wear your most dreadful holiday abomination and bring at least two nonperishable food items to this all-ages show, a benefit for Arkansas Food Bank. You can also catch some tunes from Booyah! Dad, The Ginsu Wives, Ezra Lbs., Many Persian Z's and The Alpha Ray.
MUSICIANS SHOWCASE PAST WINNERS
9 p.m. Stickyz.
So the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is coming up, and it's the 20th anniversary of the event. That's a lot of bands over the years, and the crew here at Times HQ decided it'd be kinda cool to put together a show with some of the previous years' winners. The Big Cats (1997 champs) probably need no introduction, but just in case, the band's been playing hook-filled rock 'n' roll for nearly as long as the showcase has been around and just released "The Ancient Art of Leaving: High & Low," the first of a two-part album. Adrian Tillman — a.k.a. 607 (2008 winner) — is the tireless renaissance man of the Central Arkansas hip hop scene, whose latest album, "Yik3s!" came out this fall. Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth took the prize in 2010 with their burly, awesomely vulgar power-pop gems. It's an 18-and-older show, so you can bring along your little cousin, sibling, niece or nephew who's home from college over the winter break. The 2012 showcase starts Jan. 26. The entries have been rolling in, and we'll let you know early next month which acts made the semi-finals.
COOL SHOES END OF THE YEAR PARTY
9 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after.
This is the last Cool Shoes dance party this year, and it's an all-ages affair, with DJs Wolf-e-Wolf, Kichen, Rysk and Cam Holifield pumping out the music, as well as a free party photo booth and promises of special surprises all night. I'll go ahead and cop to not totally "getting" contemporary electronic dance music. A lot of it sounds like squeaky, squiggly bad-trip nightmare videogame music to my delicate old-man ears, which nowadays can't handle anything more raucous than early Wilco. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, last week, Rock Candy reader "furobertbell" reminded me of something via the comments section: "Robert, you have for the umpteenth time made it abundantly clear that you like only what YOU like and are truly no real fan of music." Presumably it's bad to only like the music you like. You should also like the music you don't like. Furthermore, my "write ups are either bitter, closed minded reflections of something you have NO business covering or a very sad attempt at humor." Wow. Harsh, but completely, 100 percent true. So it was with that withering indictment in mind that I endeavored to check out some of this electro/dubstep/moombahton/what-have-you. I certainly don't like it, and probably have NO business covering it, so it would be a natural fit for my column. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Soundcloud. I found a lot of stuff that didn't seem that far off from Black Dice or Excepter or Wolf Eyes or various other noise and experimental acts I've enjoyed over the years. I listened to some mixes by Wolf-e-Wolf and Kichen and I'll be damned if I didn't end up liking several of them quite a bit. In particular, I thought Kichen's track "HORRORS" was rad — it was jarring and brutal and felt like your brain was being jackhammered. Plus I'm told that the Cool Shoes folks have a colossal sound system and that it's all about getting your innards jostled by the massive bass. So props to commenter furobertbell. Thanks to him or her, I finally like some music that I don't like. But wait — if I didn't like it, but now I like it, then that means I'm back to only liking the music that I like. Dagnabbit!
DASH RIP ROCK
9:30 p.m. Stickyz. $6.
Of all the bands that have had the "cow-punk" label pinned to them over the years, none of them lived up to that description more than South Louisiana's Dash Rip Rock. For a good primer on the band's overall sound, check out "Hits and Giggles" from back in 2000. It's got 23 compact little ditties perfect for getting hopped up on cheap hooch and going out to raise some hell. "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot" is a Gen-X update of "Let's Go to the Hop" that name-checks every Lollapalooza-bound band of the day, with just a hint of punk-rock disdain. The band has progressed from those early roots-rock ragers, though. Take, for example, 2007's "Hee Haw Hell," a concept record about a hillbilly who dies while partying and makes purgatorial layovers in the various circles of Hell, including a world where "Punk Rock Never Happened," which bears an unsettling resemblance to our own. Despite some lineup changes, Dash Rip Rock has been at it forever, so if you like hanging out at that amphetamine-addled intersection where punk rock and country meet, get into a dustup and then make nice and become best friends, don't miss this chance to see one of the genre's originators.
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $17-$62.
Did you know that professional wrestling buffs have their own incredibly detailed jargon that they use? It's crazy. For example, from a January 2010 Wrestlezone forum titled, "Randy Orton: Face or Tweener?": "So my question is what would you do? Keep Orton a heel for a heel vs. heel feud, turn him into a full-fledged babyface, or maybe try for that SCSA type character once again ... but do it right this time? IMO I would have him a Tweener, keep him as that SCSA kinda guy and try to propel him into the next level. Some smark fans cheer for him anyway and he has been getting more cheers as of late, however his last face turn was horrible and I think he has done too much heelish things to be a face [sic throughout]." I'll try to translate some of this. Here goes: So Orton used to be a "heel" (bad guy) but eventually became a "babyface," or "face" (good guy), but for a little while there he was a "tweener" (neither good nor bad). "SCSA" refers to retired wrestling champ "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. A "smark" is a fan who knows wrestling is all scripted and likes it anyway, and it's a variation on the term "mark," which variously refers to people who think wrestling is real; wrestlers or others in the industry who are overly concerned with fan perception; or, pejoratively, self-proclaimed wrestling experts who actually don't know a damn thing. A "turn" is a change in a wrestler's persona from good to bad or vice versa. So besides the insider lingo, there are the convoluted storylines, which seem to be at least as hard to keep up with as most soap operas. Anyways, this right here is being billed as The First Smackdown of 2012, in which "The Apex Predator" Randy Orton takes on "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry AND "The World's Largest Athlete" Big Show in some sort of three-way match, with special refereeing by Booker T. Also appearing will be: "Captain Charisma" Christian, "The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus, Wade Barrett, "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase Jr., Ezekiel Jackson, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, Natalya, Alicia Fox and more.
9:30. Stickyz. $6.
This Norman, Okla., act has for several years now been trafficking in stripped-down blues, with plenty of twang, occasional harmonica and kazoo and an ever-so-slightly alt-country kinda vibe that's super relaxed. The band's overall sound is not unlike The Black Keys, if The Black Keys were a bit more laid back and into the country blues and unconcerned with conquering the wider world. That's not to imply that Mike Hosty and Mike Byars are in any way idle. Indeed, it seems that they are rarely still for more than 15 minutes or so. In 2011 alone, Hosty played a staggering 250-something concerts, weddings, parties, barbecues, get-togethers, shindigs and one-man-shows. Damn! Is there a harder working man in Oklahoma showbiz whose name isn't Wayne Coyne? It seems unlikely. Make sure and get there early, because the Cotton Bowl's on the TV for all ya'll who aren't driving down to Jerry World to see Arkansas take on Kansas State. It's an 18-and-older show, and if you get there before halftime, you don't have to pay the cover.
ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute)
9 p.m. Revolution. $10.
Look: there are Led Zeppelin people and there are Black Sabbath people. That's just the way that it is, and I won't go into all the reasons why some folks might be drawn to one over the other. But I am a through-and-through, till-the-day-I-die Sabbath freak. "Observe the Sabbath" might be God's fourth commandment, but on my own personal stone tablets it's No. 1, forever and ever amen. I think Zep is OK and all — and the third album is great — but I just don't think you can love both bands. You can like both of them, or you can like one and love the other, but nobody's heart is big enough to honestly love both of those bands. This is a source of some friction in my house, but that's probably getting too personal. Moving on, a few years back I saw a Sabbath tribute band, which will remain nameless, and even though I really wanted it to be good, it was dreadful. Their Geezer was OK and their Bill Ward was OK and their Tony Iommi was OK, but their Ozzy was missing some fingers, and more importantly, he couldn't sing like Ozzy. On the other hand, Zoso is, by all accounts, transcendently awesome, the members bearing uncanny resemblances to their real-world counterparts in Zep, plus they can play like them, which is really saying something because even though my heart belongs to Sabbath, John Bonham is hands down the greatest rock drummer ever — maybe even the only rock drummer ever. So while I pine away for a great Sab tribute, I'll be very happy for all you Zepheads out there, losing your minds as Zoso soars through "Into the Light" and "Over the Hills and Far Away" and all your other faves.