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To-Do List, Dec. 31

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FRIDAY 1/1

 

UNDERCLAIRE

9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $5.

 

Underclaire represents for the resilient. The day after the whole world's gone crazy all night long, the local quartet celebrates the release of its new album, “Making Sky,” with another party. Consider it a hangover cure. Underclaire, on this third album, continues to put its two-guitar-pronged attack — of Mike Mullins and Edison DeLeon — out in front, with striking lines that weave and build and come crashing together in anthemic ways. Mullins, who also writes the band's lyrics and sings, wraps everything around a song-cycle about fraternal twins. Relationship problems, a suicide and a killing spree factor in, but the darkness doesn't overwhelm the band's warm instrumental approach. The always impressive Andy Warr and His Big Damn Mouth opens along with Breakthrough. Down the road, Underclaire takes its CD release tour to White Water on Friday, Jan. 29. LM.

 

 

SATURDAY 1/2

 

ASHTRAY BABYHEAD

9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $5.

 

In my year-end rundown, I wrote that playing guitar in the Moving Front might be some secret ticket to the next level since, months after joining the band, Jeff Matika got tapped to tour with Green Day and, just months after replacing Matika, Scott Cook was dueting with Julian Lennon. But that's just a contemporary touchstone. Old heads know that this is an Ashtray Babyhead story. Yep, before they were playing on national TV and jet-setting across the country, Cook and Matika owned Little Rock stages and made really goofy tour videos blessedly still available on YouTube as part of one of the '90s great local bands. In 2008, the band, which also includes Jason Tedford and Ryan Scott, reunited for a couple of shows, where they dusted off super-poppy local hits like “Mir” and “Vilonia.” Hopefully, this gig signals that the band's starting a Big Cats'-style annual holiday tradition of reuniting. The Dangerous Idiots, which features vets of Trusty and Techno-Squid Eats Parliament, opens along with Magic Hassle. LM.

 

 

WEDNESDAY 1/6

 

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO

9 p.m., Juanita's. $15 adv., $18 d.o.s.

 

Alejandro Escovedo is a bad ass. He wears big black sunglasses on stage and plays a swaggering brand of rock 'n' roll that embraces the genre in all its fullness. Which means his music can sound punked-up here, honky-tonked there and '60s-era guitar pop-y everywhere else. He's earned the right to wander. In the '70s, he played guitar with the Nuns, a seminal San Francisco punk act that opened for the Sex Pistols at their final concert. In the '80s, he returned to his home state of Texas, where he spent time leading alt-country bands like Rank and File and the True Believers. Since the '90s, he's released a steady stream of acclaimed solo albums (No Depression named him its artist of the '90s), each one more appreciated than the one before. Especially lately. Escovedo's latest albums, “The Boxing Mirror” and “Real Animal” (produced by legends John Cale and Tony Visconti, respectively) might be the best (and best-received) of his career. LM.

FRIDAY 1/8

 

AUTO EXTRAVAGANZA

4 p.m., Statehouse Convention Center. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.

 

It's a souped-up car geek's dream. Dozens of hot rods and customs packed in tight for getting all up close and personal. Special highlights at this fourth annual include custom king George Barris' original 1966 Batmobile; a 1969 Plymouth Cuda called Gold Blowfish; a shopping area where “ladies can shop for bling and goodies!” called “Trick Chick Blvd.” (not sure they thought that one through); and a variety of live entertainment, including cover band Crisis, an Elvis tribute and Jimi Jamison, famous for singing lead in Survivor (but not on “Eye of the Tiger”) and writing and singing the “Baywatch” theme. You can get advance tickets at O'Reilly Automotives. The event runs 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. LM.

 

 

‘THE BLOODSTONE DIARIES'

9 p.m., Star Bar Lounge. Free.

 

So I'm not accused of burying the lede: “The Bloodstone Diaries” is a new web series that stars Katy Allen, wife of Kris Allen, and there's a good chance that — ZOMG! — both Allens will be in attendance at this premiere. Other things you should know about the show: The plot follows Bettie (Allen), who comes across “a mysterious jewel with amazing powers” and soon finds herself on the run from a secret group trying to reclaim the stone. It comes from the brain of Arkansas Times TV writer David Koon. Local director Gerry Bruno, who helmed the Times' 48 Hour Film Fest winner, directs. Bryan Stafford, known for his music video work with the Moving Front and American Princes, edits. And Patrick Beam, better known as Patrick the Angry Viewer, stars as a henchman. Koon, Bruno and producers Susan Altrui, Eyren Mills and Eric Wilson are looking for funding to launch the series into broader production. Koon's already written the first season. In full disclosure, the Times is co-sponsoring this premiere. Best show up early; Star Bar isn't huge. LM.

 

 

WHALE FIRE

10 p.m., White Water Tavern.

 

Finally. One of the finest young local bands to emerge lately celebrates the release of its debut EP with a concert at White Water. I say “finally” because, after forming in 2008 and performing memorably in last year's Musicians Showcase, Whale Fire hoped to release this album in the spring. But, ultimately, the band decided to recut the EP with Little Rock producer extraordinaire Will Boyd. Now that it's got something to leave behind, the quartet, which specializes in bright, hook-heavy pop-rock, plans to take the show on the road. Front man John Steel was still trying to confirm supporting acts at our press deadline. Check Rock Candy closer to the show for an updated bill. LM.

 

 

SATURDAY 1/9

 

LIL WAYNE

8 p.m., Verizon Arena. $61-$93.96.

 

After canceling a scheduled March gig at Verizon due to “scheduling conflicts,” Lil Wayne's back on the books at Verizon. And just in time. On Feb. 9, he's scheduled to be sentenced in connection to 2007 gun charges and immediately start serving what's expected to be at least an eight-month prison term. But beyond the farewell angle, who knows how this concert will go? Will we get Lil Wayne the virtuosic rapper? Or, even though “Rebirth,” Wayne's long delayed “rock” record, has been pushed back once again (hopefully to never see the light of day), Lil Wayne the marginal guitar player and terrible vocalist? Or Lil Wayne, the Auto-Tuned ringleader of Cash and Young Money? Verizon cautiously bills the concert as Lil Wayne and “special guests.” Before the tour started, Cash Money head Birdman said it would include all of Cash Money and Young Money, which could mean everyone from rocker Kevin Rudolf, British R&B dude Jay Sean and rap superstar Drake, but could just as well be Lil Chuckee and other people from Young Money you don't care about. I'm betting we'll get a little bit of all those Lil Waynes. Can't wait. LM.

 

 

TUESDAY 1/12

 

MIDLAKE

8:30 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

 

Midlake evolves. The Denton, Texas, band started out, in the early aughts, channeling “Sgt. Pepper's” and other seminal pysch-pop, but with lo-fi presentation. On its breakout sophomore album, “The Trials of Van Occupanther,” the band drew inspiration from the '70s sounds of Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young. Now, for its third release, “The Courage of Others,” due out Feb. 2, Midlake digs into British folk — Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Pentangle — music that, as lead singer Tim Smith told Pitchfork, has a “fair maiden” quality, “a more enchanted kind of thing rather than a bluesy, down-home kind of thing.” To pull off “Courage” live, the band has expanded from a five- to seven-piece, adding a pianist/flute player and a guitarist. More should be better in this case: Midlake is at its best with big, complex melodies. This should be something to behold live. Up-and-coming Denton folk singer Sarah Jaffe opens.

 

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