- NEW TRADITIONALIST
9 p.m., the Village. $15-$30.
Southern rock feeds into Chris Cagle's sound more than honky-tonk touchstones like Hank Williams and George Jones. Still, in today's popular country landscape, where big, bright pop artists like Big and Rich and Carrie Underwood rule the roost, Cagle almost figures in as a traditionalist. Even amid guitar rave-ups, the Louisiana native knows how to get at the heart of the new country landscape. He's got a coming-of-age track called “Wal-Mart Parking Lot” and another, lest you don't get the message, titled “Country by the Grace of God.” With a new single, “What Kinda Gone,” steadily climbing up the charts, and a forthcoming album with the same name, Cagle comes to town to perform with Chuck Gatlin, a Benton-reared country singer whose star seems to be rising. Like Cagle, Gatlin's sound rests firmly on Southern rock and old-fashioned Southern values. Sponsored by KSSN, the concert is Bob Robbins' annual “Toy Hill” event for Toys for Tots. Admission is $15 with a toy.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $12 adv./$15 d.o.s.
You better get your tickets early. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band always packs 'em in when they come to town. Long the standard bearers for the New Orleans brass band sound, the group has only broadened its appeal in the last several years with a prominent guest spot on Modest Mouse's “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” and their own latest album, “Funeral for a Friend.” A presence in New Orleans since 1977, Dirty Dozen has maintained a commitment to improvisation and genre mixing through various lineup changes, blending bebop, jazz standards and, especially, R&B with traditional brass band music. Their influence on the genre is unquestionable. Expect an instrumental get-down with two trumpets, two saxes, a trombone, a honking sousaphone, a bassist and a funky drummer. Local act Weakness for Blondes melds blues with meandering guitar workouts and a rhythm section geared for dancing. They'll open the show.
‘KEELY AND DU'
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
Never afraid to tackle controversial material, the Weekend Theater presents Jane Martin's Pulitzer-nominated drama centered on the abortion debate. Keely, who works two jobs to take care of her invalid father, is raped by her alcoholic, estranged husband. In terror of hurting her child — because she knows it will be a part of him, too — she seeks an abortion. But outside of a clinic, a religious pro-life group kidnaps her and plans to hold her until she gives birth. In confinement, Du, a grandmotherly former nurse, is Keely's constant companion and caretaker. A love-hate relationship between the women emerges, with, as the Weekend Theater describes it, “each tiptoeing toward mutual empathy.” Ralph Hyman, the theater's artistic director, directs the play.
HIP HOP COUP
8 p.m., Vino's. $5.
Almost a decade ago, a group of likeminded students at UALR pooled their resources and started throwing massive hip-hop shows. Put off by the commercial movement of rap, the group, which called itself Under the Ground, aimed to return the culture to its roots, with emphasis on touchstones like MC battling and turntablism. Lately, UTG has been inactive, though its alums are ubiquitous in the scene — g-force, Dirtbag and 607 chief among them. So it's fitting that a new group of young hip-hop traditionalists is emerging to carry the flame. Blockade is a group of teenagers who formed during “Hip Hop School,” an after school hip-hop education program directed by TJ Deeter with guidance provided by a number of UTGers. Though fresh-faced, the six young rappers in Blockade come just as hard as anyone on the local scene, and they feature the acrobatic dancing team the Yung Stars. They'll perform along with the 4X4 crew, an enterprising collective of six rappers, a dance troupe and a DJ. All in their early 20s, the 4X4 has its hand in everything. They perform frequently. They've put out two volumes of the excellent local compilation “Radio Ain't Ready,” and they host a web/public access TV show called “Rocktown Lockdown.” They'll be filming the concert, which will also include a performance by 607, who is both an early member of UTG and an instructor in Hip Hop School. Plus, up-and-coming dancers and MCs will battle it out for $50 in prize money.
8 p.m., the Village. $22-$32.
The world's fascination with smashing fruit continues unabated. With his giant mallet, the “Sledge-O-Matic,” Leo Gallagher, who gained comedy fame in the '80s (but might only register to today's young folk as someone “The Simpsons” and Dave Chappelle occasionally make fun of), continues to bring out crowds at more than 100 dates a year, smashing not just fruit, but also computer keyboards, Big Macs, cottage cheese and chocolate milk. The self-professed “ex-hippy” uses the props to rail against consumerism. Expect a variety of props (everything from trampolines to adult-sized Big Wheels) as well as a number of songs (like the national anthem rewritten as an anti-ode to Osama Bin Laden —“O-bomb-a Bin Laden/on top of his noggin” etc.). In fact, aspiring songwriters, Gallagher asks on his website for bands to contact him if they're interested in putting music to his lyrics. This could be your big break. Or it could be a chance to don your raincoat and see how many watermelon seeds you can get in your hair.
10 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $6.
Few local bands in the last several years emerged with more buzz than Grand Serenade. When they first came on the scene three years ago, playing shimmering Brit-pop, people seemed to focus on three things about them: That they were from Heber Springs, that they were young — or at least young looking — and that they were cultivating an ever-growing throng of female fans. Rumors swirled that they were still in high school. That their music would soon appear on “The O.C.” (OK, that one was mostly perpetuated by me, but it would've made sense.) Their early shows were generally full and everyone in front of the stage knew the words. At the end of sets, or fairly often in the middle of them, lead singer Kyle Mays would flip his guitar picks into the crowd. Then, with intermittent live exceptions, the dudes fell out of the limelight. Turns out they were just holed up making more of that shimmering pop. On Saturday, they'll celebrate the release of their first full-length, “Lean Times” (Max Recordings), a rich album full of infectious material that's sure to have the girls back up front.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $6.
Call it the best of '40s and '50s nostalgia. Devil Doll blends lounge-style jazz with spirited rockabilly and, well, sex. Though it's technically the name of the full band, Devil Doll is, for all practical purposes, the nom de stage of Colleen Duffy — a voluptuous, raven-haired pin-up who dresses equal parts Dita Von Teese and Jessica Rabbit. With a massive pompadour and blood-red lipstick, Duffy sings sultry, smoky ballads that, at a moment's notice, turn into rave-ups that have an almost punk-rock edge. Self-dubbed the “Queen of Pain,” Duffy says she's “puttin' the sex back in rock 'n' roll.” Even if the sex never left, '50s fetishists are sure to lap up Devil Doll's flirtations with burlesque.
J. RODDY WALSTON
AND THE BUSINESS
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.On the strength of two raucous shows in Little Rock, J. Roddy Walston and the Business have amassed a feverish local buzz. Based in Baltimore, the four-piece plays unhinged, no-frills, piano-driven rawk. One gets the sense that the dudes come from indie-rock backgrounds, and initially dipped an ironic toe in what they call “good-time rock 'n' roll,” and found it so damn fun, they've gone all in. Everyone's bushy, with handlebar mustaches and beards, and most all the Business have long, curly manes, geared for whipping around during long guitar workouts. For all the Thin Lizzy, JRWATB rock it Little Richard style, too, courtesy, largely, of front man J. Roddy, whose hands and ass seem to always be in the air. When the fellas kick it into gear, everyone dances. Filling out the healthy bill: Glossary, an alt-country-tinged indie rock act from Murfreesboro who make plaintiveness sound good. Plus, everyone's favorite local-boys-done-good, the American Princes, who have a new album in the can that they're sure to be eager to share. They'll be playing sans Collins Kilgore, but David Slade has got plenty of winning material to fill a set.