THE REVIVAL TOUR
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $15.
By now, most readers of this section of the Times will be familiar with Chuck Ragan, formerly of much-loved post-hardcore quartet Hot Water Music and roots punkers Rumbleseat. He was in town in November on the solo, but this here package tour is something he started and has been doing annually since 2008. It's an all-acoustic lineup that has included such fellow travelers as Tim Barry of Avail, Ben Nichols of Lucero, Kevin Seconds of 7 Seconds and Tom Gabel of Against Me! But it's more than just the Old Punks Unplugged Show. The tour is a way for singer/songwriters to give audiences an intimate concert that celebrates the folk traditions of collaboration and spontaneity in a generally song-focused, non-rock-star atmosphere. Also, the load-in has got to be a hell of a lot easier than having four bands' worth of gear to schlep around. This time, The Revival Tour includes Ragan, Tom Gabel, Memphis fave Cory Branan, grizzled folk-shouter Nathaniel Rateliff, Dan Adriano of Chicago punkers Alkaline Trio and a series of special guests at each tour stop, this one featuring local folk-rock standout Adam Faucett.
VALLEY OF THE VAPORS
7 p.m. Low Key Arts. $7.
The Valley of the Vapors got rolling last Sunday down in The Spa City, and the unfettered rock 'n' roll revelry continues right on through Saturday night. Wednesday's lineup includes the witchy, Farfisa-fied garage rock of The Black Belles, a Nashville quartet that has the imprimatur of Jack White stamped all over it (they're on his Third Man label). The Grayces — also outta Music City — sound kind of like The Runaways mugging The Ramones. The Jukebox Romantics make a racket that falls on the scruffier, warts-n-all edge of the pop-punk map. The Svetlanas (motto: "Soviet punk since '77) are on another map entirely, specifically, one of a place where bruising street punk, vodka shots and pickled herring are a natural combo. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Yuri Landman leads a workshop that'll teach you to make your own crazy experimental guitar. At 6 p.m., there's a Pass the Hat show (i.e. secret band, secret venue; find out by asking around). Thursday's festivities include another one of Landman's workshops and a Pass the Hat show at 4 p.m. The main lineup leans toward the gnarly punk rock side of things, with Brooklyn weirdo duo Japanther, likeminded misanthropes Unstoppable Death Machines, Little Rock classic hardcore revivalists R.I.O.T.S., NYC gutter-dwellers Filthy Savage and the catchy throwback punk of Ritz Riot. Friday has a presentation on the history of rock 'n' roll from musician and teacher Phil Ajjarapu. Kicking things off at 7:30 p.m. is Projexorcism, a bizarro multimedia project that's a bit like a verging-on-bad acid trip crossed with overlapping reels of old educational filmstrips soundtracked with all manner of schizoid sonic terror. Moody indie rockers Bagheera follow that up, with Galaxy Express (one of South Korea's top rock exports), Ume (shoegazer-y guitar-pop squall from Austin) and The White Glove Test (hometown rock heroes) rounding out the evening. Saturday, there's a 16mm film workshop starting at 10 a.m., which includes an installation and discussion. The music starts at 8 p.m. with the Appalachia-by-way-of-the-San-Joaquin-Valley sounds of The Old Tire Swingers. Closing out the whole shindig is Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe, which should be a good time for anybody who digs funk-flavored sounds from southern Louisiana.
8:30 p.m. Juanita's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.
This Canadian electro-pop wunderkind was born (in 1987!) as Valerie Anne Poxleitner, but according to a 2011 story in The National Post, she legally changed her name to Lights (bold move!). Lights' 2011 album "Siberia" was produced by her fellow countrymen Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh, of the Toronto band Holy Fuck. The album epitomizes teen-pop here in The Year 2012. It's a mostly electronic kaleidoscope of sounds and influences from across the pop spectrum. There are moments of twitchy dubstep, grimy basslines, thump-thumping house beats, swells of warped synthesizers, bouncy melodies and throughout it all, Lights' crystalline vocal hooks. Fun fact: right this second (actually, riiiiight ... now!) this music is playing no fewer than 23 Urban Outfitters locations around North America. The opening act is Ambassadors.
ARGENTA FILM SERIES: P. ALLEN SMITH
6 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $8.
If you've not watched any of designer, expert gardener and all-around lifestyle media guru P. Allen Smith's TV shows or appearances on The TODAY Show or read any of his books or blog postings or listened to his new radio program on KARN 102.9 FM, you're missing out on some really great home and garden advice. I've been watching some of the videos on his YouTube channel, where he offers practical recommendations and tips about everything from how to use lavender sprigs to keep your wool sweaters smelling fresh during storage to the myriad uses of baking soda to how to plant a great fall vegetable garden and more. It's totally inspiring and useful stuff, especially for me, now that I'm into my husband, father and homeowner period and out of my awful, depressed bachelor phase. Back then, the only lifestyle innovations I ever considered were things like, "Try rubbing a dryer sheet onto your pants once in a while. It'll add another month or so between trips to the Laundromat" or "Sriracha makes everything taste like Sriracha. Use it to liven up some stale corn flakes while masking the bitter taste of desperation and the spoiled soymilk you discovered in the back of your refrigerator." Smith and filmmaker Gerry Bruno will screen some clips and discuss the creation of their YouTube channel. This event is part of the ongoing Argenta Tulip Festival.
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $6.
Ohio native Patrick Sweany plays a style of soulful electric blues that's so rock-solid and effortless-sounding that it'll appeal to the diehards and the dilettantes and all points in between. First off: guy can sing really, really well. He's not a traditionally "good" sounding singer (who ever cared about that anyway?), but it's absolutely perfect for his warmly enveloping Southern rock sound. Sweany's albums have featured such notable producers as Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and Mississippi badass Jimbo Mathus. His 2007 disc "Every Hour is a Dollar Gone" was packed with blues of all flavors (especially that groovy, ass-shaking Hill Country style), while his latest, "That Old Southern Drag," is a vintage tube amp-and Hammond-drenched romp through classic R&B, roots rock and country and pensive singer/songwriter numbers. Opening the show is the always entertaining Arkansas Renaissance woman Bonnie Montgomery. This'll be a good one, you all.
BONE THUGS -N- HARMONY
7:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $25 adv., $30 d.o.s.
Hard to believe it's been almost 20 years since Eazy-E signed Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, who released the "Creepin on ah Come Up" EP in 1994. A couple years after that, Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone saw their biggest hits with the welfare-check celebrating "1st of tha Month" and the Grammy-winning "Tha Crossroads." I still play "1st of tha Month" every month, on the first of the month. It's held up really well over the years, and it's a great way to wake up, especially with that intro, with its rooster crow, alarm clock and Marvin Gaye-inspired "Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, get up, get up, get up, get up, get up" chant and laid-back vibe. Anyways, this show features Krayzie bone and Wish Bone, with Dilemma and Arkatext. Bone Thugs -N- Harmony plays Rogue Pizza Co. in Fayetteville Sunday night at 8 p.m., $20 adv., $25 d.o.s.
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
As promised some months back, the guys from The See have emerged from the studio cocoon to deliver their first long-player, "Pretending and Ending." We got a copy of the album here at Times HQ and after a few spins, it's undeniable that this is one of the best-sounding albums to come out of Little Rock since, well, ever. The fact that the songs are great doesn't hurt either, but I really can't overstate the quality of production going on here. It's big-sounding like the best Arcade Fire tracks, but unlike that crew of Canucks, The See's big-sounding-ness skews joyful and unpretentious. I way dig those "whoa-oh" and "Hey!" group choruses on, respectively, "Storytelling" and "Hey." But the album has peaks and valleys; it's not turned up full-blast the whole time. There's a contemplative feel throughout, like the party's over and it's kind of a bummer, but everything is going to be all right. "I Missed It" is an understated lamentation underpinned with strings and piano and which culminates with a slow build and a guitar solo that has just the right touch of '80s radio rock. "Curtains" closes things out on a crashing note, with a fury of drum fills and screeching guitars. Opening the show is the charmingly left-field pop act Sea Nanners.
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
9 p.m. Revolution. $20.
The Brothers Dickinson's latest North Mississippi Allstars disc is dedicated to their father, the late, legendary Jim Dickinson. At the time of his death in August 2009, Luther was playing with The Black Crowes and Cody with The Hill Country Revue. They reconvened with bassist Chris Chew for "Keys to the Kingdom." It's a somewhat rawer affair than some of their other offerings, which are fine records, for sure, but "Keys" sounds truly inspired and includes a bunch of legendary guests, including Spooner Oldham, Mavis Staples, Ry Cooder and several others. I'm guessing there'll be a goodly number of you at this show who'll still be nursing hangovers from Friday's Patrick Sweany concert. But why not live for the moment and just fight fire with shots and rock 'n' roll? The opening band at this 18-and-older show is Powder Mill.