THURSDAY 3/7-SATURDAY 3/9
ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
3:30 p.m. Barton Coliseum. $8.
While football is probably always going to be the king sport of Arkansas, there's something to be said for a great game of high school basketball. Sure, nobody on the basketball court is getting his or her teeth rattled by a bone-crushing hit (or shouldn't, anyway), but you also don't have to plant your butt on a liquid-nitrogen-cooled aluminum bleacher in order to watch a game. That counts for a lot in my book. Even beyond being out of the weather, though, there's just the poetry of the five best of our'n against the five best of your'n, with young folks dueling it out for a fleeting moment of victory under the lights. Here, the state's best B-ball teams go head to head for all the marbles, with what's sure to be copious amounts of soaring triumph and heartbreaking defeat on display. DK
WATER LIARS, THE SEE
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Mississippi duo Water Liars have been road-doggin' it extra hard for the last couple years now. These guys know from cheap coffee and chaffed asses and hangovers and road dust and the other assorted afflictions that vex the traveling musician. They've played hereabouts a handful of times and I'm betting they've earned some fans with their songs, which are of fine quality and mostly range from wistful to pensive to sweetly sad. There are some really good tunes and some really nice harmonies on their new album, "Wyoming," out this week on the plucky Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum imprint, which has brought us many enjoyable albums over the years. "Wyoming" is a good record, maybe a bit sadder than their first one, maybe like a less precious/more world-weary Fleet Foxes, if I were forced to make a comparison. Also performing will be Little Rock's The See. You already know them and love them. RB
'CHALLENGING THE POLITICS OF (IN)VISIBILITY: MODERN MUTUAL AID SOCIETIES, WOMANIST POLITICS, AND GLOBAL FUNKSTRESS JANELLE MONAE'
6 p.m. Philander Smith College.
It was back in the fall of '11 that, while compiling the week's calendar events, I came across the following lecture title, by Professor Lisa Corrigan of the University of Arkansas: "Afrofuturism and the Politics of Possibility: Radical Social Love and the Career of Michael Jackson." I noted then that it was "the most badass, intriguing title ever. If you were wondering how you should go about picking a name for your lecture, this is how it is done, folks." Well now Corrigan is coming back to Central Arkansas for two more lectures, which also have rad and interesting titles. The first is "Challenging the Politics of (In)visibility: Modern Mutual Aid Societies, Womanist Politics, and Global Funkstress Janelle Monae." Now that's the kind of lecture title that will make you want to get out of the house and go learn something. And there's more: At 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Little Rock, Corrigan will deliver "The Old Jim Crow and The New Jim Crow: Tracing the Contours of Black Incarceration," with a Q&A to follow. The lecture is in conjunction with a discussion of civil rights attorney and scholar Michelle Alexander's critically acclaimed and award-winning book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." RB
BLUES REVOLUTION TOUR
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.
Back during my younger years, I was nuts on the subject of the blues, up to and including spending Spring Break 1995 driving around the Delta with my then-girlfriend in search of the best jukebox in Mississippi. Never did find it, but I did get to listen to a lot of great music — and eat some damn fine tamales — in the heart of the land that begat the genre. Opportunities to see blues-fueled music in Little Rock are mostly of the traveling roadshow variety, and a sure bet might be the upcoming appearance by Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, which promises a mix of "Delta blues and hillbilly fervor," also generally known as good ol' rock 'n' roll. The band is on a 14-city swing through Texas, Arkansas and Missouri in support of its new album "Between the Ditches," which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Blues chart. Also on the bill at this 18-and-older affair will be Jimbo Mathus, still hot on the heels of his scorching recent album, "White Buffalo," and Grammy Award-winning guitar player Alvin Youngblood Hart. Sounds like a good time to me. DK
BARD BALL 2013: 'TAMING OF THE BREW'
7 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $75.
William Shakespeare was not only a genius writer, but also an actor, a double-whammy of a profession that — in my considerable experience with writers and actors — probably means he could drink an alcoholic polar bear right under the table. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Celebrating the connection between booze and Billy Shakes is Bard Ball 2013, a benefit in support of Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Up for grabs will be a Falstaff-worthy slate of food, live entertainment and suds, with Starving Artist Cafe supplying the grub and several local breweries, including Vino's, Diamond Bear and Marshall Brewing Co., filling the taps. Would I were in an alehouse in North Little Rock! I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety. DK
MAINLAND DIVIDE, GUARDIAN ALIEN, ZS, FISTER
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $3.
I have spent a goodly amount of time listening to Guardian Alien's singularly mind-exploding psychedelic rock album "See the World Given to a One Love Entity," released in 2012. The 38-minute, single track album doesn't just explode your mind (though it does, for sure). It puts it back together. After all the bits of your mind have been jettisoned to unfathomable reaches of the cosmos by the violent initial blast of this beautiful yet intensely jarring music, those trillions upon trillions of bits of consciousness are pulled back toward the center — toward your empty head — almost as fast, until all the pieces are put back in place and a shimmering sense of eternal calm and wellbeing washes over you as the album fades out and the multiversal oneness smiles in pure, loving benevolence. And that's what it's like to listen to Guardian Alien's excellent record "See the World Given to a One Love Entity." I must point out that the band's founder Greg Fox (formerly of the band Liturgy) is not so much a "drummer" in the traditional sense as he is an eruption of kaleidoscopic rhythmic energy that goes from blast-beat blur to waves of rolling/crashing/thundering musicality, utterly transcending the antiquated yet well-meaning notions of timekeeping and "what a drummer is supposed to do," if that makes sense. And my goodness, the other band members are no slouches either, as is evident from recorded material. So it'll be rad to see the band play live. On tour with them is their friend-band Zs. Even though they've been around more than a decade, I only just now a few minutes ago listened to Zs (sorry!) but it makes me think of The Contortions at one of those Halloween coverup shows and they're playing the music of Conlon Nancarrow somehow? I'm thinking specifically of the Zs song "In My Dream I Shot a Monk." I don't know, there are saxophones and yelling and turn-on-a-dime acrobatics and skronk all over the damn place. Little Rock's Mainland Divide will headline the show, bringing the instrumental, ambient-informed post-rock for your listening enjoyment. St. Louis's Fister will bring the bleak, heavy-riff crushing-ness. In all, an intriguing bill and hey — it's $3! RB
9 p.m. Juanita's. $22 adv., $25 day of.
According to my sources, the forthcoming Clutch album "Earth Rocker" is a more straight-ahead rocker, with any jamming tendencies reined in. I listened to the title track (the record's not out until March 19) and it's definitely a rocker. In their bio, the band members cite Professor Longhair as a big influence, along with Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Fugazi and Bad Brains which, hell yes. "Maybe people expected us to go more acoustic or bluesy, but this album definitely showcases a riffs-in-your-face kind of style," guitarist Tim Sult said. "These songs ended up being faster and a bit more rocking." Of course, it's still Clutch, so expect big, groove-heavy riffin' galore. Openers are ultra-bitchin' British doom-meisters Orange Goblin, Lionize and Scorpion Child. RB