American Aquarium — North Carolina country-rock firebrand American Aquarium is fueled by sweat and booze and the bluster of frontman BJ Barham. He’s cut from the mold of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen, delivering epic tales with no-holds-barred performances. And while there’s enough twang on 2012’s Burn. Flicker. Die. to make the group seem a natural heir to the alt-country boom that emanated from its native Raleigh during the ’90s, the band’s heart is with straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll — the way John Fogerty, Levon Helm and Tom Petty intended it. With Corey Hunt Band, David A., Kenny George. — Kevin Oliver
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $10 ($12 under 21); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Party Favor — Los Angeles DJ Party Favor trades in festival trap, which splits the difference between Southern trap and big-room house, pairing the blaring synthesizers and druggy euphoria of the latter with the sonic trademarks of mid-aughts Lex Luger beats — deep 808 kick drums, twitchy hi-hat trills, downward-spiral tom rolls. There’s not a whole lot that distinguishes Party Favor from the EDM pack, but his bangers, like those on his five-part Trapped series, are built for getting turnt. — Patrick Wall
Social: 10 p.m., free; 609-4313, socialcolumbiasc.com.
Thursday 8 — Abbey Road LIVE!
There’s something cognitively jarring about a Beatles covers band that specializes in tunes that the band itself never performed live, but by all accounts Abbey Road LIVE! does a fair job bringing to life some of the world’s most influential and best-loved psych-pop tunes. Boasting a repertoire of more than a hundred songs pulled from the latter half of the Fab Four’s career, this Athens, Ga.-based band focuses less on the look and style of their originators than on producing still vital versions of these studio masterpieces.
Five Points Fountain: 6:30 p.m., free; fivepointscolumbia.com.
Thursday 8 — Bobby Houck
Those who prefer their unobjectionable pop music with more local flavor can check out this solo date from Blue Dogs leader Bobby Houck, who performs at Riverbanks Zoo’s Botanical Garden as part of the Rhythm and Blooms series. His Charleston-based band has built a healthy following over the past few years on the strength of their affable, folk-leaning pop-rock, recalling ’90s successes like Edwin McCain and Gin Blossoms — albeit with a more down-home, Lowcountry style than either of those forebears. — Kyle Petersen
Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Gardens: 6 p.m., $5 (free for members); 779-8717, riverbanks.org.
Oh, Deceiver; Nepotism — If Columbia had an annual musical yearbook, Nepotism’s Black Sheep EP might have been voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in 2001. The group’s songs churn through the rap-rocking riffs of Papa Roach and Crazy Town, a sound that produced far more one-hit wonders than long-lasting careers. Nepotism plays the style about as well anyone could, but it’s still pretty late to the party. Oh, Deceiver combines grungy FM guitars with swirling AM melodies, arriving at catchy songs that likely wouldn’t fit on today’s mainstream dial. — Michael Spawn
Conundrum Music Hall: 8 p.m., $5; 250-1295, conundrum.us.
Danielle Howle + Firework Show — Sparked by the joyous folk-rock ramblings of her backing Firework Show, Danielle Howle delivers detailed narratives with smoldering pipes, reliably excelling at the singer-songwriter basics and never sounding bored of the process — an example to which every up-and-coming Palmetto State songsmith should aspire to. This weekend, she travels up from Charleston to headline the third annual Listen Inc Music Festival, benefiting local animal shelter and adoption center PETS Inc. Stalwart Columbia reggae-rocker THE Dubber also plays along with eight other acts. — Jordan Lawrence
Leaside: 1 p.m.-11 p.m, $35 ($30 each for two or more); 414-7808.
The Independents, Buried Voices — The Independents approximate what Morrissey and Glenn Danzig might have sounded like had they ever collaborated, mixing vigorous punk with moody pop, remaining emotive while still sounding like total badasses. Buried Voices and Phonic Cafe see little difference between rap and rock, while Beyond the Gallows is all death metal all the time. It’s a disjointed bill to be sure, but also one that celebrates the diversity captured within rock’s catch-all confines. — Michael Spawn
Art Bar: 7 p.m., $5; 929-0198, artbarsc.com.
Jordan Morgan Landsdowne — Jordan Morgan Landsdowne has toured under various monikers (Embers of Brave, Parkers Road) with a litany of different sounds, but his latter-day solo pursuits aspire to the gritty poeticism of Bob Dylan and the gruff growl of Tom Waits. So far, the results aren’t very consistent. Working in a vein popularized by Ryan Bingham, Landsdowne is a technically adept craftsmen with a voice that’s occasionally haunting, but his songs suffer from a sense of mindless derivation, undercutting their emotional honesty. With Dave Britt. — Kyle Petersen
Red Door Tavern: 8 p.m., $3; 803-764-5196, reddoortavern.net.
Peter Mayer — Minnesota singer-songwriter Peter Mayer injects his faith into his acoustic folk compositions more than most. Impressively, he offers these beliefs without becoming didactic or drowning in saccharine stereotypes. Writing from a Universalist point of view, his “Blue Boat Home” is in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal set to the Welsh tune also used for Charles Wesley’s “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” — Kevin Oliver
UU Coffeehouse: 8 p.m., $15-$17 ($3 students); 200-2824; uucoffeehouse.org.
Say Brother — You’ve got to hand it to Say Brother: Few other bands could play the same songs in the same local haunts for three years while remaining one of the city’s most popular live acts. So while the folk-rock outfit’s inability to produce much new material since 2012’s lithe and limber All I Got Is Time is frustrating, their first batch’s continued vitality is a testament to their raucous energy and down-home charm. But those returns have to start diminishing some time — don’t they? Say Brother hits West Columbia’s Rhythm on the River series alongside the Capital City Playboys.
— Jordan Lawrence
West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater: 6 p.m., free, rhythmontheriversc.com.
Keith Sweat, Joe — The ’90s would not have been the same without Keith Sweat, who helped popularize the fusion of funk, electronica and R&B that came to be known as new jack swing. As a solo artist, he guided “Make it Last Forever,” “Twisted” and more up the singles charts, while groups from Silk to Kut Klose and Dru Hill benefited from his gifted production — a tight, techno-funk take on modern R&B. Joe, too, released his biggest hits in the ‘90s, but he just signed a new deal with BMG that will see his 11th album, Bridges, released in July. — Kevin Oliver
Township Auditorium: 7 p.m., $49.50-$65.50; 576-2350; thetownship.org.
Locusta — I wonder what inspired the Ohio metal outfit Locusta to choose its name: the migratory insect (and occasional biblical plague), the Ancient Roman serial poisoner, or the tune of the same name from Graves of Valor’s Salarian Gate ? Probably not the latter: Locusta isn’t beholden to mosh-ready riffs, instead opting for a blackened strain of classicist American death metal (think: Immolation or Suffocation) built on sinister dissonance and viciously spiraling guitar solos. With Greenville death-thrash outfit Marrow of Earth; Axattack, a local thrash crew with an awesome name; and Waft, a Greenville black/stoner group with its own awesome name. — Patrick Wall
New Brookland Tavern: 7:30 p.m., $8 ($10 under 21); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink is now open! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
Hickory Tavern Is Now Open!
Find us on Facebook, Twitter (@TheHickoryTav), Instagram (@HickoryTavern), and visit our website for more info. 907 Senate Street in the Vista!
Going someplace cool this weekend?
Let The Backpacker help you go lightweight, comfortable and in style! Patagonia, Prana, Merrell, The North Face and more! Click for location, hours and more info.
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 6-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
New Year’s Eve at Social
Don’t miss this Black and White Affair featuring Kap Slap. Tickets available online!
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
F/T and P/T avail. Must have a clean driving record, organized and have a prof appearance. Please call for an interview or email resume to Kerry@crystalpool.com. Must bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Call 803-865-1200