Paddy Keenan plays Conundrum Music Hall on Friday.
Black Iron Gathering — Five Points really wants to become your go-to destination for outdoor concerts. Hot on the heels of a surprisingly adventurous lineup for the neighborhood’s St. Pat’s festival in March comes a new season of Five After Five, a six-week series stocked with hyper-accessible locals, most of which were featured among this year’s green-beer distractions. First up is Columbia’s own Black Iron Gathering, a serviceable shout-along folk outfit getting far more mileage out of Flogging Molly’s ragged Irish shtick than should be possible in 2014. — Jordan Lawrence
Five Points Fountain: 6:30 p.m., free; fivepointscolumbia.com.
Finesse Band — There are cover bands, and then there are entertainers–outfits that take even the playing of current top 40 tunes seriously. Popular local party crew The Finesse Band falls into the latter category, with guitarist Terence Young anchoring a lineup that rips through Earth, Wind & Fire; Prince; The Gap Band; Maze and more. — Kevin Oliver
Township Loading Dock: 5:30 p.m., free; 576-2350; thetownship.org.
Jacob Johnson — There’s something inviting and familiar about Jacob Johnson, a versatile songwriter and acoustic guitarist. His James Taylor-ish ballads, like “Pamlico Sound” and “Count Your Blessings,” sway like hammocks anchored to palm trees; his breezy, Jason Mraz-y funk-folk tunes, like “Try” and “Me and Jack Kerouac,” bounce and jive. But his instrumentals are his strongest suit, songs like “Feed the Birds” and “8 O’Clock Jive” imbued with latticework melodies and a keen sense of internal narration. That might seem like a dig at his lyrical chops, and maybe it is. But Johnson’s an incredible talent on the acoustic guitar, and his fantastic fretwork alone makes him a must-see. — Patrick Wall
Red Door Tavern: 8 p.m., $3; reddoortavern.net.
Death of Paris, Sandcastles, MyBrother MySister — Death of Paris has been a promising local commodity for a few years now, delivering by-the-numbers electro-pop with confidence. MyBrother MySister, on the other hand, is relatively new — to the local scene and to rock music in general — but it doesn’t show. Riffs are rattled off fast and crunchy, and lyrics are spewed with disciplined intensity. Sandcastles — which along with Cairo Fire and Trendsetter are the connective tissue for this five-band bill — love both rock and electronica, delivering vehement emotion with bright synths and expressive hooks. — Michael Spawn
New Brookland Tavern: 7 p.m., $8; 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Paddy Keenan — The “[INSERT MUSICIAN HERE] is the Hendrix of [INSERT INSTRUMENT HERE]” is a tired trope, a lazy man’s shorthand for saying said musician is, like, really good at his or her instrument. So to hear Paddy Keenan described as the Hendrix of the uillean pipes — the national bagpipe of Ireland — is praise, sure, but how high? Such a statement belies, for one, Keenan’s remarkable improvisational skill, an attribute that puts him closer to Coltrane than Hendrix. Point is, Paddy Keenan’s a remarkable musician who, on the uillean pipes at least, eludes easy comparisons. — Patrick Wall
Conundrum Music Hall: 8 p.m., $15 ($12 advance); 250-1295, conundrum.us.
Pharaohs in Space — Local trio Pharaohs in Space specialize in minor anthems and short, guitar-centric romps. And while there isn’t enough raw sexuality to shift the band’s well-meaning pop-rock into real blues territory, it’s not for lack of trying, and the time may still come when they pull their disjointed influences together. — Michael Spawn
Utopia: 8 p.m., free; 782-8522
Big Daddy Love, Pinna — If Big Daddy Love toned down its bluegrass impulses, it could be a legitimately good rock & roll band. There’s nothing wrong with Appalachian rock, but it feels like this group — dynamic and talented, especially in the rhythm section — is held back by its reliance on unnecessary mountain music embellishments. With Pinna. — Michael Spawn
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $8 ($5 advance); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Foxfield Music Fest — More interesting than the music — largely consisting of standard and proficient fare from punk’s more emotive, radio-ready corners, along with some softer odds and ends — is the fact that Foxfield can even host a festival. Last month, the tiny speck of a bar, situated in a quiet corner of Rosewood, entertained The Body — one of metal’s heaviest and most brutal outfits — and allowed fearsomely blackened hardcore contingent Young and in the Way to rock a nighttime set on their patio (situated little more than 200 feet from a clutch of cozy little houses). With four stages and more than 30 mostly loud acts slated for this intimate festival, one can’t help but wonder how far Foxfield can push its luck before it runs out. — Jordan Lawrence
Foxfield Bar and Grille: 11 a.m.-11 p.m., $10-$15; facebook.com/foxfieldbar.
Huey Mack — Nowadays, it’s pretty commonplace for an artist to blip onto Billboard’s radar before disappearing back into dive bars and close-quarter venues. Such is the plight of Huey Mack, whose high-arcing crossover pop-rap record Pretending Perfection debuted at No. 89 on the Billboard 200. But its one-week stay might be the better indication of Mack’s future, as few of his college-bro rhymes make any distinctive impression. But, hey: Prove me wrong, kid. Patrick Wall
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $14 ($12 advance); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Bad Veins — This unusual Ohio-based pop-rock outfit has an obvious love for the intricate string and horn orchestrations of Sufjan Stevens, but also a seemingly incongruous affinity for widescreen, stadium-rattling choruses a la The Killers. Despite this lushly layered sound, frontman Benjamin Davis prefers to work as a duo, utilizing a vintage reel-to-reel tape player to flesh out the live arrangements. As bizarre as it sounds, the effect — when it works — is enchanting. Dextra opens. — Kyle Petersen
New Brookland Tavern: 8 p.m., $4; 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Easel — Before even the blank canvas comes the easel, the framework on which you put it, and the triptych that forms this improv jazz outfit of the same name makes for a pretty great framework: Swiss reedist Christoph Erb and Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm comprise the trio’s melodic limbs, with drummer par excellence Michael Zerang providing rhythmic counterweight. The players’ familiarity — Erb and Lonberg-Holm duetted on the noisy and pointillist Screw and Straw; Zerang delivered sharp punctuation to Erb’s sumptuous sax on their 2011 trio record with Jim Baker — provides an interesting foundation, but like all improv groups, it’s a blank canvas that always starts on the easel. — Patrick Wall
Conundrum Music Hall: 9 p.m., $8; 250-1295, conundrum.us.
Whitechapel — Whitechapel’s hyper-aggro deathcore is built for the mosh, its vitriolic, Metal Blade-cosigned belligerence built on clean, old-fashioned Southern angst. Indeed, the Tennessee sextet’s forthcoming Our Endless War projects hostilities onto its own audience: “You are nothing / We are everything / You are nothing / Without us,” Phil Bozeman growls in “The Saw is the Law,” which leans its pro-Deep South philippic toward Sepultura’s groove-metal; the grayscale riff-breakdown-repeat “Mono” ends with a dour refrain of, “Stop whining for a better life / Just kill yourself / No one cares / Kill yourself.” It ain’t at all cheery — but you’re probably going to a Whitechapel gig to unleash some misanthropic aggression anyway. — Patrick Wall
New Brookland Tavern: 6 p.m., $20 ($17 advance); 791-4413, newbrooklandtavern.com.
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink is now open! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
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.
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!
New Year’s Eve at Social
Don’t miss this Black and White Affair featuring Kap Slap. Tickets available online!
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.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season:
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Real Estate Spotlight
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