Well, for all the music conferences and festivals that come through town, some of which seem like nothing more than attempts to line promoters' pockets, the International Pop Overthrow at The End this weekend offers an embarrassment of riches with a minimum of fuss. Perhaps what is most appealing is the stylistic and generational breadth (from twentysomethings to fiftysomethings). Lest you didn't know, a lot happened between Pet Sounds and Welcome Interstate Managers.
Friday's lineup features some of Nashville's best fresh-faced power pop, including Jetpack, Adam McIntyre and Popular Genius. (Attention lonely guys: if even a few of the female fans on Popular Genius' myspace page show up, it's worth the trip. Don't believe me? Look for yourself.) But Friday's gringos are just as intriguing: New Yorker Sean Altman, former Rockapella member and co-writer of the Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? theme song, and Elephant 6-influenced Austin poppers The Channel (also playing 6 pm Friday at Grimey's).
Saturday, Nashville's pop elder (well, not too elder) statesmen, Bill Lloyd and Walter Egan ("Magnet and Steel"), are joined by ace producer/sideman/artist-in-his-own-right Will Kimbroughwho's probably got as many album credits in the last couple years as Music Row's busiest session playersand the sunny-day sounds of the Luxury Liners, just in time for spring. Also on Saturday: Chicago power-poppers The Valley Downs, fronted by the bubbly Marianne Shimkus, and L.A. band Barry Holdship Four who rev up their pop with some old-school rockabilly.
♦ Speaking of Bill Lloyd, while his cover-band appearances with The Long Players are always a treat, it's a pleasure to hear him perform his own wry, impeccably crafted power pop, which happens less and less frequently in Nashville these days. He'll have two decades of sterling material to draw from when he plays The Basement 9 p.m. Wednesday at The Basement with opener Newton Dominey.
♦ Country artist Steve Azar headlines Saturday night's "The Art of Joyful Living," a honky-tonkin' benefit for Christ the King School's music and arts programs. Joining Azar and emcee Billy Block are pulp-country chanteuse Kristi Rose, Chris Walters, hit songwriter George Teren, and The Big Happy (featuring Block, his wife Jill, Tom Mason and Pru Clearwater). The music starts at 6:45 p.m., but arrive early for the silent auction and a light dinner. Tickets are $25 at the Mercy Lounge.
♦ The Belcourt's weekly Kids' Court programming on Saturday mornings has taken on a life of its own: recent weeks have found the theater filled with upwards of 200 kids, and last month's Olde Worlde Theatre production of Rapunzel literally turned away people after selling out. This week's offering is the cartoon "Curious George Rides a Bike," shown simultaneous in English and Spanish in each of the theater's auditoriums. Also on the bill: "The Great White Man-Eating Shark" (don't worry, parents: it's a comedy) and "Flossie & the Fox." Tickets for the 10 a.m. show are $3.
♦ Located in downtown Franklin, Full Circle Art is dedicated to "sharing art in all of its forms to communicate peace, hope and love," according to owners Yvette Renee Parrish, Massood Taj and Paul G. Crommelin. Lord knows we need more of that in the world (especially in Williamson County). This Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., the gallery hosts an opening for its current show, featuring the works of Ansley Black. Local bluegrass-fusion group Bee Speed provide the musical entertainment. 225 Second Ave. S. in Franklin; for more info, visit www.fullcircleart.org, or call 595-9872.