NERF HERDER GO BROADWAY: You heard it here first. Parry Gripp, of the aforementioned herders of nerf, has been busy in the theater arts, producing the musical score for the latest and greatest play to come out of our beloved theater scene in weeks, Center Stage Theater’s production of Far Away. Parry’s influences for the play’s score stemmed in part from the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic “I Put A Spell on You,” cumulating in an atmospheric soundtrack that suits this dark intellectual play, which shows Thursday through Saturday at the Center Stage Theater until April 1. And that’s the night that Nerf Herder is playing a triumphant show later at The Mercury Lounge — this is not an April Fools joke! Theater then rock? Thank you, ye gods!! — Brier Random
INDIE INVASION: March won’t go out like a lamb this year at Velvet Jones. Dance the night away on Thursday, March 30, to an overload of indie rock, starting with the Ohio-based trio Rediscover; the band Sputnik Monroe, whose music — unlike their name — is gimmick-free and refined; and singer/songwriter Hodges Taylor. And then comes April, which the Jones will kick off on Tuesday, April 4 with The Big Provider. They’ll cool things down a bit with a smoother, groovier sound that’s reminiscent of bands like The Police, with blasting vocals big enough to match. They’ll share the stage with Flame Trick. — Mary Vanderpool
FAGEN FUN: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met in the late 1960s at New York’s Bard College and then moved to L.A. in 1971, where they got jobs as songwriters with ABC/Dunhill Records. After gathering musicians and extracting a band name from William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, Steely Dan was born. Thirty-four years and a score of records later, Fagen still is rocking, evident by the March 7 release of Morph the Cat, his first solo album in 13 years. He’s been touring the nation in support of this solo release, and his March 31 show at the Arlington closes out his one-month stint. Fagen will hopefully also tap numerous selections from his past life with Steely Dan, a life that churned out decades of Grammy-winning pop songs that fans insist carry more substance than their slick arrangement may suggest. Hear Fagen tell about it live at the Arlington. Call 963-4408 for tickets. — Alastair Bland
MATH IS HARD: It’s ironic that a band with roots in math rock would add up to more than the sum of its parts. But equations be damned, The Life and Times manages to improve on the efforts its members made in their previous bands. Composed of frontman Allen Epley of cult favorite math rockers Shiner, bassist John Meredith of Someday I, and drummer Mike Meyers of Strings and Return, The Life and Times formed in 2003 in Kansas City with intent of unleashing lush, multilayered rock. Currently working on its sophomore release, the band promises proficient guitar work during the show at The Hard to Find on Tuesday, April 4. — Drew Mackie
WHO’S MIKE JONES!?!? “Still Tippin’” rapper Mike Jones is coming to the Earl Warren Showgrounds on April 1, in honor of April Fools’ Day. Who is Mike Jones, you say? For those of you not in the know, Gulf Coast rap has been sweeping the hip-hop charts with its distinctive “screwed-up” lyrical style, which Mike began furthering in his name-dropping fashion when he first hit the scene from his north Houston ’hood in 2001. From then, it’s been a fast-track to success, culminating in his 2005 debut Who Is Mike Jones?, which went platinum in less than two months. For those of you still curious about who Mike is, you can find out at the Showgrounds on Saturday. — Hudson Hornick
SOHO GOT MO’: This week, as usual, SOhO boasts a full schedule, highlighted by the sounds of a reunion show from The Messengers on Friday, March 31; then, on Sunday, April 2, watch out for Long Island, New York’s folk-pop band Telly. The week winds down on Wednesday with “vintage rockers” Big Blue Hearts, fresh off the south-by-southwest train. And then on Thursday, the debut event called NAKED from the new music marketing firm Aria Global will feature Jennifer Terran, Matthew McAvene, Jason Serfling, Ona, Stephanie Croff, and Jonas Day in an acoustic buffet. Ten percent of proceeds go to the Save Naples Coalition … Speaking of reunions, Spencer the Gardener will have a reunion show of sorts this Saturday, at the Brewhouse, when frontman Spencer Barnitz is joined by trumpeter Nate Birkey — fresh off his SOhO jazz show — and percussion wizard Cougar Estrada.