Here are the other nominees.
Results on Friday.
Pianist Carl Mouton leads the weekly jam session at The Afterthought. 8 p.m., free.
Karaoke everywhere: Cornerstone Pub and Grill in Argenta, Prost in the River Market and Denton's in Benton. All 8 p.m., all free.
Part time New Orleanian Harry Shearer ("Spinal Tap," Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and dozens others on "The Simpsons") unveils his new documentary "The Big Uneasy" tonight at theater's across the country. It'll run, in most places including Little Rock, for one night only, timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The ensuing devastation was not the effects of a natural disaster. It was man made, Shearer and his panel of experts argue.
The Times-Picayune offers a preview.
The film screens at 7:30 p.m. at Rave.
Here are the best videos from Saturday night that we've come across (continued on the jump). Let us know if we missed any. Above Patti Smith doing "Wing" with Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp on guitar.
Fistful of Mercy with Eddie Vedder doing "Restore Me."
What a much-needed alternative to the navel-gazing "me, me, me" pasture of indie bands. This basement-punk outfit is one of the most ambitious rock acts in recent memory. Now take "ambitious" and replace it with "intelligent," "important," "complex," "inspired," "celebrated" or "straight-up exhilarating" for a quick describe-all of these new New Jersey darlings. The band's debut album, 2008's "The Airing of Grievances" was an instant classic of the genre. Triumphant, unhinged and relentlessly melodic, the outfit drew its spazzed-out sound from guitar heroes Dinosaur Jr. and U.K. folk-punkers The Pogues, all the while alluding to Shakespeare, Camus and Dutch master Pieter Bruegel. Soon after being embraced by the notoriously elitist taste-makers, front man/history buff Patrick Stickles began cavorting as a glam-rock Ulysses S. Grant while writing the follow-up, "The Monitor," an expansive concept album about the Civil War. Or growing up in small town New Jersey. Or the degeneration of a country at-large. Interpretation aside, it's an electric, domineering opus full of punk suites and retooled, shanty Irish jigs as shambolically drunk as it is defiantly whip-smart, belligerently walking (and puking on) the divide between "exhilarating" and "self-indulgent" for an epic 65 minutes.
Between screaming guitar solos, lugubrious, wailing sincerity and spoken word samples drawn from Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Stickles unites the "never say die" punk ethos with 1860s fierce determination, bending time and history to draw a short, thick line between the 1st Dragoon Calvary and Agnostic Front. Smart, wild and at the front of the pack, Titus Andronicus is bringing one of the most anticipated shows of the summer to town and one of those rare, Monday night treats in Little Rock that can't be passed up. It's a shoo-in for our pick of the week. Wicked Good, the local supergroup that gets better and better with each show, and The See, Little Rock's anthemic answer to the night's headliners, provide support.
"127 Hours," Danny Boyle's James Franco-starring follow-up to "Slumdog Millionaire," is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who amputated his own arm after being trapped for nearly five days by a boulder he got stuck between during a climb in Robbers Roost, Utah. Star power aside, that might be the toughest movie premise sell since "Alive."
But a kinetic trailer helps the cause. Fans and friends of Little Rock native John Pugh (formerly of !!!) will recognize the song that anchors the trailer as "Never Hear Surf Music Again," one of the standouts from "The Singles," the debut album from Pugh's latest band, Free Blood.
You just had to be there. Saturday’s rally for the West Memphis Three was a success on every level. The sold out crowd brought a lot of energy (and iPhones) and the performances were spot on. The night began with remarks from Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Rev. Thompson Murray and Capi Peck, a founding member of the group Arkansas Take Action. The crowd also heard from Damien Echols' wife, Lorri Davis, and saw a video message from long-time WM3 supporter Henry Rollins.
After the initial remarks, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder took the stage and played "Rise Up," one of his tracks off the "Into the Wild" soundtrack, followed by a cover of Tom Waits' "Rains on Me." Vedder was the de facto master of ceremonies, providing back-up vocals or guitar for many of the night’s performances. After a song from Austin, Texas, songwriter Bill Carter, Vedder came back out to play a soulful rendition of Bob Dylan's "The Times, They are a Changin'," followed by a raucous version of Bruce Springsteen's "Open All Night."
Arkansas Take Action held a press conference this afternoon to talk about tonight's much-anticipated event, but also, and more importantly, to talk about the West Memphis Three, new developments in the case and supporters' efforts to raise awareness. Dennis Riordan, an attorney for Damien Echols, talked about new DNA evidence that proves Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were wrongly convicted. According to a press release from ATA, DNA testing links Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims to the crime scene.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder were on hand. Both have supported the WM3 for years. Vedder said he and Pearl Jam had tried to stay in the background and help out when and where they could.
"We weren't interested in doing anything publicly before. I think Natalie and I are both in pretty well-respected bands, but I didn't think they needed a rock band on their side. That wasn't going to help their case at all. So we've been kind of silent partners in this. We knew there was going to be a time that was the right time to reawaken this case in people's consciousness. The oral argument is September 30, but the state's supreme court is looking at this case now," Vedder said.
Capi Peck, a founding member of ATA, said it's very important for people who are concerned about this case to read about it, talk to their friends and neighbors and send letters to state officials. "It's easy to educate yourself through the website. You can read about the DNA evidence, the juror misconduct. Speaking out does make a difference. It matters. We're not going away."
Arkansas is lucky Bonnie Montgomery decided to come home. Few artists have the range of talent coupled with such dedication to their home state as she does — and this unique combo was on full display at her performance last night for AETN’s "On the Front Row" series. As Montgomery said herself, it was a night of firsts. It was the first time she’s given an operatic performance, decked out in a floor-length gown and accompanied on piano; then, switching gears and changing into gingham and cowboy boots, delivered a full set of her satisfyingly raucous folk-rock.
Charming the small crowd of 60 or so guests through the whole set, she cracked jokes, sang "Happy Birthday" to her Uncle Leon who was in attendance, and reveled in the fact that so many came "all the way to Conway" to see her play. With the support of her full band, Montgomery Trucking, she belted out songs driven by the Luther Perkins-style of her guitar player, chugging along in that 4/4 tempo, an almost indigenous sound to an Eastern Arkansan. Then she moved to the piano and captivated the room with her own unique style of tongue-in-cheek parlor ballads — songs that lament the slow pace of a new lover and the jet-lag induced “Beijing Blues.”
But the highlight of the evening was the aria Montgomery sang to open the show. It was the first time a piece from her opera, "Billy Blythe" — you’ve probably heard about it by now — has been performed in front of an audience. Singing as Virginia Blythe Clinton, the pres’ mom, Montgomery’s voice embodied the grief of a woman who’s lost her husband and the determination of a woman with a young son to raise. It was striking. And if it’s any indication of what’s to come when the opera makes its debut, a whole lot more folks outside of Arkansas are going to take notice of Montgomery. Until then, go see her play and go often and be proud she’s one of our own.
The broadcast of "AETN Presents: On the Front Row with Bonnie Montgomery and Montgomery Trucking" is scheduled for November.
Lost somewhat in the hoopla surrounding the Mulehead reunion this weekend: Il Libertina, another local favorite from that era (circa 1999 to 2003) is getting back together
tonight Saturday at White Water. And there's going to be mad shit talking, according to Il Libertina's Graham Cobb.
"Kerby texted me a few weeks back and said, 'Wouldn't it be great if Il Libertina reunited to open for Mulehead?' And I wrote back, "Yeah, it'd be great for everyone except Mulehead to have to follow us."
"We were brash, aggressive and cocky," Cobb said. "I mean, really we were nice guys and everyone knew it, but we told ourselves if we acted like the best band around, we'd sound like it."
Look for Il Libertina, which also includes Joshua Bentley (Battery, Big Cats), Paul Bowling (Trusty, Dangerous Idiots) and Marcus Lowe (Battery, Parachute Woman), to wear a snarl tonight, Cobb said.
"I told the guys we should be personally be offended that they've given us 10 days to get ready for this."
Even with the short prep time, Cobb said the band had practiced once and run through 12 or 14 songs, mostly off the debut self-titled record Zen Ark release, and didn't miss a beat.
Il Libertina takes the stage at 10 p.m. Saturday at White Water. Tickets are $12 at the door.
'VOICES FOR JUSTICE'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $25.
It's inching close to two decades. For more than 17 years, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley have been imprisoned for a crime a growing number believe they didn't commit. Soon, the so-called West Memphis 3 will face their best opportunity yet to prove they were wrongly convicted. To raise awareness, the WM3 advocacy nonprofit Arkansas Take Action has organized "Voices for Justice," a star-studded rally to be held beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at Robinson Center Music Hall.
On Sept. 30, the Arkansas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Damien Echols' appeal for a new trial. According to the arguments filed with the court by national legal organizations, new DNA testing and forensic evidence — along with evidence that the original jury foreman engaged in blatant misconduct — prove that Echols, who currently sits on Arkansas's death row, was wrongly convicted of murder.
"In late April, we learned oral arguments were going to be Sept. 30," Echols' wife, Lorri Davis, said earlier this week. "And of course that was real hard to take because that's five months away. So I started thinking, 'Why not use the time in a really positive way that would bring people together?' For longtime supporters. To try to educate people. But most importantly, to send a message to the state of Arkansas: We've done our work, we've proved our case and [the Arkansas Supreme Court] needs to do the right thing and end this injustice."
Davis, who's also a co-founder of Arkansas Take Action, made the event national news when she got two of the cause's fiercest — and most famous — champions on board: Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and The Dixie Chick's Natalie Maines.
Cool Shoes returns for their monthly dance party; this time around, Cool Shoes regulars DJ Wolf-E-Wolf and Sleek man the decks at the Downtown Music Hall stage, 10 p.m., $5 over 21, $8 under 21.
The Arkansas-born, Austin-residing Ouachita brings its dusky take on '70s Southern rock to the brave souls at Midtown Billiards, 12:30 a.m., $8 non-members.
High-energy classic rockers Katmandu play a free show at Capi's, 8:30 p.m.
The party rock band familiar to Little Rock clubbers and nightlifers, Boom Kinetic, plays Sticky Fingerz, 10 p.m., $8.
Juanita's hosts promoters I Love the Good Life's monthly Zodiac party with Final Fridays: The Virgo Zodiac Affair, 9 p.m., $5 early admission.
Super-sized Springfield, Mo., family band Big Smith brings its backwoods, traditional sounds to Revolution; local country deconstructionists Mockingbird Hillbilly Band pick and grin first, 8:30 p.m., $8.
Vino's hosts a thumping, flashing night of techno with a house music dance party, 8 p.m., $5.
Conway's long-time home for metal, Soundstage, brings a night of thrashing and wailing with Safe to Shore, Forever Eternal, Medic Red and Kingdom Under Siege, 8 p.m., $7.
Singer/songwriter Shannon Boshears plays Markham Street Grill and Pub, 9 p.m.
At Sonny Williams' Steak Room, Thomas East rounds out his standing weekend stint as house pianist, 7 p.m.
At the Weekend Theater, the "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" continues its run, 7:30 p.m., $14-$18.
Friday and Saturday
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $10-$12.
The plan was in place. Mulehead, arguably Little Rock's most popular band in the late '90s and early '00s, was set to reunite earlier this year at Riverfest. And it would get plum billing: playing just before Lucero and The Black Crowes. The guys in the group got excited, started telling friends and began to practice. Three weeks later, Riverfest called back and told front man Kevin Kerby that Mulehead had been bumped — for Uncle Kracker.
Still, the Riverfest debacle planted a seed. With urging from Last Chance Records' Travis Hill, the band booked White Water for this weekend's two-night stand. It'll be the first time Kerby, guitarist Dave Raymond, drummer Geoff Curran and bassist Brent LaBeau have played together since a thrown-together gig during Towncraft week in 2007 and, before that, since 2004.
For the last decade, this plaintive, M.O.R. college-country act bypassed loud, national exposure in favor of relentlessly touring of small towns and college circuits, pushing their own releases and winning over regional radio stations, eventually finding itself with a major label deal and a notoriously dedicated fan base in spite of its relative anonymity in the world of big country. By taking this more personal, road-tripping route of bringing big music to small crowds, the Eli Young Band, fronted by long-time collaborators Mike Eli and James Young, come around often and return to ever-growing crowds.
The sound, however? It's about what you'd expect: an inoffensive, beige mash of everything in the middle of the dial, all seemingly drawn from an old Parade Magazine's weekly Columbia House CD Club insert. New country, '90s rock, classic adult-contemporary — it's all there in some safe, shapeless blah. But it's a potent blah that consistently fills up theaters and clubs with excited fans who sing along to every word sung by the "Eagles by way of Blake Shelton" easy-goers. Recently, the band's expanding popularity has earned it airtime on country music stations, opening spots for the big-timers like the Dave Matthews Band, Alan Jackson and Gary Allan and the record for the longest running single on Billboard's country charts with "When It Rains," a twangy, earnest piece of musical loneliness made for gray mornings. Expect this to bring out legions of devotees.
It's more of a meltdown than a mashup.
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