Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
8 p.m. Revolution. $17.
Like so many other contemporary acts, Awolnation reminds me of MGMT's first album, "Oracular Spectacular." Shorthand: it's agitated white-boy robo-funk. That's not a dis on any of these bands necessarily; it's just that that I think "Oracular" had a really far-reaching influence. Awolnation is the solo project of Aaron Bruno, formerly of the post-grunge act Hometown Hero and the lite-funk pop quartet Under the Influence of Giants. Bruno put out his first EP as Awolnation in 2010 and got a big hit right out of the gate with "Sail," a pulsing, minimal synth R&B jam about having ADD and stuff. On first listen, it doesn't even seem like that much of a song. There are only like 50 different words and maybe 12 different sounds used in the whole 4 minutes and 19 seconds and the chorus is just him yelling "Saaail! Saaail!" over and over. But the more times you hear it, the better it gets and before you know it, you're listening to it on repeat and going like, "Yeah man, I get it now, 'Saaail! Saaail!' " Macy Gray covered it recently, so there's a serious endorsement. That tune was wisely included on the first Awolnation long-player, "Megalithic Symphony," which came out last year. Of the other tracks, "Soul Wars" and "Burn it Down" stand out. They sound like somebody playing that ultra-rare Little Richard/Kraftwerk jam session bootleg LP on 78 rpm, all pumping along and Bruno's wailing like "whooo!" He goes in for legit soulful sounds as well, such as on "All I Need." His career so far seems to be mirroring the "studly rock band hunk rides electro all the way to the bigtime" path blazed recently by Sonny Moore, a.k.a. Skrillex. So will Bruno be the next Skrillex? Maybe. But he's gonna have to get a way goofier haircut and put more drops in his songs.
6 p.m. Wildwood Park. $20-$25.
What better way to kick off Arkansas Heritage Month than this right here, KUAR-FM's sixth annual Arkansas Flyer variety show? Little Rock singer/songwriter Amy Garland hosts the show, which boasts The Salty Dogs as its house band. Surely you know The Salty Dogs. The band is easily The Natural State's finest rockin' classic country revivalists and they've gigged on a regular basis over the last few years, including a recurring spot on Starving Artist's "Tales from the South" readings. The featured band at this year's Flyer is Velvet Kente. Surely you know Velvet Kente. The group won the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase back in aught-nine with stirring performances and intense singing from frontman Joshua. There'll also be the old-timey radio comedy of Invisible Radio Theater as well as a barbecue dinner and drinks, which are free with a ticket.
NERVOUS CURTAINS, NEW FUMES
8 p.m. Maxine's. $5.
Bummed-out vibes are the dominant mode on "Fake Infinity," the latest album from Dallas post-punkers Nervous Curtains. It's a piano and drums affair, swathed in buzzing washes of synthesizer that are by turns icy, dissonant, gloomy, foreboding, ominous. Listening to the album feels just a bit like sitting on the floor of a bombed out apartment at 3 a.m., staring at a mute, flickering TV set while across the hall a party full of Xanax zombies rumbles numbly toward the oblivion of dawn. Or something like that. As described on the group's bandcamp page, "This is certainly no beach party." New Fumes, also of Dallas, is a one-man psychedelic pop outfit, most recently in town opening for The Polyphonic Spree and also featured on The Flaming Lips latest album, "Heady Fwends."
TOAD SUCK DAZE
5 p.m. Simon Park. Free.
I'd always thought the name Toad Suck Daze was a nod to good ol' Bufo alvarius, a.k.a., the Colorado River toad, whose psychedelic venom has inspired story and song. But not so, according to The Encyclopedia of Arkansas. The name actually refers to a spot on the Arkansas River called Toad Suck, which got its name because the boatmen who operated the ferry "frequented a tavern there, and it was said that they would suck on the bottle until they swelled up like toads." And besides, that type of amphibian doesn't even live around these parts. Anyways, Toad Suck Daze is a free music and arts festival that's packed to the gills with all manner of fun and games, such as Stuck on a Truck, an endurance test in which the person who manages to keep one hand on a Ford F150 the longest will win that Ford F150. There'll be music, as well, with headliners such as '90s R&B superstars En Vogue on Friday, Drake White, Randy Houser and country tunesmith Jamey Johnson on Saturday and Jonny Diaz and Todd Agnew on Sunday.
'A ... MY NAME IS ALICE'
7:30 p.m. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.
"A ... My Name is Alice" is a musical revue that originally opened in 1983. Conceived by Joan Micklin Silver and Julianne Boyd with tunes written by several other people, the play is made up of several self-contained scenes that all have to do with relationships between women of various ages and backgrounds. Some of the topics explored include lifelong friendships, sibling rivalries and an exchange between a 50-something widow and a teen-ager. Most of the scenes are songs, but the show is interspersed with a few monologues and a series of poems as well. Several of the songs, including the title tune, as well as "Trash," "For Women Only Poems" and "Welcome to Kindergarten, Mrs. Johnson" were written by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the co-creators of the smash TV series "Friends." "These cast members are incredibly unique, wildly talented, and each has a different level of life experience that they bring to the stage," Director Duane Jackson said in a statement about the show. "Rehearsal conversations are a hoot, as you can imagine, with me being the only male involved in the show. There is a lot of laughter and love with this cast. And I have learned so much more about life from these ladies."
CINCO DE MAYO FIESTA
Noon. Clear Channel Metroplex. $10.
Despite what that Corona-soaked dude told you last year at that Cinco de Mayo patio rager, May 5 is not Mexican Independence Day. That'd be Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates El Dia de la Batalla de Pueblo, a date in 1862 when Mexican forces at Puebla defeated an army of French occupiers. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is mostly a regional celebration, big in the state of Puebla, and not so much elsewhere. In the States, the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican culture and, along with St. Patrick's Day, one of our boozier holidays. But of course, there's much more to it than Modelo and margaritas. And you can experience it at this Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, sponsored by LULAC Little Rock (Times sister publication El Latino is also a sponsor). There will be Mexican music, dancing, food trucks and festivities, including performances from Chicos Style, Banda F5, Mariachi America and the Folkloric Ballet Reflejos de Mexico. Children get in free, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Patricia Guardado UALR Scholarship.
DAVID AND TAMELA MANN
6 p.m. Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheatre. $30-$65.
You probably know David and Tamela Mann from their roles as Mr. Brown and Cora Simmons on "Meet the Browns," Tyler Perry's play, film and subsequent TV series. The entertainment power couple comes from Fort Worth, Texas, where they got their start performing in various gospel groups, including Kirk Franklin & The Family. Both were featured in Perry's play "I Can Do Bad All by Myself" (not to be confused with the film of the same title), which introduced the world to Mabel "Madea" Simmons, the antagonistic, gun-wielding grand doyenne of the Perry empire. Tamela's 2009 album "The Master Plan" was a hit, topping the gospel charts and eventually being re-released in a deluxe edition paired with David's album "Mr. Brown's Good Ol' Time Church." The Manns are kicking off this season's Praize Sundays series, which continues May 13 with Deitrick Haddon and May 20 with Le'Andria Johnson. Also performing with the Manns will be Marcia Smith, a gospel and neo-soul singer from Conway who has performed alongside such gospel stars as Dorinda Clark Cole, Kim Burrell and J. Moss.