Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
7 p.m. Revolution. $20.50.
Back in 2004, Andrew McMahon left the Orange County heart-on-sleeve pop outfit Something Corporate and went out on his own under the moniker of Jack's Mannequin. His first album, 2005's "Everything in Transit," got a lot of early traction, but McMahon was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after it came out, and had to postpone touring. After a bone marrow transplant from his sister, McMahon recovered and began work on 2008's "The Glass Passenger," which documented the rough road of recuperation from a life-threatening illness. McMahon's tunes call to mind a sort of piano-driven take on the totally earnest confessional-pop bombast of acts like The Get Up Kids and early Ben Kweller, or perhaps a less cheeky Ben Folds. McMahon is nothing if not ambitious: In October, he collaborates with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for a full-on symphonic production of his songs. Steel Train, Lady Danville and River James open the show.
7:30 p.m. Arkansas Music Pavilion. $22-$102.
As The B-52s enters its fifth decade, it's easy to forget how odd and out-of-step with the times the Athens, Ga., band seemed when it first broke out in the late '70s with its debut self-titled album. Featuring that timeless new wave hit and perennial '80s party mainstay "Rock Lobster," it had a really sparse sound that, coupled with good songwriting, has helped it age much better than many of its peers. In its early days, The B-52s played a sort of kitsch-saturated post-punk that was informed by beach-blanket B-movies and early rock 'n' roll as much or more than it was by the Talking Heads and Devo. With 1989's "Cosmic Thing," The B-52s morphed into a party-anthem colossus. That album spawned two enormous mainstream radio hits — "Love Shack" and "Roam" — which were damn near inescapable at the time and have now become part of the fabric of American pop music. Today, the band enjoys a sort of beloved elder statesmen status among everyone from baby boomers to finicky, graying former college radio DJs.
FAT TIRE FESTIVAL
2 p.m. Various locations in Eureka Springs. Prices vary.
Now in its 14th year, the Eureka Springs Fat Tire Festival, or "Fatty Fest," as it's affectionately known, has become an institution in Northwest Arkansas, with sponsorships from the likes of Timex, Adventure Subaru, and yes, New Belgium Brewing Co., makers of Fat Tire beer. The area's terrain and topography makes it an obvious draw for mountain bikers and the weekend-long festival attracts thousands of contestants and observers for racing, riding, and food and drink. Of course, there's no shortage of gnarly backwoods riding for the serious knobby-tire fanatics, with cross-country rides, timed and observed trials and downhill racing for those fearless souls who hopefully have excellent dental and medical coverage. This year's festival is being billed as the "Year of the Kid," which seems appropriate given the ample amount of noncompetitive kid- and family-friendly rides and events, such as the costume ride and the Kid Bike Rodeo. Entry fees for the races vary and the festivities take place at a variety of tracks, trails, parks and restaurants all over Eureka Springs and the surrounding area. Check the website for details at fattirefestival.wordpress.com.
9 p.m. Arkansas Queen. $15.
For the last few years, Velvet Kente, the Little Rock quartet that swept the 2009 Times Musicians Showcase, has played fairly regularly at several venues. But for those that haven't caught the group live, here's an excellent opportunity. Velvet Kente doesn't really fit into any musical pigeonhole. Sure, the group's influenced by a mish-mash of rock, blues, Afro-beat and soul, but it's still utterly singular. Among Little Rock acts, you won't find a more compelling singer than Joshua, the front man and guitarist who, as we've said before, has the type of commanding stage presence that halts bar chatter and forces everybody to pay attention. Lead guitarist Steve Robinson plays choice licks, while the rhythm section of Tim Anthony and Jamaal Lee is incredible, especially Lee, who's a ferocious yet hella tight drummer. Little Rock bedroom pop ensemble The Evelyns opens the show.
3 DOORS DOWN
8 p.m. Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheater. $22.50-$55.
Gauging a band's popularity by its number of YouTube views seems like as reliable a metric as any in this fractured, post mainstream-radio, crazy quilt media landscape we find ourselves in these days. By that measure, early '00s bubble-grunge superstars 3 Doors Down are doing OK here in the future, thank you very much. In their various YouTube iterations, the band's mega-hits, "Here Without You" and "Kryptonite," have between them a respectable 95 million or so views. Now, that's nowhere close to the Mileys and Biebers and GaGas and Shakiras and finger-biting British babies that have racked up between 200 million and 600 million views each, but for a couple of songs that came out roughly a decade ago, it ain't too shabby. Their newest album, "Time of My Life," is set to drop three days after this show. While it's likely the band will play a lot of new material, you can bet it'll play "Kryponite." But if you want to hear it, get there on time. As singer Brad Arnold told American Songwriter recently, "It's kind of that song we want to play early and get out of the way."
JOHN PAUL KEITH & THE ONE FOUR FIVES
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
It's easy for contemporary bands that traffic in retro sounds to tumble from the cozy confines of the lovingly refashioned into the gaping maw of cornball pastiche. One wrong step and all you want to do is go back and listen to the original. On his latest album, "The Man That Time Forgot," Memphian John Paul Keith deftly avoids the everything-old-is-old-again pitfall through a mixture of rock-solid songwriting, tasteful restraint, expert playing and great production. He doesn't try to come on as some sort of larger-than-life character a la Rev. Horton Heat or a louche rock 'n' roll badass like Jon Spencer. Keith just seems like a hardworking, normal dude who knows how to write a good tune and likes to dig around at the intersection between rock 'n' roll and R&B and country. Think Buddy Holly, early Doug Sahm and Hammond-driven '70s power pop in the vein of Elvis Costello's twangier moments. "Dry County" is a rollicking country burner that gives a big nod to Hank Williams, but Keith can go for understated too, especially on "Songs for Sale" and the gentle AM lilt of "Somebody Ought to Write a Song About You."
'THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER'
5 p.m. Faulkner County Library. Free.
Like many masterworks, "The Night of the Hunter" didn't get its due when it was first released in 1955. The sole film directed by British actor Charles Laughton, it stars Robert Mitchum as the murderous phony itinerant pastor Harry Powell, who, freshly sprung from jail, pursues a tip on some hidden money from a bank robbery. He seduces a widow (played by Shelly Winters) in order to get at her children, one of whom supposedly knows the location of the loot. That might sound like typical '50s noire thriller fare, but "Hunter" is a far stranger flick than many of its contemporaries. Darkly expressionistic and deeply weird, it was a touchstone for such filmmakers as David Lynch and the Coen brothers, and features some unnervingly psychedelic directorial touches a full 10 years before acid's impact on the culture. It's one of Mitchum's signature roles, and if you've never seen it before, you're in for a real treat. A dark, creepy, nightmarish treat. As if that film wasn't enough Mitchum-flavored terror, the library will screen the 1962 version of "Cape Fear" afterward. Enjoy.