Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
9 p.m. Juanita's. $20.
While Big K.R.I.T. is no stranger to Little Rock, this show marks the first time the Meridian, Miss., native and rising rap star has come to town since the release of his Def Jam Records debut, "Live From the Underground," back in June. The album has earned solid reviews, though in general the tone seems to have been tempered just slightly from the gushing accolades that were understandably elicited by his excellent mixtapes, "K.R.I.T Wuz Here" and especially "Return of 4Eva," which was produced entirely by K.R.I.T. Matthew Keever of Houston Press wrote of last Saturday's House of Blues concert that the rapper "breathlessly regaled the crowd with an hour-long set, full of high-energy, club-ready verses that celebrate life in the South" and that his enthusiasm and energy were infectious. I think you could safely wager that K.R.I.T. and company (including Houston heavyweight Slim Thug, Tito Lopez, Big Sant, GT Garza and local group Flint Eastwood) will bring it for Little Rock as well.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $35-$65.
OK, so one of the bona fide megastars of country music is coming back to Verizon Arena, and aside from all the hit songs everybody wants to hear him play, there's another topic that's gotta be on everybody's mind: Is Paisley gonna address The Great Collegiate Doormat Spat of 2011? This is the first time he's been to Arkansas since that whole incident. To recap: his tourmates, Arkansas natives Eden's Edge, absconded with the singer's "BELOVED" West Virginia doormat and replaced it with a Razorbacks doormat. Paisley and his bros torched said Arkansas mat. Video footage of this hit the web and got Hog Nation all riled up way beyond what was called for (shocking, I know). Paisley sought to clear things up by placing his act of arson in the proper context, i.e., as the natural and proper escalation of a prank war and not an explicit act of blasphemy against the Hogs. He tweeted thusly: "If they had placed a Crimson Tide, or Vols, or Buckeyes, or you name it — mat there, that is what I would have burned. It was not personal," and later offered this fig leaf: "In closing, I will be rooting for the Razorbacks this year. Lord knows you have a better shot at the title than we do. May you win em all." Well, Paisley's BELOVED West Virginia football team is now sitting at No. 5 in the nation after knocking off the Longhorns in Austin last weekend. And the Hogs are... well, we all know where the Hogs are. But hey, it's not Paisley's fault. It was just a simple prank, right? Surely that act of Hog mat immolation didn't somehow directly start the chain of events that led to the collapse of the Razorbacks and the ascension of the Mountaineers, right? But just to be safe, maybe we should try to get Paisley to burn an LSU doormat. If he won't do it, maybe openers The Band Perry or Scotty McCreery will give it a go.
9 p.m. Revolution. $16.
Torontonian quintet Stars has spent the last decade crafting the sort of beautiful, propulsive pop tunes that can give weight to the most mundane of activities, transforming that headphone-clad walk to the post office into a cinematic voyage of bittersweet heartache. Need proof? Just try not to get all wistful and nostalgic while listening to "Ageless Beauty," from the band's 2005 breakout album "Set Yourself on Fire." It'll take you right back to that confusing, aimless period after college when you were still trying to figure things out but mainly just drank too much and got your feelings stepped on a lot. The group's most recent long-player, "The North," has been hailed by many critics as a return to form after a couple of missteps. The opening track, "The Theory of Relativity" finds Stars appropriating the woozy synth textures of the chill-wavers and putting them to their own decidedly less hazy pop purposes. The title track recalls The Smiths, the maudlin Anglo-pop favorite that is perhaps Stars' spiritual forebear. Openers at this all-ages show include the glammed-to-the-max Diamond Rings and the '80s-pop-informed guitar rock of California Wives.
THURSDAY 10/11-SATURDAY 11/13
YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND'S HARVEST MUSIC FESTIVAL
11 a.m. Mulberry Mountain. $65-$275.
If Wakarusa starts off the summer with a Dionysian howl of dazzling lights and dilated pupils, with booming bass and glitchy jam-tronica and proggy guitars going "weedly-weedly," the Harvest Music Festival welcomes in autumn with a much mellower, largely acoustic vibe. Sure, Waka's got a good amount of folksy offerings, but I doubt you'll find so much as a solitary sequencer at Harvest, which has a huge lineup of folk, bluegrass, country and old-timey, with plenty of rock, funk and assorted other stuff mixed in. The headliners include, of course, Yonder Mountain String Band, but also The Mickey Hart Band, Leftover Salmon, The North Mississippi Allstars, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush, The Gourds and more. Arkansas is well represented with, among others, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, Mountain Sprout and Don't Stop Please.
ARKANSAS STATE FAIR
11 a.m. Arkansas State Fairgrounds. $4-$8.
Autumn is once again upon us, and as is custom since time immemorial, the Arkansas State Fair (Oct. 12-21) will awaken from its slumber to offer the people of this fine state one of the best entertainment bargains around. There will be concerts on a nightly basis, free with regular fair admission. On Friday, the classic rock band America will perform, with guitarist Mike Shipp as opener. Sugarfoot's Ohio Players will bring the funk to the masses on Saturday, while Think Floyd USA will recreate the Pink Floyd concert experience on Sunday. Joe Darr and The Vista Cruze Band take to the stage Monday, and Austin K. Jones and Dueling Pianos follow suit on Tuesday. Other options include The Welde family and their cadre of bears (ranging in size from 200-1,200 pounds), who will perform feats and tricks while also reminding us all about the perils of lost wildlife habitat. The Show-Me Safari Pig Races will surely please young and old alike with the little porcine competitors vying for a treat at the finish line. There's a petting zoo and a monkey show. There will be all manner of pageantry, as well as animal judging, a pie contest, a wine competition (commercial and amateur divisions) and many other face-offs, such as a flower arranging contest, bake-offs of all types, a Spam championship and more. The full schedule is available at arkansasstatefair.com.
FRIDAY 10/12- SUNDAY 10/14
'AMERICAN IMAGES' AT WILDWOOD'S HARVEST FESTIVAL
7:30 p.m. Wildwood Park for the Arts. $15-$30.
This Friday, Wildwood Park for the Arts hosts the performance of Ballet Arkansas's season debut, "American Images." There's a champagne reception after the show, and it will be performed again Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. ($15-$25). The show is in conjunction with Wildwood's Harvest Festival, which is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Harvest Fest is $5 for ages 6-12 and $10 for adults, but admission is included if you buy tickets for Ballet Arkansas. The festival includes a variety of autumn-themed family activities, such as hay rides, a pumpkin patch, vendors, craft competitions, performances of Wildwood's educational show "Lily & The Apple Seed" both days and the Arkansas Pickin' & Fiddlin' Championship on Sunday.
TAV FALCO AND THE UNAPPROACHABLE PANTHER BURNS
9 p.m. Rogue Pizza Co. $10 adv., $12 door.
What a rare and delectable treat for fans of idiosyncratic American music: an Arkansas concert from the great Tav Falco, native of Gurdon, prophet of psychobilly, leader of Panther Burns, author, actor, tango dancer, artist, filmmaker, true original. Falco moved to Memphis in the '70s and began documenting the city's more marginal musicians and artists, running around and collaborating with Alex Chilton, William Eggleston, Jim Dickinson and other Bluff City legends. Falco's latest album, last year's "Conjurations: Seance for Deranged Lovers," is his first disc of original material in more than a decade. It's a dozen tracks of Falco's signature reverb-drenched stew of foreboding blues, primitive rockabilly stomp, dark garage-psych and the odd chanson or tango number. Falco has lived in Europe for some time now, so a home-state show is a once-in-a-blue-moon kinda thing, so you know, probably don't skip this one. Openers are Glory Bones and Forever Blowing Bubbles.
9 p.m. Juanita's. $10.
A.J. Croce, son of legendary singer/songwriter Jim Croce, has over the years built up a very solid and critically respected catalog of roots rock with period-perfect vintage production. Croce was blinded at age four by a brain tumor, gradually regaining vision in his left eye. It was during that time that he began playing piano and steeping himself in the canon of classic R&B, blues, folk and rock. He has an undeniable knack for writing the sort of bouncy, piano-led pop nuggets that recall The Beatles, Harry Nilsson and the like. "Coraline," from Croce's latest album, "Cage of Muses," has a great "Hey Jude" kind of vibe.