Bon Jovi at Verizon Arena 



7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $40-$66.

Bona fide country star Luke Bryan is no stranger to these shores, having played in Arkansas a handful of times over the last several years, most recently at the inaugural Thunder on the Mountain country 'n' campin' festival up on Mulberry Mountain. Since getting his start, Bryan's gone from the tradition-grounded (if contemporary-sounding) earnest country of his first album, "I'll Stay Me," into total party mode with his last two long-players, 2011's "Tailgates & Tanlines" and the recent "Crash My Party." And then there was the four-EP run of spring-break-themed releases that started back in '09, collected earlier this year on "Spring Break ... Here to Party." Sample song titles: "If You Ain't Here to Party," "Sorority Girl," "Just a Sip," "Wild Weekend, "Cold Beer Drinker," and the closer, "Take My Drunk Ass Home." It's like, how much more clear could he make it for us? Bryan is here to do one thing and one thing only, y'all: party.

FRIDAY 10/18


7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $34-$160.

There was a funny time back in, oh, let's call it 1984-1987, when bands like Europe and Poison and Warrant and Skid Row and Winger and White Lion and Cinderella and Britny Fox and Trixter and Def Leppard and Ratt and Motley Crue and Guns 'N Roses and the like were widely described as "heavy metal" bands. Of course, they weren't (and were subsequently and unfairly dubbed "hair metal"). They were all basically pop/rock bands that had nicked some guitar licks and maybe some sartorial cues off of the New York Dolls. Out of all of those many big-haired, tight-jeaned rock 'n' rollers, I would not have guessed that Jersey's finest, Bon Jovi, would be the ones to go the long haul, outlasting the trend and still going on arena tours and raking in the big bucks 20-25 years after most of their peers had either succumbed to near cartoonish levels of debauchery (Crue) or simply become relics (most of the rest of them). Going back to listen to some of Bon Jovi's hits, it makes sense to me now. They just wrote better, bigger, catchier, more anthemic and us-against-the-world-ier songs than most of their competition. Seriously, go listen to "Livin' on a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Bad Medicine," "Wanted Dead or Alive," or "Blaze of Glory" (granted, that last one is technically solo-Jovi, but still). That right there is a pretty stout list of ballads and rockers that will surely get the lighters up in the air.



8 p.m. Vino's. $5.

If your music collection includes multiple titles by such depraved noiseniks as Whitehouse, Ruins, Merzbow, Missing Foundation, early Swans or Einstürzende Neubauten and the like, then this is not a show that you should miss, my friend. You're gonna need a pretty hellacious tolerance for extreme eardrum abuse to withstand the punishing electronic sadism of Austin-based Dromez, the nom de rock of Liz Gomez. She's been assaulting audiences since the mid aughts or so with an array of electronically generated squawks, squeals and all-around aural harshness. Of course, you noise weirdoes from here in Arkansas will likely already be familiar with Rural War Room, the free-form audio explorers who operate a record label, radio show and cyberband based in Little Rock, Italy, the Czech Republic and points beyond. In addition to those two experimental outfits, this bill also includes The Crisco Kids, Little Rock's long-running punk-rockabilly deconstructionists featuring the brothers Broadstone, and OG Mudbone, who I don't really know much about on account of, well, don't Google that one because just trust me.




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