Favorite

'Chicago' comes to Robinson for a two-night stand 

WEDNESDAY 6/8

THE BLACK ANGELS

9 p.m., Stickyz. $10.

Breathlessly and with a Southern drawl still intact, The Black Angels mine those chemical, aluminum balloon sounds from the brooding parts of the late '60s. Flower power it ain't. Over the course of three albums, the band has drawn from '90s sonic alchemists Spiritualized; their Austin, Texas, psych forebears 13th Floor Elevators; and, there's no doubt, the band that spawned every other great band of the last 45 years: The Velvet Underground. (The band's logo nods at Lou & Co., too, with its inverted picture of femme fatale Nico.) All this fuzzy, sludge-y, unrushed swagger gets fermented with a trip-hop beat and — presto bango! — you've got a great soundtrack for your next witch coven group grope. The band's newest album, "Phosphene Dream," is a terribly-named but unbelievable-sounding album that opens with the band's best track yet, "Bad Vibrations." YouTube has a video, filmed by Billboard, of the band conjuring up the song on a downtown rooftop. Check it out. If you're in, there are tons more where that came from.

HOT SPRINGS MUSIC FESTIVAL

Throughout Hot Springs.

Now in its 16th year, the Hot Springs Music Festival, one of the premier classical music festivals in the South, is poised for even more growth. Last year, the festival drew 20,000 attendees over its two-week run and, thanks to radio broadcasts, reached 6.4 million listeners nationwide. 2010 even saw a recording by the Hot Springs Music Festival Symphony find its way into the premiere episode of "Treme."

The festival boasts a new music advisor this season, as well; Peter Bay, director and conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, takes the reins this time around. This year's festival boasts nightly recitals in venues throughout town, culminating on Saturday, June 18, with the Festival Symphony Orchestra performing a 7:30 p.m. recital of pieces by Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Brahms and Schonberg at the Hot Springs Fieldhouse. Festival passes are available for a $125 donation; individual tickets range from free to $15. Go to hotmusic.org for a complete schedule and ticket prices.

999 EYES FREAKSHOW

9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.

Somewhere up in that big carnival in the sky, Tod Browning is smiling a thin, creepy smile at the 999 Eyes troupe. Freak-shows may be alive and well — tune into TLC lately? — but the old "gawk and holler" school of human oddities has been on the decline since its heyday as a staple of oceanside boardwalks. (Send your best Snookie joke to johntarpley@arktimes.com.) This traveling show, however, features stars with "genetic human anomalies." You've got The Lobster Girl, a bona fide cutie with fingers more crustacean claw than human hand; Peg-O the Leg-O, "the modern-day Elephant Man," and a few more self-explanatory performers: The Dancing Dwarf, the Gentle Giant, the Giant-Handed Man. Also along for the ride: 999 Eyes house act The Damned Band, whose music has been described as "a circus train that wrecked into a hobo camp where wandering Jews and Gypsies from Eastern Europe have been learning Irish drinking songs from Tom Waits."

THURSDAY 6/9

SAMUEL LOCKE-WARD

9 p.m., ACAC.

Maybe it's because I'm a devotee of the "chubby dudes with crushes, acoustic guitars and Asperger's, probably" school of music. Maybe it's because I'm a junkie for excavating hidden gems of music. Or maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for a good pop chorus. Either way, this Samuel Locke-Ward fella has caught my ear big time. A hyper-prolific home recorder not afraid of genre-hopping, he's been described as the songwriter that "is to Iowa City as Daniel Johnston is to Waller, Texas." Sweet and cherubic one song, potty-mouthed and sarcastic the next, all with a wide streak of Comic-Con frump, he's definitely "house show music," a left-field savant for the hungry-eared. And if your ears are like mine, he may be one of your favorite discoveries of the year, as well. Fans of R. Stevie Moore, Roy Wood, Calvin Johnson, The Mountain Goats, Daniel Johnston, et al: this guy's for you.

FRIDAY 6/10

RIVERTOP PARTY

8 p.m., The Peabody. $5.

This Friday, we here at the Times are going up, up, up to the upper terrace of The Peabody for this week's Rivertop Party to promote our iPhone app Cocktail Compass. Surely you've downloaded it, right? If not, make sure you get it before the party because there'll be drink specials, including $1 beers, available for all those who show Rivertop Party bartenders their app. To further entice you, we've lined up three of our perennial favorites from the local music scene — not to mention three of the biggest giants in Arkansas music — for the night. Epiphany and One Night Stand meld live jazz and rock with hip-hop from the eclectic emcee, Epiphany, and soul from local diva Gina Gee. Ear Fear is the ambitious brotherly duo of Adrian and Bobby Tillman, also known, respectively, as local rap guru 607 and, well, Bobby. The guys just released their newest album, "Art Class," on their Bandcamp website. And rounding out the bill: Tyrannosaurus Chicken, the dance floor-starting psychedelta (or — try this one on for size — "Dixiedelica") duo that gets noticeably more amazing every time I see them. And I, like so many other folks, see them every single chance I can. Times, cheap beer, stellar music: come say hi, wontcha?

SATURDAY 6/11

HOOP JAMS 2011

Clinton Center. Free to watch.

Friends who know miles more about basketball than I do tell me that this year's NBA talent may be the strongest in the history of the league. And I'm inclined to believe them. It's been a great season and I'm sad to see it end — my heart says "go Mavs" while my brain says "don't be a clown: Heat in six" — but I can't be the only person who's sick of seeing every single game go thusly: underdogs dominate the first 45 minutes before the other team, looking like the "Space Jam" Monsters, goes ham for 180 seconds to win. Sure, it's incredible talent and amazing athleticism, but still no alarms and no surprises: Yawn. Fortunately, this weekend, the Clinton School is hosting two-days of basketball with the inaugural, state-wide three-on-three tournament, "Hoop Jams." On top of three-on-three games, the weekend also offers a slam-dunk contest, a three-point contest, a celebrity basketball game and appearances from Joe Johnson, the Little Rock native and five-time NBA All-Star. All proceeds from the weekend benefit community development and education programs organized by the Clinton Presidential Center and Arkansas Baptist College. Schedules, not available at press time, will be listed at hoopjamslr.com.

TUESDAY 6/14

'CHICAGO'

7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $22-$52.

Can Celebrity Attractions and Broadway in Little Rock at large continue its successes of the past year? If there's a show that'll keep up the trend, it'll be "Chicago," a tried-and-true classic if there is one. For the uninitiated, the musical follows working-girl chorus dancer Roxie Hart, who, after killing her partner-in-adultery, winds up in jail, befriending Velma, a sultry vaudeville star and soon-to-be tabloid superstar. Filling this production's role of sensationalist lawyer Billy Flynn is John O'Hurley, the "Dancing With the Stars" all-star, former "Family Feud" host and, most famously, the eccentric J. Peterman, maybe the best supporting character in the entire "Seinfeld" universe. The touring revival production will give Tuesday and Wednesday performances, both at 7:30 p.m.

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Visit Arkansas

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