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Drowning Pool, Guy Clark and Synfest 

WEDNESDAY 8/24

DROWNING POOL
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $17.

Drowning Pool started off back in the early aughts as one of the tens of scores of dozens of nu-metal bands that soundtracked the free-floating mall-angst of all those young men who favor oversized athletic wear, attempted dreadlocks and extreme goatees. The video for the band's hit song, "Bodies," starts off with original singer Dave Williams aggressively whispering "Let the bodies hit the floor" over and over at this helpless old man. He goes on to loudly and repeatedly grunt "Let the bodies hit the floor" at the poor fellow, although oddly, at no point do any bodies hit the floor. In 2002, Williams passed away unexpectedly from a form of heart disease and was replaced by another guy who looked kind of like him and who was pretty good at whispering and grunting "Let the bodies hit the floor." But then that guy left, and like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon inside of a Hot Topic, Drowning Pool 2.0 was born. The current singer doesn't look or sound like those other guys - he can sing sometimes - and according to the band's videos, he also doesn't harass old men, instead opting to take bubble baths with hot girls and talk about how if you want to step up, then you are going to get knocked down, presumably by him. So, you know, fair warning. Opening acts include Kyng, Burn Halo and Echoes the Fall.

THURSDAY 8/25

WEST MEMPHIS THREE: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
6 p.m. Statehouse Convention Center, Wally Allen Ballroom. Free.

Last week's release of the West Memphis Three was a bolt out of the blue, and the legal maneuvers it entailed were perplexing even for seasoned court observers and those who were deeply familiar with the case. After serving 18 years in prison, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley Jr. are now free men, and although they continue to assert their innocence in the brutal 1993 slaying of three young boys, they had to plead guilty to the court in a rare agreement known as an Alford plea. There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the case, and this panel discussion will seek to address some of them. On the panel will be Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Times contributing editor and "Devil's Knot" author Mara Leveritt, Arkansas Take Action leader Capi Peck and attorneys for Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley. RSVP by e-mail at publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or by phone at 501-683-5239.

CULTURE FEATURING KENYATTA HILL
9 p.m. Stickyz. $10.

Things were bad all over back in 1977, but in Jamaica, the times were especially rough, with the economy in the tank and violence in Kingston rampant. Culture singer Joseph Hill had a vision - based, he claimed, on a prophecy by Marcus Garvey - that July 7 of that year would see even more chaos. The band had a huge hit with "Two Sevens Clash," the single inspired by Hill's intense vision. The album of the same title is easily one of the best reggae LPs ever, up there with Burning Spear's "Marcus Garvey," Toots and the Maytals' "Funky Kingston," Dr. Alimantado's "Best Dressed Chicken in Town" and the many other timeless albums recorded on the tiny island. The band broke up for a few years, but reformed in the mid '80s, releasing more albums and touring the world. In 2006, Hill died while on tour in Germany. His son, Kenyatta Hill, is leading the current version of the band, which includes founding member Albert Walker. While the elder Hill can never truly be replaced, his son bears a striking resemblance to him, in both voice and visage.

GUY CLARK
8 p.m. Revolution. $25-$40.

It's been a jam-packed few weeks for fans of old-school, "songwriter's songwriter" type country performers. Earlier in the month, Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and several others played in Jonesboro at the Johnny Cash Music Festival. Last week Billy Joe Shaver brought the house down with a two-hour show at Revolution. Robert Earl Keen plays Revolution in a couple weeks and David Allan Coe is at The Electric Cowboy Sept. 1. Guy Clark is on par with any of these artists, and should need no introduction. He's written tunes that have been recorded by numerous country giants, including Johnny Cash ("Texas 1947," "Let Him Roll"), Jerry Jeff Walker ("L.A. Freeway" and "Desperadoes Waiting For a Train"), Ricky Skaggs ("Heartbroke"), Vince Gill ("Oklahoma Borderline") and plenty more. Clark's own albums - especially his stone-cold classic debut "Old No. 1" - are sturdy from top to bottom, filled with songs that feel perfectly broken in. If you dig country, do not miss this opportunity to see one of an ever-shrinking pool of living legends.

FRIDAY 8/26

LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.

Hopefully, most Times readers are already familiar with the hypnotic Hill Country blues of guitarist Lightnin' Malcolm, who has paid several visits to the White Water Tavern over the last few years, often with Cedric Burnside as one half of the Juke Joint Duo. On "Renegade," Malcolm's latest album, he teams up with drummer Cameron Kimbrough, grandson of the legendary bluesman Junior Kimbrough. The new album's tunes find Malcolm weaving in other influences, particularly on the reggae-tinged "Ain't Even Worried" or "Renegade," which has a Crazy Horse sort of vibe to it. "North Mississippi" is a gut-bucketful of funky R&B grit, with a trio of horn players providing punchy accents and an unexpected verse from guest rapper J. Grubbz that meshes perfectly with the rest of the song. There's no shortage of Malcolm's signature honey-toned blues numbers, though, such as the rowdy "So Many Women" and the good-times celebration "Come Go With Me." Malcolm's music is certainly part of the long-running blues tradition, but in his hands it is no fixed genre exercise. This is music that's alive and kicking, mutating and absorbing new sounds while staying true to its roots.

SYNFEST
6 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $8.

For the last six years, the guys in Little Rock metal outfit Drop Dead Syndicate and their manager James Funderburk have hosted Synfest, a big throw-down that includes their friends and fellow travelers from across the spectrum of heaviness. This year's event will include all manner of metal maniacs, but it is also a benefit fundraiser for the organizers' friend Dana Rucker and her five-year-old daughter Maddie, who is battling brain cancer. The two-night festival couldn't be for a better cause, and you also won't find more metal for your money anywhere else. Friday night's lineup includes Dirtyfinger, Demitrious in Ground Zero, Land of Mines, Rollo Tumasi, Rusty Hook, Gemini, At War's End. Saturday night's show includes Suffocatinghatred, Driven to Madness, Attack the Mind, Tha Mutha Load, Drop Dead Syndicate, The Midnight Ghost Train, Eddie and The Defiantz.

SUNDAY 8/28

48-HOUR FILM PROJECT SCREENINGS
7 p.m., 9 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $8.

For this year's 48 Hour Film Project, 37 fearless (or is that foolhardy?) teams of filmmakers signed on to write, film, edit and score a four- to seven-minute movie over two jam-packed, sleep-deprived days. On Friday night, the teams are given a character, a prop and a line of dialogue that must be used in the film. This year's Little Rock films had to include the character of J. Butler Bedford, Detective; a bird (real or stuffed); and the line, "Some people say it's unlucky." The Times usually manages to cobble together a team of impulsive misfits who are just crazy enough to take on such a mission. This was the first time in several years that our scribe David Koon bowed out of writing duties, having taken several for the team, but he said it's usually a delirious good time. The screenings, stretching this year over three nights, include audience awards and overall awards for best film, best actor, best actress and other categories. A panel of judges decides the overall winner, which will go on to be screened at Filmapalooza along with the 48HFP winners from 80 or so other cities. Koon said the films range from amazing to uniquely terrible, and that while you can do a lot in 48 hours, an overly ambitious project is a nearly surefire way to fail. Or put another way, "some people say it's unlucky."

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