Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
8 p.m. Juanita's. $30.
The "Capitalism" tour finds Henry Rollins bringing his withering cultural critiques and acerbic wit to all 50 state capitals, culminating with a show in his native Washington, D.C., on the eve of the presidential election (in an interesting coincidence, the Melvins are on a somewhat similar tour/stunt which will see the legendary crushing-riff-meisters play all 50 states and D.C. in 51 consecutive days — they're at Juanita's Oct. 17). For those in need of a primer, Rollins — who long ago advanced to "last-name-only" status, at least among my crowd — might be most widely known as the longtime frontman for Black Flag, one of the greatest and most culturally game-changing U.S. bands ever. He's also an author, actor, comedian, publisher, radio and television host, film critic and activist. But out of everything he's done, I think my favorite thing about Rollins is his sheer, infectious enthusiasm for other artists, particularly other musicians. Just try not to smile while watching the video of his standup bit describing the time he got to meet James Brown. So while he'll no doubt riff on the ugliness and absurdity of the current political climate, here's hoping he tells some good stories about the things he loves, in addition to hammering on the stuff we all hate. Either way, it'll be entertaining.
KING BISCUIT BLUES FESTIVAL
11 a.m. Downtown Helena. $40 (three-day pass).
OK blues-lovers, here it is: King Biscuit. One of the best blues festivals anywhere draws nigh with what I think is fair to say are some of the most anticipated headliners in the festival's history: Bobby Rush on Thursday, Taj Mahal Friday and Bonnie Raitt on Saturday. Of course, in addition to these great acts, you get the whole experience: walking around Helena, turkey leg in one hand and beer in the other, catching any one of a number of great up-and-coming acts and just generally letting the good times roll. This year, KBBF has coordinated with festivals on the other side of the river for several days' worth of blues-related goings-on. If you haven't already purchased your ticket on the Times Blues Bus that will be carting folks to and from the festival on Saturday, you're too late. We filled up four of them this year. Try us earlier next year.
FRIDAY 10/5 AND SATURDAY 10/6
HOT WATER HILLS MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
3 p.m. Hill Wheatley Plaza. $5.
It's year two for the Hot Water Hills Music and Arts Festival, brought to us by Low Key Arts, the nonprofit that also puts on Valley of the Vapors and other great Spa City events. The festival "features music rooted in Southern heritage," and this year the lineup includes Mississippi's Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition, Austin's Dana Falconberry, Louisiana's Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe and Dirtfoot, Mississippi/Missouri duo Water Liars and, of course, acts from the Natural State, including Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass, The Mockingbird Hillbilly Band and more. Along with all the music, there are several workshops and other events, including a cardboard house building competition. This year, HWH has gone the zero waste route, so you can have a good time and know that it won't end up adding to the landfill. Saturday's festivities kick off at 11 a.m.
FRIDAY 10/5 AND SATURDAY 10/6
JAD FAIR AND HALF JAPANESE
8 p.m. Maxine's. $6 adv., $8 day of.
How cool is this? You've got to hand it to Thick Syrup Records boss-man Travis McElroy for bringing local music geeks one of the most awesome and out-of-left-field shows of the year. Half Japanese — the duo formed in the mid-'70s by brothers Jad and David Fair — is without a doubt one of the most cultishly adored "outsider" groups ever. The brothers Fair utterly ignored the rock-star rulebook and followed their own instincts, blazing a trail of idiosyncratic (or some might say challenging), primordial rock fueled by raw emotion and an enthusiasm undimmed by any outside forces. Over the decades, there have been some lineup additions and subtractions, but the Fairs, particularly Jad, have soldiered on, hailed by high-profile fans like Kurt Cobain and Penn and Teller. McElroy has released several projects from the Fairs on Thick Syrup. This weekend starts with Jad Fair performing Friday night (backed up by The Bloodless Cooties) and with his brother and Half Japanese alum Mark Jickling on Saturday. Both nights also feature full sets from the Cooties and Ezra Lbs., as well as an art show and at 7 p.m. on Saturday, they'll screen the must-see documentary "Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King."