Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
LUELLA AND THE SUN, ISAAC ALEXANDER
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
From the looks and sounds of it, there's not going to be any kinda shortage on bluesy, stomping, reverb-drenched, gospel-informed rock 'n' roll any time real soon. There's a good many bands that are mining that intersection of the sacred and, well, if not the profane, at least the moderately edgy. Nashville quartet Luella and the Sun have that sound down as good or better'n anybody. Plus, the band's fronted by Melissa Mathes (nom de rock: Luella). I mean dudes, she can wail. No, seriously: she can wail! And the band can lay down the grimy-nasty blues like it's nothing. Several of them played on Isaac Alexander's recent album "Antivenin Suite," which you will likely recall is a very excellent record. So will Luella and The Sun catch that lightning in a bottle and blow up like that one band, The Mississippi Shimmies or whatever they're called? Hard to say. But why take that chance when you could go see them now, in a small venue at what's sure to be a killer show? If you're up in northwesterly Arkansas, you can check out the band at Smoke and Barrel on April 12.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $86-$109.
One of the true giants of country music will be retiring from the road soon. George Strait's "The Cowboy Rides Away Tour" is likely your last chance to see King George perform in Arkansas. Let's check out some of the man's stats: More than 65 million albums sold; 59 No. 1 hits; highest-selling box set of any country artist (1995's "Strait out of the Box" has sold more than 8 million copies); he's the only musician ever to notch at least one Top 10 hit every year during his three-decade career, and he's only the second artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame while still touring and recording hits. Speaking of hits, that's what you're in for at this concert, which Strait said will be "a very special, emotional tour for me. Everywhere we're going holds fond memories and I'm looking forward to paying my respects." Opening the show will be Martina McBride, who's certainly one of the biggest names in country music herself, having sold north of 18 million albums.
LITTLE ROCK FILM FEST: 'BLOODY MAMA'
7 p.m. River Market Tower. Free with LRFF pass.
This looks cool: a rooftop screening of a Roger Corman flick that was filmed in the Ozarks and stars Shelley Winters, Robert DeNiro and Robert Walden, who will be in attendance. Set in the 1920s, the film concerns Ma Barker (Winters), a sweet old lady from Arkansas who just so happens to carry a machine gun and be a psychotic criminal mastermind. Oh, and she has four miscreant co-conspirators as sons, including drug addict Lloyd (DeNiro), recently released convict Fred (Walden), Arthur (Clint Kimbrough) and Herman (Don Stroud). It's all violence and mayhem and gunplay on the highways and back roads as Ma Barker leads her awful brood on a multi-state crime spree that can only end in carnage.
9 p.m. Revolution. $13 adv., $15 day of.
Have you ever been listening to Belle and Sebastian and thought, "This is good and all, but dude just does not sound Scottish. I mean, where's the brooooogue!?!" Well pardner, you will not encounter this problem with Glaswegian quintet Frightened Rabbit. Dude sounds awesomely Scottish. I listened to a few tracks from the band's latest long-player, "Pedestrian Verse." Opener "Acts of Man," has production touches that wouldn't sound out of place on a 1980s Paul Simon album — heavily reverbed drums, ultra-clean guitar lines. Check out the third track, "Holy" — it would be the perfect song on your mixtape for the point where it starts to pick back up after the sad stretch in the mid-to-latter half of the tape, all upbeat and triumphant, all 16th notes on the bass moving things along, all 3:39 (just the right running time). The band has been around for a decade now, and if you're into soaring, dramatic guitar-focused indie rock and you haven't listened to them by now, you should check them out, chief. Also on the bill at this all-ages show: Nova Scotia's Wintersleep, who've not only won a Juno Award (New Group of the Year, 2008) but also were handpicked by Sir Paul McCartney to open for him at a gig in Halifax.
FRIDAY 4/12-SATURDAY 4/13
'THE ODDS ARE AGAINST U.S.'
7:30 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $20-$30.
Chris James is a native of Little Rock and a member of the Foreign Tongues Poetry Group, a collective that has produced numerous events over the last few years. James wrote "The Odds are Against U.S.," a play in verse that will make its debut this weekend. Via email, James said the play "captures the reality of the youth in black America and how they are often affected by urban environments or ghettos." He was inspired to write the play because he felt it was important for people to understand the struggle of black American youth growing up in such environments. The play's nine-strong cast includes several members of Foreign Tongues, Roots of Life Theatre Group and other folks who are involved in the local poetry, theater and spoken word communities, so if you've got an interest in checking out some of the next generation of talent from Little Rock's fertile scene, don't miss "The Odds are Against U.S." The play also runs Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
JIM DANDY, RWAKE, PALLBEARER
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
It might not seem real obvious on first blush, but Southern rock legends Black Oak Arkansas exerted an enormous influence not just on their home-state younger brethren who went on to form the foundation of the Arkansas metal scene, but also much of the sludgy Southern metal that soundtracks bong-bubbling around the country. I mean, Jim Dandy and the rest of the crew in Black Oak totally set the template for that longhair trouble-causing, loud-amp rabble-rousing, backwoods attitude and outlook, if not necessarily note-for-note sonic influence. Dandy will perform a set with acoustic guitar accompaniment, while Rwake and Pallbearer will play their usual scorched-earth electric sets. I'm told Pallbearer is going to be leaving town the next day, bound for the continent and Holland's highly respected Roadburn festival.
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 'MIDORI & TCHAIKOVSKY'
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $14-$52.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra winds down its current season with a performance highlighted by the mononymous Midori, the world-renowned virtuoso violinist who hails from Japan. I guess she does technically have a last name (it's Goto), but still, if you go by only one name or if you have an awesome-sounding nickname or initials, it can only mean one thing: You are bad to the bone at wrestling or computer programming or classical music or whatever it is. In a video preview, ASO conductor Philip Mann said the show promises "one of the most popular works ever written for violin, Tchaikovsky's 'Violin Concerto.' " Also on the program is the frothy and festive "Marriage of Figaro Overture" by Mozart, "guaranteed to bring a smile to your face," Mann said. The program returns Sunday at 3 p.m.