As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages
10 p.m., White Water Tavern, $5.
You might remember the '90s Chicago skronk-meisters of U.S. Maple, who released several albums of art-damaged freakout via the Drag City and Skin Graft labels. Todd Rittmann, guit-slinger for the aforementioned act, is now in Dead Rider, a band that travels somewhat similar territory, but with a bit creepier vibe. Twitchy, nervous beats back up menacing synth tones, anguished guitar/saxophone interplay and some beautiful singing from Andrea Faught. Check out the hypnotic, spaghetti-Western guitar snaking around on "Dear Blocks" from the band's recently released "The Raw Dents." Spin scribe Joe Gross wrote that Dead Rider's latest sounds "... like Scott Walker staggering through the desert, preaching the gospel of Beefheart." That's an apt description, as the album reminded this writer, too, of later period Walker, he of nightmarescapes like "Tilt" and "The Drift." Fayetteville bludgeoners Egypter open the show.
JASON D. WILLIAMS
9 p.m., Revolution, $10 adv., $15 d.o.s.
Though he was born in El Dorado, Jason D. Williams is a genuine Memphis Madman, a hyperactive, convulsive piano pounder who draws deeply from the musical traditions of his adopted city. He got his start at the tender age of 16, playing in the backup band of another Arkansas native, the legendary Sleepy LaBeef. Of course, Williams' rockabilly repertoire, manic playing, spastic stage presence and wild shock of blond hair make comparisons to Jerry Lee Lewis unavoidable. And he performs a litany of the Killer's hits, including "Great Balls of Fire" and "Drinkin' Wine Spodee-O-Dee." He's shared the stage with his forefather. There's a great clip online of Williams, Lewis and Mickey Gilley playing "What'd I Say?" on Music City Tonight. This should be a high-energy show, with plenty of boogie-woogie, rock 'n' roll and kicked-over piano stools.
9 p.m., Juanita's, $10.
As far as local country acts go, you'd be hard pressed to find a performer more poised to break through to bigger stages than Ryan Couron. The 20-something Little Rocker, who impressed us in the 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, charts similar waters as Nashville titans like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt. As far as local live music venues go, Juanita's has been among the more storied places to play in the capital city. So getting to break in Juanita's new stage at 614 President Clinton Ave. in the River Market is a fairly auspicious gig, and Couron seems like a great fit. He gigs often and has a solid following, but even if you don't think country music is your thing, it'll be a great opportunity to check out the new room and the beginning of the next chapter of a renowned venue.
MATT BAUER AND DANA FALCONBERRY
6 p.m., Artchurch Studio, $10.
If you dig sparsely gorgeous folk tunes with mostly acoustic instrumentation, hushed singing and sweetly sad melodies, the last decade or so has been good to you, what with your Iron & Wines and Bon Ivers and Fleet Foxeses and Devendra Banharts and M. Wards, not to mention continuous, excellent output from their predecessors such as Will Oldham and Bill Callahan. All of which is to say, if that sort of thing is your bag, you'll want to check out Matt Bauer and Dana Falconberry. Bauer is a Brooklyn-based singer and picker of the banjo and guitar who's earned acclaim from a variety of sources, including Thrasher Magazine (!). Falconberry is out of Austin, but is a Hendrix alumna who has played the area often, so you might already be familiar with her. The two began collaborating in recent months and have been on a goddang gigantic tour since early June. They've got a positively beautiful two-song EP on bandcamp.com right now that reminds this writer of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's incredible, way underrated "Master and Everyone" from back in aught-three.
R. STEVIE MOORE
9 p.m., White Water Tavern, $7.
People: Please, please, please do not miss this show. That is, if you have any interest whatsoever in the work of a bona fide pop genius who's been toiling away on the margins of the musical landscape for 30-some-odd years, releasing thousands of songs scattered across 400-plus cassettes and CD-Rs. When he was just a teen-ager, R. Stevie Moore began recording his own bizarro pop tunes of just about every flavor you could imagine, from proggy guitar shredding to Byrds-y jangle to raging rockers and new wave ravers and unnerving, plaintive spoken-word interludes and everything that falls between those points. And he hasn't stopped since then. See, these cats like Moore and Bob Pollard can't really help it. The muse is screaming in their ears and the only way to shut her up is to churn out pop gem after frazzled, fractured, warped pop gem. Lucky us. To be sure, there's some rough surrounding the diamonds, such as the occasional sharp turn into a lengthy piece of tape experiment/musique concrete, but the mine is deep and it is well worth exploring. You might get lost in there, but you probably won't miss the outside world. So God bless fellow traveler Ariel Pink, who cites Moore's influence on his own brand of mutated AM sounds and has helped shine a light on his sonic forbearer. While Moore has played occasional live shows over the years, this is his first full-scale tour, and he's backed by Tropical Ooze, from Brooklyn. Little Rock's Sea Nanners open the show. Once more, with feeling: Do not miss this.
SPA CITY METAL FEST
5 p.m., Maxine's, $8 adv., $10 door
Now this right here is what you call a good ol' fashioned grip of Arkansas metal bands, headlined by one of the state's best acts of any era or genre. If you don't know Rwake by now, you need to get out from under that mossy rock. The sludge band's 2002 album "Hell is a Door to the Sun" was just remixed, remastered and reissued by Relapse Records, and the group is set to drop "Rest," its fourth album, later this summer. This show starts early. After all, including Rwake there are eight bands on the bill: From Which We Came, Legions Await, Murder in August, Seemless, This Island Earth, Vail and She Breathes Fire.
NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND
7 p.m., Ozark Folk Center State Park, $35.
The question of who was the first country rock band is a subject of intense debate among guys who don't have girlfriends and spend too much time at the record store. Was it Gram Parsons' International Submarine Band or The Byrds circa "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" or Michael Nesmith's post-Monkees outfit The First National Band? Though they weren't the first, the case could be made that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was the truest country rock band. Take a listen to 1972's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," an album littered with top-tier country guests like Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. Now that's country. Or a rock band playing country. Or something. Anyway, what's not up for debate is that the band is one of the longest running of the first wave of such acts. Although the years have seen some lineup changes, the core trio of founders Jeff Hanna and Jimmie Fadden and longtime member John McEuen remains.
POPS ON THE RIVER
5:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre, Free.
Even the most Godless, America-hating, terrorist-coddling, climate-change-insisting, gun-grabbing, Kenyan-born-president-supporting, lamestream-media-believing, big-government-loving, tofu-dog-eating, tinfoil-hat-mocking, wealth-redistributing, latte-sipping, hybrid-driving, capital-"L" Liberals love a bitchin' fireworks display. They can't even help it, overpowered as they are by the expression of our nation's singular badassness via the radiant splendor of bombs bursting in air. Now don't even bother trying to verify that statement with any so-called evidence, because it's not based on some egghead professor's junk science. Rather, it's purely a bald, faith-based assertion by a Real American, and is therefore undeniably true. Don't forget to vote in the finals for Oh, Say! Can You Sing? at 6:30 p.m. (Democracy!). Amphitheater seating is first-come, first-served (Manifest Destiny!), but bring a blanket or folding chair (Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps!). No pets and no coolers, as vendors will be selling refreshments (The Free Market!). And even though it seems like some sorta socialist handout, it's free to get in. Cash and non-perishable food donations will be accepted on behalf of hunger relief organization Arkansas Rice Depot.