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The annual Blues on the River festival returns 

THURSDAY 4/28

Bluesman Big John Miller lands in Markham Street Grill and Pub for a night of 12-bar boogie, 8 p.m. White Water Tavern hosts a night of esteemed local singer/songwriters of the female persuasion: Elise Davis, Bonnie Montgomery, Amy Garland, Corrine Spero and Mandy McBryde all bring Arkansas-tinged folksiness to the bar, 10 p.m., $5. Hot Springs' Muses Creative Artistry Project takes to the Hot Springs Convention Center to raise money for those affected by the recent earthquakes in Japan with "One Heart: Songs of Love and Life for the People of Japan," 7 p.m.

FRIDAY 4/29

Acoustic guitar superhero Eric Sommer does double duty, playing Vino's at 9 p.m., $7, and Midtown Billiards at 12:30 a.m., $8 non-members. Battery, a Metallica tribute act, rides the lightning all the way to Revolution, 9 p.m., $10. Mediums Art Lounge pits two of America's greatest contributions to music with "Jazz vs. Hip-Hop 2," a night featuring Rodney Block and the Real Music Lovers backing local emcees, including 9th Scientist, Osyrus Bolly, members of the Bully Gang and more, 9 p.m., $10 general, $15 reserved seating. Thick Syrup Records hosts a showcase in Hot Springs when three bands from its roster, The Reparations, San Antokyo and Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, take to Maxine's Pub, 8 p.m., $5. And, at Bear's Den Pizza in Conway, the Toad Suck Review literary review hosts a night of rock music featuring Don't Stop Please, Es Lo Que Es, The Sesh and Still Reign, 8 p.m., $5.

SATURDAY 4/30

The annual Blues on the River concert at Riverfest Amphitheater includes Floyd Taylor, Sweet Angel, L.J. Echols, Ms. Jody, Gwen White, the always-great Bobby Rush and a mystery guest, 2 p.m., $25 adv., $30 d.o.s. DJ Big Brown will, apparently, die or be raised from the dead at Discovery for "Big Brown is Dead," a night bringing the long-time club DJ back to the booth alongside a slate of others, including DJs Death, Justin Sane, Cybertribe and more, 10 p.m., $12. The Weekend Theater hosts its annual "Breaking All the Rules" fund-raiser during which attendees are encouraged to "break all the rules" by cross-dressing for cash prizes, 6 p.m., $50. And the Arkansas Travelers, at press time a respectable 7-7 after a rough start on the road, take on the 8-6 division leaders, the Northwest Naturals at Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12.

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