Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
6:30 p.m., Laman Library Plaza, North Little Rock. Free.
Brave Combo, the Denton, Texas, polka band, has an unimpeachable resume. First and foremost, they've endured 28 years on the road. In that span, they've won two Grammys, backed pop icon Tiny Tim on his last album, appeared on “The Simpsons” (and performed at the cartoon's 200th anniversary party), played David Byrne's wedding and released nearly 30 albums. Brave Combo's latest, “Polka's Revenge,” explores the band's typical stylistic terrain, a blend of dozens of disparate genres — everything from klezmer to surf rock to zydeco — filtered through polka. In the combo's tradition of polka-izing classic rock hits like “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” and “People Are Strange,” the new album also includes a bouncy cover of the Who's “I Can See for Miles.” The concert winds down Laman Library's “Thursday Music Series.” Inclement weather will move the event into the Lecture Hall.
ALLSTAR WRESTLING LEGENDS
7:30 p.m., Barton Coliseum. $17.50-$32.50.
Oh, nostalgia, what a wily temptress you are! There's no way that the memory I have of “Birdman” Koko B. Ware, the '80s WWF hero who often had rainbow-colored hair and whose pet Macaw “Frankie” stayed perched on the ring during matches, matches the “Birdman” Koko B. Ware of today. (Really: Frankie's dead and Birdman's 50). But I can't help really wanting to go anyway — even if only to see golden era wrestlers approaching AARP eligibility. Also on the card: Kamala (“The Mississippi Mauler”); Abdullah the Butcher, who's 70 (!) and spends most of his time running Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food in Atlanta; Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart, who formed and sang in the Memphis pop-band the Gentrys; 6'9” West Memphis native Sid Vicious, who began his career as the masked wrestler Lord Humongous; and more contemporary brawlers, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, late of the nWo. A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit Big Brothers of Little Rock.
ARGENTA STREET BEAT
6 p.m., Main Street, North Little Rock. Free.
Down-home rock 'n' roll will close Main Street in downtown North Little Rock for the first ever Argenta Street Beat on Friday. Sponsored by the downtown development project Main Street Argenta, the concert features Southern country-rock heroes the Kentucky Headhunters. Although they formed initially and briefly in the late '60s, the Headhunters didn't officially debut until the late '80s, when they put out “Pickin' on Nashville,” a country album, that, as its title suggests, didn't quite cotton to the strictures of Nashville. In debt more to Lynyrd Skynyrd than George Jones, the album featured the biggest hits of the band's career, “Dumas Walker” and “Oh, Lonesome Me.” Over the last two decades, through line-up changes and ebbing popularity, the Headhunters have continued to kick out a Southern hybrid of blues, rock and honky-tonk. Sonic (and actual) descendants of the Headhunters Black Stone Cherry also features on the bill. (Drummer John Fred Young is Headhunters drummer Young's son.) Firmly rooted in Southern rock, BSC leaves behind the country of its forbears in favor of hard-charging modern rock, with hints of '90s grunge acts like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Local rockers Monoxide Project open. The concert will close several downtown North Little Rock roads and alter trolley routes. See www.mainstreetargenta.org for more info.
BOB LOG III
9 p.m., Downtown Music. $5.
Here, fair readers, are Bob Log III's bona fides — or if you like, six reasons to stay the hell away or get really excited, depending on your bent: He's huge in Japan (like distributed by Sony-huge and plays auditoriums-huge). He's Tom Waits endorsed (“I like people who glue macaroni on to a piece of cardboard and paint it gold,” Waits said of Log). A one-man band, he plays slide guitar while stomping on a kick drum and stepping on a drum machine. He always performs while wearing a motorcycle helmet wired with a telephone microphone. Because he sings fast and through the telephone microphone, he's almost always incomprehensible. On his three albums, he has songs called “Drunk Stripper,” “Boob Scotch,” “Ass Computer” and “Land of a Thousand Swirling Asses.”
6 p.m., Downtown Hot Springs, $5-$7.
All things German will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday in Hot Springs during the city's annual Oktoberfest. To wit, there's the Waterloo German Band, kicking things off on Friday night and performing twice on Saturday, a German dog show on Saturday (open to all breeds, with contests for only the dog-friendliest, like “Best German Costume” and “Best Kisser”), a German strong-arm contest and various German contests and games. It's a pretty safe bet that there'll be plenty of German food and beer on hand, too. Plus, the Village Polka Dots band will perform, Mrs. Arkansas will be on hand, and there'll be a Hog calling contest, something any red-blooded Arkansan, of German descent or otherwise, can get behind.
THE RAT PACK
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.
In sleek black tuxedos, with big charm and vocals to match, the Rat Pack was the quintessence of cool in the '60s. Now it's back, at least in spirit, in a choreographed tribute to the Pack's three most famous performers — Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Broadway stage veterans Eric Jordan Young, Sal Viviano and Nat Chandler make up the cast, who'll join the full Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for classics like “Volare,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Mr. Bojangles.” The latest in the Pops Live! Series, “The Rat Pack” also plays on Saturday at 8 p.m.
ARKANSAS RIVER FAMILY FEST (CANCELED)
10 a.m., North Shore Park, North Little Rock. $7-$10.
For parents and/or lovers of petting zoos, “Star Wars,” Elvis impersonator Tony Witt and clowns, here's your second chance in as many weeks to enjoy an overabundance of fun. Last week, Butch Stone brought his everything-but-the-kitchen-sink “Family Fest” concept to Lake Willastein in Maumelle. This weekend, Little Rock and North Little get the festival at the North Shore Park on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, there's everything a kid could want — the largest petting zoo in the state, pony rides, carnival rides, magic and a screening of “Star Wars.” For grown folks, the festival offers a broad slew of musical entertainment, led by rock crooner Josef Hedinger, impressive young cowgirl Cara Martin, bombastic pop-rockers Latture, the winners of Windsong's Little Rock Star and more. On Saturday, the festival runs a full 12 hours, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., and on Sunday, it stretches from noon until 10 p.m. Tickets are available at Harvest Foods throughout Central Arkansas.
9 p.m., the Village. $15-$17.
Mired in the sounds of the late-'90s, Saliva remains intractable in its commitment to rap-rock and grunge. Even if critical opinion has left them behind, I'd be shocked if there aren't enough folks still waving the rap-rock flag around here to fill most of the Village. Led by vocalist Josey Scott (who's updated his should-length mane to spiky, blonde-tipped coif), the Memphis band first flirted with the national spotlight as a finalist in the 1997 Grammy Showcase. “Every Six Seconds,” the act's major label debut, melded rap-rock with alterna-metal and electronic touches. More than their peers, Scott and co. manage to work melody into their material with regularity. Saliva comes to town in support of “Blood Stained Love Story,” which includes stylistic nods to Nirvana, Creed, Alice in Chains and Third Eye Blind.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $15-$17.
If you live in central Arkansas, have $30 to $34, can stay out relatively late on a work night and enjoy alterna-metal, this might be one of the best weeks of your year. Just two days after their post-grunge brethren Saliva play the Village, Drowning Pool bring the noise to Juanita's on Tuesday. After three vocalists over the course of three albums —founding member and lead vocalist Dave Williams died, tragically, of natural causes just as the band started getting popular and his replacement, Jason “Gong” Jones, split with the band after just one album for “irreconcilable differences” — the metal act has somehow managed to keep it together. For the last year, vocalist Ryan McCombs has led the band into gloomier territory — lots of drop-D tunings, pounding grunge riffs and songs about stitches (“37 Stitches”) and being paralyzed (“Paralyzed”). The band's latest single, “Soldiers,” pays homage to our troops abroad. Along those lines, they come to Juanita's on their “This Is for the Soldiers Tour,” on which they're donating $1 from every ticket sold to provide better mental and physical health care for returning veterans.
‘TALES OF THE CRYPT'
5:30 p.m., Mount Holly Cemetery. Donations.
For the 13th year in a row, students from Parkview High will take on the guises of a handful of dead Arkansans in Mount Holly Cemetery, the resting place of best and brightest among dead Arkansans. Near 16 gravesites (David O. Dodd, boy spy, perhaps?), the fully costumed student actors will recreate the lives of the interred following original scripts they've written for the performances. Don't come costumed unless you're ready to be shunned by historical figures. This isn't Halloween come early. The recreating goes until 8:30 p.m.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…