Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
9 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.
The American punk spirit took a huge hit when New York's legendary CBGB's shut its doors and turned into a high-end John Varvatos boutique in 2008 after much ballyhooing, eulogizing and metaphorizing. All the while, on the West Coast, The Smell in Los Angeles has been keeping the flame alive in its own small way, thriving as an all-ages rock venue and serving as a home base to some of the decade's best experimental punk and avant-garde acts like Health, Pocahaunted and ipso facto valedictorians of the club, No Age. Tapping into national acclaim in 2008 with their celebrated full-length debut, "Nouns," the guitar and drums duo of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt became critical darlings thanks to their art-rock aesthetic and distorted, skate-punk approach. With the 2010 release of their follow-up, "Everything in Between," the band pulled off the rare task of translating freshman success into a reputation as top-tier peddlers of D.I.Y. noise-pop. (In fact, I may be the only music writer in America that's yet to have puckered up to their hineys.) Expect a cacophony of fuzzed-out guitar loops, Monster-style drumming and sheets of off-key yarping. The acclaimed act is supported by Austrian tourmate Rene Hell, a "boundary-pushing" synth experimentalist about as exciting as that description would lead you to believe.
9 p.m., Stickyz. $7.
Of all the MOR radio rockers currently humming through the airwaves, not many are as musically ambitious as this Austin orchestral-pop act. Alpha Rev may be yet another band whose bare, emotional core was strip-mined from Jeff Buckley's tragic legacy and the minor-key warbling owes a debt to any number of inoffensive "Dawson's Creek" bands, but it sets itself apart, if not in scope, in size. It's a seven-piece band with six vocalists and cello and violin that doesn't sound terribly gimmicky and a high, ethereal tenor in front of the mix (lead vocalist and primary songwriter Casey McPherson) that bites, tastefully, from a "Bends"-era Thom Yorke. Formed in 2005 after the breakup of McPherson's previous, modern rock band, Endochine, Alpha Rev soon found a footing in its fiercely competitive home town, was named the best indie band from Texas by Myspace, signed to the Disney-owned Hollywood Records and became a regular fixture on VH1 with their biggest single, "New Morning." Along the way, the band also provided the soundtrack to MTV's "True Life: I Hate My Plastic Surgery" and contributed music to "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "The OCD Project." It may be a ham-handed soundtrack for your next pity party, but at least the band's aiming for grandeur.
Downtown Music Hall. $10-$35.
This weekend, Little Rock is set to play home to hardcore, metal, screamo fans from around the area with Knuckfest 2011, a three-day festival of all things heavy, fast and, God knows, angry. What started in 2005 as a night of hardcore acts from Memphis soon turned into a multi-day showcase by 2007 and since has attracted hordes of carpooling out-of-towners to what must be one of the toughest mosh pits in the country. Expect more than 30 bands including Crankbait, Ashes of Augustine, Zucura, Fallen Empire, A Darkend Era, The Kill Crazies, Wraith, Before There Was Rosalyn, and many, many more. Doors open 6 p.m. Friday, $10; 1 p.m. Saturday, $15; 1 p.m. Sunday, $10. Three-day passes available for $35.