Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
THE WILD FEATHERS
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $10.
Nashville newcomers The Wild Feathers got the kind of start that scruffy rock-band dudes the world over would kill for: Signed to a major label (Interscope) before they'd played so much as a single show. That arrangement didn't last, but Warner Bros. scooped the band up and shortly after their self-titled debut was released, they were on the road supporting Willie Nelson. Singer/guitarist Ricky Young told Paste recently that Nelson and his crew's "whole attitude and outlook and the way they treat other people, other young bands like ourselves, it was a great learning experience." The Feathers play a propulsive brand of Americana fueled by three primary songwriters and singers who take turns at the mic but can also harmonize beautifully. In its brief existence, the band has been saddled with the traditionalist label, along with a fairly consistent list of influences (Petty, Dylan, Allman Brothers, The Band). While those are fair comparisons, it's also a bit of shorthand that's not entirely accurate, as there's a pronounced pop sensibility going on with the band, along with an undeniable knack for melody shared by each of the three songwriters and deftly showcased by producer Jay Joyce. So are The Wild Feathers headed for Kings of Leon/Black Keys/Alabama Shakes-level renown? Who knows? But you probably don't want to be hearing about this show in a year or two when they're playing much bigger venues and kicking yourself for not going to see 'em at the Rev Room when you had the chance. Opening up are John and Jacob and Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts.
ARKANSAS TIMES CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
6-9 p.m. Argenta Farmer's Market. $35 adv., $40 door.
Now, obviously, I'm going to be biased in favor of any event organized by the Times. But this right here is one of the most sure-fire good times of the entire year for the suds-lover with discriminating tastes. Have you ever wanted to wander a giant candy store, sampling as many different candies as your taste buds desire? Well that's what's you'll get at the 2nd Annual Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, only instead of candy, it's craft beer. There will be about 50 different brewers from across the state, region and country, all ready to dole out samples of their beers for your delectation. Of course, moderation in all things and all that, and for sure get yourself a cab or DD if you're planning on imbibing. But last year I found that if you eat a bunch and drink plenty of water, you can taste lots of beers and it won't really get on top of you. Another thing that's great is that there's not too much in the way of commitment. Don't dig something? No problemo, just discreetly pour it out into one of the trashcans and move on to the next one. It's not like you're into it for a $7 pint, so don't be afraid to branch out. Be sure to check out our guide to the festival from last week's issue, which provides a rundown of each brewery and what they'll be pouring.
THURSDAY 10/31-FRIDAY 11/1
BOO AT THE ZOO
6-9 p.m. Little Rock Zoo. $5-$20.
There's probably no place else in the metro area with more Halloween fun per square foot than the Little Rock Zoo. Boo at the Zoo has been an institution for more than two decades, and a cursory glance at all of the offerings makes the case: trick-or-treating in a safe, family-friendly atmosphere (natch), live music, carnival rides, a haunted house, carousel rides, a haunted hayride or veldt walkway, a Day of the Dead celebration, bounce house inflatables, s'mores, food trucks, animal presentations and much more.
MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK
Juanita's. 8 p.m. $18 adv., $20 day of.
By this point, pop-punkers Motion City Soundtrack are veterans of the scene, having long since made the transition from basement shows and indie labels to signing to Epitaph and opening for the likes of Blink-182. The four full-lengths the band has released over the last decade have all been critically well received, earning nods for a catchy punk buzz infused with wry lyrical observations and a grasp of pop songcraft. Critic Corey Apar wrote for Allmusic that the band's "My Dinosaur Life" "may already be the most perfect pop-punk record of 2010 — emphasis on the pop. This is the album that Weezer could have created if they hadn't decided uninteresting frat boy pop/rock was the best way to play out the 2000s." The band's latest, last year's "Go," was largely seen as a turn toward more contemplative and somber subject matter. Opening the show are Christian pop-punk mainstays Relient K and Austin indie-pop outfit Driver Friendly.
7:30 p.m. Reynolds Performance Hall. $30-$40.
This will be a real treat for fans of Broadway as well as good ol' fashioned incredible singing: Celebrated soprano Audra McDonald will be performing two concerts in Arkansas this weekend, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Fort Smith Convention Center and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall. McDonald has played numerous roles on stage and screen, winning a record-tying five Tony Awards, most recently for her role in "Porgy and Bess" (Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris are the other five-Tony winners), and two Grammys. She's released several albums on the high-brow Nonesuch label, taking on everything from standards and Broadway faves to songs from contemporary songwriters.
It's not every weekend that an artist of McDonald's caliber comes to town, so if you've been looking for a fun yet sophisticated night out, here's a can't-lose option.
THE MOWGLI'S, KOPECKY FAMILY BAND, THE ROCKETBOYS
7:30 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 day of.
If you've got a yen for youthful, unrelentingly earnest Cali-fied indie rock with like seven people all singing at once, then you might should check out The Mowgli's. I wasn't kidding about all those people singing at once — there are eight people in this band and very often they're all singing at the same time. Their bandcamp bio describes The Mowgli's thusly: "8 friends from Los Angeles who are making music with love, and making love with music." The Kopecky Family Band and The Rocketboys will be familiar names to observers of the local live music scene, having notched several shows in the area over the last couple-three years. The Kopecky crew is on tour for their brand-spankin' new ATO Records debut "Kids Raising Kids." The Rocketboys are coming off of a tumultuous 2012, which saw half the band quit, resulting in last year's "Build Anyway."
'THE STATE OF ARIZONA'
6:30 p.m. Laman Library. Free.
At this point, who knows when Congress will address immigration reform? Which is a tragedy, considering the number of egregious, anti-illegal-immigrant (translation: anti-human) laws passed or introduced by many states in recent years, most notably Arizona, home of SB 1070, a.k.a. the "You look Mexican, show me your papers" law. That's what this documentary, "The State of Arizona," is all about. Actually, it concerns not only this terrible law (which was more or less tailor-made for the benefit of the private prison industry, which seeks to suck up taxpayer dollars by throwing little kids and families behind bars), but also documents the terrible toll it has taken and will continue to take on not only people working in the U.S. without documentation, but also folks who just happen to look like someone who might be working in the U.S. without documentation. The film will make its television premiere on Jan. 27 as part of the renowned PBS series Independent Lens, but you can catch it Tuesday at Laman Library for free.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…