Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
ROCK CITY KICKS OPENING
4 p.m., Rock City Kicks. Free (with shoes to buy).
Sneaker fiends of all stripes, your prayers are answered. No more bribing your big-city friends into trips to the store and the post office. No more chancing the pitfalls of online shopping. On Thursday, in conjunction with Hillcrest's monthly Shop-n-Sip, Rock City Kicks celebrates its grand opening. Located at 623 Beechwood, next door to Hillcrest Junk and across from Kroger, the store will service a discerning sneaker clientele, folks who want more than the run of the mill selection the chain footwear stores offer. Think sneaker boutique. Proprietor Cory Bacon, who out-on-the-towners will recognize as the shred-tastic lead guitarist for Smoke Up Johnny, says he hopes to cater to a broad audience, one that includes, but isn't limited to, the urban world, skaters, vegans and his parents. He's carrying shoes from brands like Nike, Adidas Original, Puma, Asics, Onitsaka, Castle and Tiddies (a brand of sandal he says his parents wore in the '70s), as well as several apparel lines. In the beginning, Bacon plans on staying open seven days a week, from around 11 a.m. or noon till 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. The opening night party will likely stretch into the night a little while. TJ Deeter and Dirtbag DJ. LM.
YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND
9 p.m., Revolution. $20.
Take an upright bassist raised by musicians and nurtured by his dad's Big Band expertise, a proud college dropout guitarist who discovered the mandolin, a skateboarding metalhead-turned-acoustic-guitarist/forestry student and a college student who was playing banjo gigs almost immediately after first laying hands on one, and you've got Yonder Mountain String Band, formed in 1998 in Nederland, Colo. Within two years they were playing at historic venues like San Francisco's Fillmore. After a decade together, they've built a devout following among bluegrass and jam band fans. The sound, captured on four studio albums and five installments of the “Mountain Tracks” live recording series, is a melding of electric/acoustic guitars, banjo, upright bass and mandolin, accompanied by articulate harmonies and soulful lyrics. Songs such as “Hope's Half Full” conjure uplifting images of overalls, rocking chairs, front-porch sunsets and jugs of wine. PP.
LIVING SACRIFICE REUNION
8:30 p.m., Vino's. $15 adv./$17 d.o.s.
Unless you're conversant in bands like Demonhunter, here's a fun fact you probably didn't know about Little Rock: In the '90s our fair city was at the center of Christian thrash/death metal movement. Thrash, you say? Christian death metal? That's right. Dressing in black, screaming incomprehensibly and playing faster and louder than everyone else is not the exclusive province of the hail-Satan crowd (or even the spiritually ambivalent). There's a strong contingent that does all those things, but for Jesus. Perhaps none deserves more credit for shaping the scene than Living Sacrifice, a band formed in Little Rock in 1989 that toured all over the place, released nearly 10 albums and included members who would later go on to join bands such as P.O.D. and Evanescence. Like those bands, Living Sacrifice's popularity transcended the Christian music crowd. Now, after a five-year hiatus, Living Sacrifice has reformed with not quite the original line-up, but one that no one's likely to complain about. The band kicks off a long tour opening for Demonhunter with a big show at Vino's, featuring North Little Rock metal heroes Rwake, Ashes of Augustine and Soul Embraced. LM.
KEVIN KERBY & BATTERY / KYOTO BOOM
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Former Muleheads Kevin Kerby, Geoff Curran and Dave Raymond celebrate a reunion of sorts as two of Little Rock's finest bands take the stage at White Water. The bands have gained steam at different speeds: For the last few months, Kyoto Boom has been owning just about any stage that would have them, including a finals appearance at the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Scott Cook (Ashtray Babyhead, the Kicks) leads the trio, with Dave Raymond on guitar and Duke Boyne on drums, in arena-size post-punk that's always a sight to see in White Water. After a long hiatus, Kevin Kerby and Battery have lately been recording and stepping out a little more. Kevin Kerby is Little Rock's resident troubadour. Battery, his backing band, features several longtime vets of the scene: Geoff Curran on guitar, Joshua Bentley on bass and Marcus Lowe on drums. LM.
7:30 p.m., Summit Arena, Hot Springs, $25.75-$32.75.
n Introduced to country music at 17 by a friend who turned him on to Hank Williams Jr.'s “Man to Man,” Dierks Bentley's singing and songwriting career has maintained a full head of steam since his debut single, “What Was I Thinkin',” hit No. 1 on Billboard's country charts in 2003. He's toured steadily since, and his most recent live endeavor consists of an 18-song set critics have hailed as a “breathtaking barn-burner of an affair.” With five well-received albums under his belt in as many years, and a 2008 nomination for a CMT Performance of the Year award, Bentley's “Throttle Wide Open” tour shifts into high gear Friday when it rolls into Hot Springs with tour mates Luke Bryan and Bucky Covington. Even before his first Capitol Records single, “All My Friends Say,” had been sent to country radio, Bryan was already receiving significant media attention, including being named one of Billboard's new faces to watch in 2007. Covington's road to Nashville came down to convincing one person. After impressing millions in TV land on “American Idol,” Sawyer Brown producer and front man Mark Miller helped slingshot Covington into the national spotlight. PP.
LOUIS JORDAN FILM SERIES
1 p.m., Dickinson Hall, UALR. Free.
If Louis Jordan were still alive, he'd be 100 this year. That's reason enough to fete the Brinkley native, who as a bandleader, vocalist, composer, saxophonist and actor loomed large in popular culture in the '40s and, though he remains largely unknown today (even, criminally, in his home state), contemporary music would likely look a lot different without Jordan's influence. As part of the centennial, UALR and the Ozark Foothills Film Festival team up to present an encore presentation of “Louis Jordan at 100: The Film Record,” which screened previously at the festival in Batesville. The program starts at 1 p.m. with “The Early Years,” which includes the full-length “Beware,” the musical short “Caldonia” and various other shorts. At 3 p.m., “Jordan in Hollywood” includes excerpts from “Three Cheers for the Boys,” excerpts of “Swing Parade 1946” and more shorts. Many of the shorts are “soundies,” a sort of precursor to the music video. Arkansongs producer Stephen Koch joins film historians Ben Fry and Bob Pest to give insight on Jordan's film oeuvre. LM.
8 p.m., Revolution. $12-$20.
Joke rap is back. More than 20 years after the Beastie Boys rode one-liners (and a fair amount of charisma and skill) to fame, groups like Dyslexic Speedreaders and Lord T and Eloise are tearing up the club scene. Two thirds of the former, Dirt Nasty and Andre Legacy, headline on Saturday. Dirt Nasty is the MC name of Simon Rex, former porn star and MTV VJ, who's lately starred in films like “Scary Movie 3,” “Scary Movie 4” and “Superhero Movie” and done sketch comedy for sites like Superdeluxe and Funny or Die. As Dirt Nasty, Rex affects an ultra-hedonistic pose, wearing a rope chain and bragging about women and cocaine. In “1980,” his recent popular web video, he raps, “I shine like Morrissey on Hennessey on Christmas Eve / No, more like Morris Day on hella yay, dressing gay.” Legacy is more of the same, but with a deeper voice. Memphis' Lord T and Eloise regularly pack in 200 head bobbers to their frequent shows at Sticky Fingerz. Saturday, they bring powder wigs, gold face paint and “artisto-crunk” to Revolution. LM.
ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS
7 p.m., Christ Episcopal Church. $17.50.
Few names in acoustic folk music are bigger than Robin and Linda Williams. The acclaimed husband and wife duo honed their skills at Nashville open mics and songwriters' workshops in the early '70s, before catching their first break, when they secured a spot on Garrison Keillor's “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show. For years, they appeared on the show as many as a dozen times a year, and they appeared, prominently, in the film version of “A Prairie Home Companion” in 2006. With more than 15 albums to their credit, they've had their songs covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tom T. Hall and the Seldom Scene. The duo comes to town in support of “Radio Songs,” an album that collects 19 performances from “A Prairie Home Companion.” For more information, call 375-2342. LM.