Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
9 p.m., Juanita's. $12 adv./$15 d.o.s.
In his official bio, former Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies lead singer Mike Farris talks about God a lot. And not just God, but Jesus and love and grace. Several years back, Farris pulled a prodigal son and returned to the flock after a long battle with chemical dependency. Along the way, he started recording what became “Salvation in Lights,” a document of the faith that girds his recovery. All that might be reason to ignore Farris for those of us who would rather listen to white noise than praise music. But Farris isn't plying chirpy, hand-waving pap. His worship music comes in the far more palatable soul-gospel variety. On “Salvation,” he covers standards like “Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down” and “Oh Mary Don't You Weep” and sings blue-eyed soul as convincingly as anyone. His music borrows from dozens of Southern traditions — Memphis soul, Johnny Cash, early New Orleans gospel. Farris' performance will be acoustic; 18 and older will be admitted.
8 p.m., Vino's. $8 adv./$10 d.o.s.
Joe Lally is probably the third most famous member of Fugazi, the most famous DIY band ever (which is to say, in relatively small circles). In the four years since Fugazi began its indefinite hiatus, the bassist has occupied himself with a burgeoning solo career. Anchored by slow, loping bass lines, Lally's music is contemplative and, despite the pace and soft vocals, often urgent. On tour almost continuously since 2006, Lally will be backed on Thursday by Ricardo Lagomasino and Andrea Moscianese. His tour mate of late is Edie Sedgwick, a D.C.-based transgendered electro-pop artist with a mean celebrity obsession and a penchant for using video accompaniment. The Reds, the finest bass-player-led band in our neck of the woods (and probably yours, too), open the show with a spare, hook-heavy set of pop-rock.
6 p.m., UALR, Donaghey Student Center, rooms A, B and C. Free.
Bakari Kitwana doesn't flinch in the face of controversy. An activist and former editor at the Source, Kitwana has published three books, the most recent of which, “The Hip-Hop Generation,” investigates the lives of African-Americans born between 1965 and 1984. Overwhelmed with more pop cultural access, this hip-hop generation, Kitwana contends, uses culture only to “strengthen associations between blackness and poverty, while celebrating anti-intellectualism, ignorance, irresponsible parenthood, and criminal lifestyles” and enjoying “a free pass from black leaders” and “non-black critics who … fear being attacked as racist.” Kitwana's presentation is called “The Generation Gap: Building between Civil Rights and Hip Hop.”
8 p.m., Vino's. $5.
There are a lot of rappers on the grind in Little Rock, but none seem as adept at multi-tasking as Rockst*r. Busy nurturing a flourishing solo career — with new singles coming, lately, every couple of weeks — the MC has also found the time to take night classes, do voice work, grow his F.R.E.S.H. Goods clothing line of T-shirts and hoodies, perform steadily across the state and region and organize regular local concerts. Shew. On Friday, he's assembled a host of Little Rock's top young talent, including the 4X4 Crew, who put on a strong show at last week's Showcase; Young Taz of Next Page Records; the youth movement in Grim Muzik, Combination; 7 Deuce and Maxx of the Hip-Hop School, and Bonafied Music. The always-on-point DJ Discipline holds down the wheels of steel, Dirtbag hosts and of course Rockst*r will perform. Bring some dollars. Rockst*r will be ready to hook you up with some F.R.E.S.H. Goods for your spring and summer needs.
Good analysis, something completely lacking from the daily newspaper's sports reporters/columnists.
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