Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.
If the jam-packed crowd at the Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick concert in April at Revolution is any indication, Central Arkansas is hungry for old school rap heroes. That's what local promoter Chris Bowen is thinking anyway with Whodini, who along with the likes of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and The Fat Boys were among the first rap acts to enjoy a national following. On one hand, the Brooklyn trio, of Jalil, Ecstasy (who, back in the day, always wore a Zorro-style hat) and DJ Grandmaster Dee, sounds its age, all plodding and passe rhymes. But on the other, dudes had a keen sense for production and a hook. Even if today we're growing weary of AutoTune, the vocorder and all other permutations of the robot voice, "Freaks Come Out at Night" remains a jam for the ages. "Five Minutes of Funk," too. Look for nostalgia to carry the show. And 607, who grows weirder and stronger as an MC by the minute, opens. Fifty bones gets you what Bowen calls "lavish" VIP treatment. LM
These guys are a Frankenstein of every genre you like from the last five decades. They're a dollop of the '60s British invasion jingle-jangle, '70s post-hippie harmony, '80s new-wave attitude, '90s college-rock intuition and '00s indie-pop bop. It's an effortless melange of influence that's kept them in studios and on the road since their debut in 2003, which, for the record, opened with one of the best pieces of California-dusted pop of the decade in their Ric Ocasek-produced, Mamas and Papas-in-the-garage single "Blueside." They're joined by The Young Veins, a Kinks-biting (I mean that in the best way) '60s psych act formed by two ex-pats from baroque emo superstars Panic! At the Disco, and Black Gold, a promising summer pop duo already gaining notoriety as the guys behind the outro from "So You Think You Can Dance." JT.
I wish all of America's nutcases were more like Ted Nugent: a ton of guitar feedback-loving, A.D.D. embracing, flaming-bow-and-arrow-shooting whackadoos. The Nuge is one of the most curiously likable guys to strap on a guitar. One part Frank Zappa, one part Jethro Bodine with rightist politics cranked louder than his amps, he's best known currently as a firebrand for his offstage antics on the Outdoor Channel as host of "Spirit of the Wild" (one of this writer's all-time favorite guilty pleasures) and his frequent stops on Fox News. But remember when the Motor City Madman was simply the charmingly sociopathic guitar virtuoso who inspired the masses of up and coming shredders? The guy whose hyperactive licks provided the guitar tones of the '70s? He's still around and just as fluid. Guitarists, maybe it's time to pay some respect to the Cat. JT.
Downtown Little Rock is bracing itself for what will be a packed weekend of Fourth of July festivities. It kicks off on Saturday at the Clinton Presidential Center with an Independence Day Family Festival. The free family festival on the library grounds features storytellers, magicians and inflatable games, all with a patriotic twist. In addition, the library and guided tours within are open to the public Saturday and Sunday at no cost. The park closes down at 5 p.m. Sunday to make way for the annual Pops on the River celebration at Riverfest Amphitheatre. In its 25th year, the event is expecting to bring out over 25,000 people to hear the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, 8:30 p.m., and see the fireworks show, 9:30 p.m., regularly the largest, loudest and brightest in the entire state. This year also features the finals of the "Oh Say Can You Sing" contest, in which five finalists try to out-Spangle each other for a $1,000 prize; an apple-pie bakeoff; and a dunking booth manned by staffers at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who yearly sponsor the festival. The festival is free, but they'll accept donations of cash and non-perishable foods to benefit the Arkansas Foodbank Network. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. JT.
Bob Dylan, several years back, channeling Charley Patton, dressed like a gay Confederate general. That's the last time I can remember a whiter display of black face than what Joseph Israel, the Fayetteville-based Rasta man, promises to bring on Wednesday, when he comes to Rev, swingin' red dreads and singing about "Jah" in patois. Minstrelsy, of course, is one of American music's oldest traditions, with much great art to show for it: the best of The Rollings Stones' catalog, The Beastie Boys, Dylan's latter years, "Porgy and Bess." And, naturally, much racist, culturally insensitive and just plain silly art, too. Where you put Joseph Israel in that spectrum might depend on your opinion of reggae or your opinion of white jam culture's embrace of it. Maybe this message, from Israel on his MySpace page about his latest EP, will help you along: "This music is like a tree planted by the river of water that brings forth fruit in due season — fruits of Joy, Hope, Unity and Healing. I look forward to the day that the Earth will be restored, no more war, suffering or strife, only LIFE! I realized instead of just talking about these things I could share them through song and really have a positive effect. This message is healing people all over." LM.
Joe Nichols, the Rogers native who's lately been tearing it up on the charts, isn't exactly a throwback. He's well coifed, wears an earring and, at least based on his videos, favors the kind of generic rocker-wear that rappers and country stars, but not rockers, love so much. But in an era where just about every country star, regardless of style, aims for rock 'n' roll in his sound, Nichols is the rare star who, even at his rowdiest ("Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off") or most anthemic ("Gimme That Girl"), still sounds laid back. Which is just what you want to hear at an outdoor show in a vacant lot adjacent to the East End Baptist Church. A few days before he plays Magic Springs, Nichols comes to Saline County to help raise money to rebuild the East End Fire Department, which was destroyed by a tornado in May. LM.