Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE
7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $50.75-$68.25.
The dominant pop-culture phenomenon of the last five years makes the jump from the small screen to the stage on Friday. The 56-concert tour brings the television show’s top 10 finalists to town. Irrepressible 17-year-old winner Jordin Sparks will perform with runner-up “beat-boxing” Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones, Chris Richardson, Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar, Haley Scarnato, Chris Sligh and Gina Glocksen. Over the two-hour concert, each performer will sing one song alone, duos and trios will take on hits and all 10 will do several numbers. If American Idol’s history is any indication, more than one of the top 10 will go on to become bona fide stars. This might be the last time to see them when up-and-coming is a fitting adjective.
7:30 p.m, Acoustic Sounds Cafe. $10.
Runaway Planet can get after it. When Little Rock’s premier bluegrass act decides to dive into an upbeat number, those who want to foot-tap along better be ready to get downright aerobic. Runaway Planet’s players pick cartoonishly fast. With Greg Alexander on vocals and guitar, Steve Brauer on vocals and banjo, Ben Ellis on mandolin and Michael Proveaux on vocals and bass, the band formed in 2001 and has played all across the state and with Del McCoury and Sam Bush and every big name bluegrass performer who’s come to town. In 2002, the four-piece won our annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, and two years later, they put out “No Part of Nothin’,” a gem of a debut album that found them bridging the gap between genre pioneers like Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs and “newgrass” acts like the Seldom Scene. Now, RP is in the studio working on a much-anticipated follow-up album, due this fall. Mark Wayne Glasmire, a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania, who calls Texas home now, will open the show. He cites the Beatles, Harry Chapin and John Denver as influences and seems to be on the road constantly. Acoustic Sounds is smoke and alcohol free.
SAN ANTOKYO / WINTER FURS / THE EASYS
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
The brothers Kerby, Josh and Kevin, make up the core of San Antokyo, a raw roots rock outfit in the tradition of Centromatic. Kevin, lead singer of Mulehead and storied solo performer, cedes the front-man role to his brother, who handles it like he’s always been there. The band is set to go into the studio in August to record its debut, tentatively scheduled to come out in late fall. If it’s anything like the infectiously hooky “Guilty Pilots” (off the Thick Syrup compilation), it’ll be a must-own. Also on the bill: Winter Furs, a lo-fi four-piece made up of former members of Sugar and the Raw Conrad Burnham, Mark Lierly and Brandon Johnson, along with Chris Thomas. Burnham sings and plays lead guitar in this melodic pop band that makes moody music that can easily move from soothing to stirring. Worth the wait: The Easys, led by Isaac Alexander (Boondogs, Big Silver) and backed by Jason Weinheimer, Charles Wyrick, Rob Bell and John Crowley. A Costello-like crooner, Alexander is a masterful singer/songwriter, who’ll surely deliver several songs off of the band’s newish album “Blood Capsule,” which was released on Max Recordings in March.
10 p.m., Juanita’s. $8
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