Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $6.
Years before Ben Nichols smoked his millionth cigarette, gravelling his voice to its current phlegmatic depths, there was Brent Best, who fronted a band that sounded as guttural and down-and-out as its name — Slobberbone. For somewhere around a decade, the group, based in Denton, Texas, toured tirelessly and released four albums that got lumped in the '90s alt-country movement, mostly as a consequence of geography. Best's growl came with a West Texas twang, but otherwise the band was stylistically all over the place — messy, Replacements-style bar rock, ruminative folk, with rooftop horns, keyboards, tuba and harmonica featured liberally. Now after a post-Slobberbone hiatus, three-fourths of the group, including Best and guitarist Jess Barr and drummer Tony Harper, have come together as the Drams. They sound an awful lot like Slobberbone, if a little poppier. Fans of bands like Lucero, the Hold Steady and Drive-By Truckers, take note. In what's becoming a calling card for White Water, the venue has the Drams playing a two-night stand with Glossary, another band that often unjustifiably gets tagged as alt-country. In the last year, the Murfreesboro rockers have built up a sizeable following with repeated visits to the tavern. Locally revered singer/songwriter Kevin Kerby, who grew up in Texas with Best, opens the show.
9 p.m., Revolution. $10.
There are talented musicians all over the place in Central Arkansas, but nowhere is musical success tied to the rigors of capitalism like within local hip-hop. A sizeable majority of local artists aspires to live off their music; several even do. No one, locally, thinks more about the business of music than Chane “Epiphany” Morrow, the rapper who fronts the live hip-hop band One Night Stand and heads the local label Conduit Entertainment. The Stanford-educated 28-year-old has elaborate philosophies on everything from hosting parties to targeting demographics when selling mixtapes. On Friday, he celebrates the launch of his biggest endeavor yet, IAmTheLife.net, a promotional website that will highlight the evolving careers of six local acts. Specific details remained closely guarded at press time, but Epiphany has promised the site will include interactive elements, video and downloadable music. The featured artists include Epiphany, Suga City, DK and Souljah T, 607, Carteaire Custom and Sean West. At “The Chill,” the regular concert series Epiphany organizes, Epiphany and One Night Stand perform with 607 and, for the first time in months, slow-roll duo Suga City. DJ Discipline mans the turntables. There's bound to be audio/visual presentations.
8 p.m., Peabody RiverTop Party. $5.
They might not draw the biggest crowd — that feat almost surely will be accomplished by '80s cover band Venus Mission — but the Peabody doesn't have a bigger name on the schedule for this year's RiverTop Party concert series. Long a heavyweight on Southern stages, New Orleans act Cowboy Mouth barrels into town in support of their latest album, “Voodoo Shoppe.” Recorded pre- and post-Katrina, the album captures the party rockers in poppy kiss-off mode (in “Joe Strummer,” lead singer Fred LeBlanc is dumping a girl because she doesn't know who the Clash front man is) and in a more reflective spirit (“Home” considers post-Katrina devastation). Even though LeBlanc is the sole original member, the band's punchy rock sounds mostly unchanged. “Jenny Says,” the 1996 song that might be the group's biggest hit, sounds right at home next to Cowboy Mouth's newest single, “Kelly Ripa,” which, perhaps predictably, includes lines like “a mommy, with a body of a strippa.”
MATES OF STATE
9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
Have you forsaken indie rock? Tired of the blog hype? Use the word “twee” with disdain? Too many bad band names and mewing, weepy white boys? Consider an antidote: the buoyant — but never cloying — pop of Mates of State. Made up of a cute-as-a-button married couple, the keys-(her)-and-drum-(him) act specializes in maximalist pop, full of intricate harmonies and surging choruses that belie the two-person roster. Their new album, “Re-Arrange Us,” considers love and loss, suburbia and politics. If you listen closely, you can parse out heady, not always optimistic lyrics. The lead single, “Get Better,” includes lyrics about “voting in circles” and the difference between “a serious vote” and “a party of jokes.” But brightness prevails. The bit you'll remember, the much-repeated chorus, gives the charge, “Forget your politics for awhile/let the color schemes arrive.” Similarly upbeat indie-poppers Headlights open. Lead singer Erin Fein looks and sounds a bit like Feist if she were a shoegazer.
8 p.m., the Village. $17 adv., $20 d.o.s.
Alkaline Trio fans are getting anxious. After they released five records in seven years, there's been radio silence from the group for going on three years. Blame the troubled record industry (not hard these days). The pop-punkers jumped from Vagrant to V2 several years back, just before V2 was sold and “restructured.” Now on Epic, with a record that the band was forced to spend two-and-a-half years on, AT is set to release “Agony and Irony” on July 1. Based on songs released on the web thus far, it's a step forward. Aggressive, tuneful, full of epic slow-build choruses, the new material is as angsty and confessional — but never weepy — as the best of Alkaline Trio. In the opening slot, Long Island's Bayside plays a similar brand of moody emo-punk that's built them a fan base that might not match Alkaline Trio's, but soon could.
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $37.50-$50.
Katt Williams often gets billed as the “king of underground comedy.” That's probably about to change. You sell out enough arenas and auditoriums (at press time only the balcony at Robinson remained open), do enough music video cameos, HBO specials and movies, and pretty soon, “underground” ain't going to fit. Those who've seen his HBO special, “The Pimp Chronicles, Vol. 1,” or seen him almost single-handedly make terrible movies worth watching (“Norbit,” “Friday After Next”) know what I'm talkin' about. The man is stupid funny. So funny that those comparisons to Richard Pryor don't seem ridiculous (though, like MJ, there will never be another Richard Pryor, though we'll be heralding the next Richard Pryor forever). A gifted physical comedian, Williams is ribald, controversial and tireless. Sadly, his best jokes are pretty much unprintable herein. But it's not hard to find clips. See YouTube, see the trailer for the forthcoming “American Hustle,” see even the new “Grand Theft Auto” game, which features exclusive material from the comedian.
‘THE LOVE GURU'
7 p.m., Breckenridge 12. $25.
In the Little Rock Film Festival's quest to stay involved with the community, organizers have announced that they plan to screen narrative features and documentaries year-round. To kick off the series, together with the Little Rock Film Commission and the Arkansas Film Commission, the LRFF presents a sneak-peek of the new Mike Myers comedy, “The Love Guru.” The Arkansas connection, as LRFF-goers know, is Graham Gordy, the screenwriter behind festival favorite “War Eagle, Arkansas.” Gordy, a Conway native, studied playwriting at New York University and met Myers through his then-wife, who'd happened on one of his plays. Myers had recently lost his longtime writing partner, the two had similar sensibilities and soon they started sketching out a character based on Myers' impression of Deepak Chopra (look for a Q&A with Gordy in next week's Arkansas Times). The result, co-written and associate-produced by Gordy, is “The Love Guru,” starring Myers as an American-born, India-raised self-help guru, who travels to Canada to assist a hockey player whose romantic troubles seem to be adversely affecting his game. Jessica Alba, Verne Troyer (Austin Powers' Mini-Me) and, promisingly, Justin Timberlake also star. Gordy will attend the Arkansas premiere and participate in a Q&A after the film. An after-party at Lilly's Dim Sum Then Some will follow.