Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
10 p.m., Juanita's, $15 adv., $17 d.o.s.
Named for the formative grade school location in lead singer John Wozniak's Minneapolis childhood, the alt/post-grunge trio Marcy Playground is perhaps best known for its 1997 hit, “Sex and Candy.” Wozniak's first effort, “Zog BogBean — From the Marcy Playground,” was self-produced in 1990 and recorded in his bedroom studio with help from then-girlfriend Sherry Fraser, after whom a future song was named. MP is quiet and minimalist in tone, covering styles such as modern folk, blurry psychedelia and unmistakable rock with undertones of children's tunes. The band's known for delivering deep cover tunes, having jammed on rarities by Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead and Neil Young. With four albums completed, including this year's “Leaving Wonderland … in a Fit of Rage,” due July 7, Marcy Playground comes to town on the verge of dropping another release, an untitled compilation of rarities. Little Rock's alt-experimental Falcon Scott opens the 18-and-up show. PP.
9 p.m., Peabody. $5.
In the absence of Power 92's annual Juneteenth concert, the RiverTop Party tries to fill the entertainment void with Sky High, a special one-off night curated by Cool Shoes' TJ Deeter and Chane “Epiphany” Morrow, the rapper and promoter behind the Chill. Both organizers multi-task. Deeter mans the ones and twos, with a mix of retro and contemporary hip-hop, while Epiphany fronts the live hip-hop band One Night Stand, one of the city's easiest bands to like. Familiar faces fill out the bill. With Epiphany, R&B crooner Sean West, who's going by Sean Fresh these days, recently put out a mixtape called “The Excuse.” To promote the CD, the pair compiled a video of 17 excuses people on the street give for not buying a local CD. It's a funny mini-documentary. Look for West to mix playful humor with earnest come-hither material. Prolific local MC Rockst*r has lately been gearing for a national push. He's toured regionally and in New York, and two weeks ago he released a crunchy, bass-heavy anthem that celebrates nightlife. It's called “1 A.M.” and he's billing it as his “national debut single.” It'll be a fitting end of the night. The party wraps up at 1 a.m. LM.
11 a.m., Ninth and Broadway to Ninth and State. Free.
Last year, Arkansas natives and Davidson College students Julian Walker and Darrel Scott made a short documentary about Power 92's annual Juneteenth concert that sought to expose the radio station's event as little more than a marketing ploy, with the history and importance of Juneteenth (a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation) de-emphasized or not even mentioned at all. This year, the pair has teamed with the Little Rock NAACP to organize what Walker says is “not merely a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, but of the ongoing struggle for freedom by blacks in America.” To that end, the event features a diverse array of music, poetry, dance and lecture. Walker will offer a presentation called “Why Does Juneteenth Matter Today?” (11:45 a.m.), the text of which might be similar to an editorial Walker provided to the Times, which is posted on Rock Candy. As for music, there are a lot of familiar names on the bill — Rodney Block (2:45 p.m.), Epiphany (3:15 p.m.), Ron Mc (4:15 p.m.), 4X4 Crew (5:15 p.m.), Shea Marie (6:15 p.m.), Nikki Parish (7:15 p.m.) — along with other intriguing if less known ones, including Queen Esther, a gospel singer from Kenya (12:45 p.m.), and the Gloryland Pastor Choir (1 p.m.). There'll be food and drink vendors on the street. The event runs until 8 p.m. LM.
6:30 p.m., Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. $125.
Levon. Perhaps more than any other Arkansas musician, he's one we're on a first-name basis with. His story's well known: Born in Turkey Scratch, reared in Marvell and raised on Sonny Boy Williamson and KFFA radio, Helm became a Hawk — a member of Ronnie Hawkins' band — as soon as he graduated high school. Hawkins and the Hawks migrated to Canada, recruited all the Canadian future members of the band and before long the Hawks broke off on their own, initially as Levon and the Hawks. Then came Dylan and Woodstock and “Music from Big Pink” and a decade of international fame with The Band that ended, in overblown fashion, with Scorcese's “The Last Waltz.” In the years that have followed, Levon's shown his creative range, acting convincingly in films like “Coal Miner's Daughter,” “The Right Stuff” and “Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.” He's also released a spate of critically acclaimed solo records, most recently the Grammy Award-winning “Dirt Farmer,” his first solo album in 25 years. He comes to Arkansas for two shows: one on Thursday at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville and this one at Wildwood, which continues an annual tradition begun last year with the Louis Jordan celebration “Jump!” In advance of Helm's concert, there'll be a pre-show reception with free wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres followed by presentations, remarks and special guests, including, notably, Anna Amsden, the Phillips County woman known the world wide as “young Anna Lee” in the lyrics of “The Weight.” In concert, look for Helm and his 12-man backing band to preview songs from “Electric Dirt,” due out on June 30. LM.
8 p.m., Malco Theater, Hot Springs. $5.
Bjork fans in Arkansas long ago came to grips with the idea that Iceland's finest pop chanteuse will never play a show anywhere in the Natural State. But, if we'll never experience her elaborate stage show without driving a piece, the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, in conjunction with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, presents an advance of Bjork's new tour film, “Voltaic,” which doesn't come out nationally until Tuesday. The concert film, culled from footage from Bjork concerts in Paris and Reykjavik, mostly includes material from the singer's latest album, “Volta,” as well as songs like “Hunter,” “Joga” and “Army of Me.” Her band features harpsichord, church organ and an all female Icelandic 10-piece brass section. It's bound, as all things Bjork typically are, to be visually dazzling, too. Admission benefits the Valley of the Vapors, while concession sales go to the Documentary Film Festival. LM.
RIVER CITY TANLINES
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
The best part of Craig Brewer's Memphis music series on MTV — other than hearing Ben Nichols say the words “Muck Sticky” — was the River City Tanlines fiery performance of “I'm Your Negative” amidst a roller derby brawl. Since 2004, the three-piece, led by the irrepressible Alicja Trout, has spread the gospel of Memphis rock 'n' roll throughout North America and Europe, releasing two LPs and a host of seven inches along the way. The band is punk in presentation and often in sound, with a solid helping of garage rock and riot grrl and a touch of New Wave. It's not to be missed. The new North Little Rock-based rock trio Brother Andy and His Big Damn Band opens along with folk-rocker Jonathan Wilkins. LM.
POP THE TOP FEST
5 p.m., Vino's. $10.
I know what hundreds of angst-y, Hot Topic-wearing teen-agers are doing on Saturday. They'll be lining up on the sidewalk on the corner of Seventh and Chester to get in to see Central Arkansas's most popular young, emo-ish rock bands. It'll be a homecoming for the headliners. Jacksonville's PMtoday, anchored by brothers Ryan, Connor and Cuinn Brogan, recently signed to Oregon-based indie label Rise Records. They're set to record in September in advance of a projected 2010 release. In the meantime, they're likely to continue a regime that seems to be the norm of young bands of their ilk — nonstop touring. That's certainly the standard for Little Rock's Schoolboy Humor, a poppy four-piece from Little Rock that released its debut on Vagrant Records in February. They've since pretty much lived on the road. Look for a young crowd who knows the words to help welcome them home. Don't Call Me Shirley, the Downtown Fiction, Select Start, Box Wine, Harp and Lyre and Your Best Friend also perform. LM.