Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
9 p.m., the Village. $15-$30.
Southern rock feeds into Chris Cagle's sound more than honky-tonk touchstones like Hank Williams and George Jones. Still, in today's popular country landscape, where big, bright pop artists like Big and Rich and Carrie Underwood rule the roost, Cagle almost figures in as a traditionalist. Even amid guitar rave-ups, the Louisiana native knows how to get at the heart of the new country landscape. He's got a coming-of-age track called “Wal-Mart Parking Lot” and another, lest you don't get the message, titled “Country by the Grace of God.” With a new single, “What Kinda Gone,” steadily climbing up the charts, and a forthcoming album with the same name, Cagle comes to town to perform with Chuck Gatlin, a Benton-reared country singer whose star seems to be rising. Like Cagle, Gatlin's sound rests firmly on Southern rock and old-fashioned Southern values. Sponsored by KSSN, the concert is Bob Robbins' annual “Toy Hill” event for Toys for Tots. Admission is $15 with a toy.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $12 adv./$15 d.o.s.
You better get your tickets early. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band always packs 'em in when they come to town. Long the standard bearers for the New Orleans brass band sound, the group has only broadened its appeal in the last several years with a prominent guest spot on Modest Mouse's “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” and their own latest album, “Funeral for a Friend.” A presence in New Orleans since 1977, Dirty Dozen has maintained a commitment to improvisation and genre mixing through various lineup changes, blending bebop, jazz standards and, especially, R&B with traditional brass band music. Their influence on the genre is unquestionable. Expect an instrumental get-down with two trumpets, two saxes, a trombone, a honking sousaphone, a bassist and a funky drummer. Local act Weakness for Blondes melds blues with meandering guitar workouts and a rhythm section geared for dancing. They'll open the show.
‘KEELY AND DU'
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.
Never afraid to tackle controversial material, the Weekend Theater presents Jane Martin's Pulitzer-nominated drama centered on the abortion debate. Keely, who works two jobs to take care of her invalid father, is raped by her alcoholic, estranged husband. In terror of hurting her child — because she knows it will be a part of him, too — she seeks an abortion. But outside of a clinic, a religious pro-life group kidnaps her and plans to hold her until she gives birth. In confinement, Du, a grandmotherly former nurse, is Keely's constant companion and caretaker. A love-hate relationship between the women emerges, with, as the Weekend Theater describes it, “each tiptoeing toward mutual empathy.” Ralph Hyman, the theater's artistic director, directs the play.
HIP HOP COUP
8 p.m., Vino's. $5.
Almost a decade ago, a group of likeminded students at UALR pooled their resources and started throwing massive hip-hop shows. Put off by the commercial movement of rap, the group, which called itself Under the Ground, aimed to return the culture to its roots, with emphasis on touchstones like MC battling and turntablism. Lately, UTG has been inactive, though its alums are ubiquitous in the scene — g-force, Dirtbag and 607 chief among them. So it's fitting that a new group of young hip-hop traditionalists is emerging to carry the flame. Blockade is a group of teenagers who formed during “Hip Hop School,” an after school hip-hop education program directed by TJ Deeter with guidance provided by a number of UTGers. Though fresh-faced, the six young rappers in Blockade come just as hard as anyone on the local scene, and they feature the acrobatic dancing team the Yung Stars. They'll perform along with the 4X4 crew, an enterprising collective of six rappers, a dance troupe and a DJ. All in their early 20s, the 4X4 has its hand in everything. They perform frequently. They've put out two volumes of the excellent local compilation “Radio Ain't Ready,” and they host a web/public access TV show called “Rocktown Lockdown.” They'll be filming the concert, which will also include a performance by 607, who is both an early member of UTG and an instructor in Hip Hop School. Plus, up-and-coming dancers and MCs will battle it out for $50 in prize money.
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