STILL PLAYING THAT "POLYETHNIC CAJUN SLAMGRASS": Leftover Salmon
MULBERRY MOUNTAIN HARVEST MUSIC FESTIVAL
9 a.m., Ozark. $65-$140.
For the third year, hippies, folkies and college kids will ascend Mulberry Mountain north of Ozark for three days of music and mountain decadence (New Belgium Ale is the primary sponsor). Befitting the mountain setting, headliners come heavily in the jam-folk variety. For more than a dec-ade, Leftover Salmon has been traveling behind self-described “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass,” and steadily endearing itself to mono-ethnic college kids who like to go barefoot, or if necessary, wear those elaborate sport sandals. Ditto for Big Smith, except the Springfield, Mo., band of cousins self-identifies with Ozark hillbilly as a genre. If watching pickin' and grinnin' isn't your idea of a good time, you probably shouldn't go. But if it is, Bob Marley's former backing band the Wailers will be rocking steady and North Carolina's Avett Brothers will be doing Americana-tinged indie rock. Other featured acts include New Monsoon, Umphrey's McGee, Split Lip Rayfield, the Hackensaw Boys, Shannon Wurst and Charliehorse. If they tire of the music, festival-goers have 650 acres to tramp through. There's even a waterfall and a swimming hole. Ticket prices include the cost of camping and parking. LM.
ARKANSAS FOOTBALL JAM
8 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $10.
On the eve of the UCA/UAPB football showdown, Power 92 FM and affiliate promoters are throwing a big throw at the metroplex featuring all your favorite one-hit rappers. From Atlanta, Rocko raps deliberately (almost ploddingly) about why he's great and you're not in his radio anthem “Umma Do Me.” (Sample lyric: “You make it sprinkle, I make it tsunami/You get chump change, but I get money.”) Later this month, Big Kuntry King, a rapper who's a member of T.I.'s P$C (Pimp Squad Clique), will release his debut album, “My Turn to Eat.” The album cover features the rapper holding two hamburger buns stuffed with $100 bills. His most popular song, “Da Baddest,” is an ode to strip-pers, or more precisely, the greatest stripper ever. Palestinian-American DJ Khaled is famous for shouting over otherwise great rap songs. He's an invited guest, which means he'll likely just stand around — but not around you — and look cool. Other acts include Teflon, Ace and Treal. LM.
The Weekend Theater once again turns to playwright Jane Martin, who wrote “Keely and Du,” which the theater performed last November. The play, which runs this Friday and Saturday only, offers insight, through monologue, into more than 30 complex female characters. The Week-end Theater describes the humor as “off-beat” and promises “a collage about contemporary woman in all her warmth and majesty, fear and frus-tration … joy and sadness.” LM.
9:30 p.m., Vino's. $6.
Arkansas's favorite sons, or at least Arkansas's favorite indie-rockers on the verge, return after a couple of years to the venue that gave them their start. They also return very slightly more famous. If you listened closely to “Real World” a few weeks back — which is a pretty big if, since surely the only people who still watch “Real World” are nursing hangovers — you caught a few snippets of the Princes' “Auditorium.” Then again, on the other side of the ledger, now when you Google search the band, halfway down the first results page, in between American Princes' related pages, is a blog called conservativeprincess. But I get hung up on the peripheral noise. Look for folks to pack the club to such a degree that everyone gets sweaty. Local singer/songwriter Jonathan Wilkins opens with Arkansas's finest rap duo, Suga City. LM.
Four years ago, Jennifer Davis founded The Underground Railroad Neighborhood (T.U.R.N.), a not-for-profit creative literacy group that hosts classes, visits jails and juvenile centers and helps put on the Hip-Hop School. The group's highest-profile venture is “Freedom,” a play Davis wrote and debuted in 2006. The drama follows the conversations and flashbacks and flash-forwards of eight would-be passengers stuck in a waiting room at the St. Louis airport. Davis says that her cast “effectively mirrors society and embraces diversity” and claims her play cap-tures “voices” never portrayed before. There will be one performance only. LM.
7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena. $21.75-$61.75.
The Raw superstars bring the drama and pile-driving action back to Alltel Arena with a star-studded card pitting the sons of two legends in a tag-team bout: Cody Rhodes (son of “The American Dream,” Dusty), and Ted DiBiase (son of “The Million Dollar Man,” Ted) against Cryme Tyme, for the WWE World Tag Team Championship title. Other matches include Primo Colon vs. William Regal, D'Lo Brown vs. Snitsky, and another tag-team bout with two titles on line featuring Kofi Kingston/Mickie James vs. Santino Marella/Beth Phoenix for the Intercontinental and WWE Women's Tag Team titles. Also on the card is Rey Mysterio vs. Kane, Batista vs. JBL and the main event, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, for the World Heavyweight Championship belt. Die-hard and younger fans alike should have plenty to cheer about, considering the big names and the likelihood of watching gold-studded belts exchange hands. PP.
LUCERO FAMILY PICNIC
2 p.m., Riverside Park, Batesville. $15-$40.
For the second year, one of Central Arkansas's favorite adopted acts hosts a handful of its favorite bands on the banks of the White River in Batesville. This year's line-up is stout. Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell launched a solo career two years ago with the meditative Southern rocker, “Sirens of the Ditch.” Steve's son Justin Townes Earle aims to follow in his footsteps, and those of the likes of the Re-placements and Kurt Cobain, with ramshackle, literate songs of unease. From Fayetteville, Cory Branan is the decorated singer/songwriter and frequent duet partner of Lucero's Ben Nichols. Local favorite the Good Fear, which features former Lucero guitarist Todd Gill, deserves broader exposure, but all the dudes in the band are married and settled and will probably never tour steadily beyond Little Rock and Fayetteville. Our gain. Dan Montgomery is one of Memphis' more respected folk rockers. For those clamoring to get close to Lucero or their pals, a $40 VIP pass scores access to the artists, food and booze. An after-party at Josie's follows the all-day concert. LM.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $10-$12.
Formed in 2001, Egypt Central takes its name from one of the toughest roads through the band's hometown of Memphis. Signed to Lava records, the metal act recorded its self-titled, debut disc in 2006, and watched it collect dust for nearly two years after massive downsizing efforts left the band without a label, but with a solid record in dire need of release and distribution. One song, “Over and Under,” captured the attention of WWE and was featured on the soundtrack of Stone Cold Steve Austin's movie, “The Condemned.” This exposure was enough to land an invitation to Ozzfest and a re-up to Fat Lady Music in 2007. Foster care, rehabs, homelessness, label woes and the ever-fertile collage of lost love, frustration and broken dreams comprise Egypt Central's lyrical ingredients, which are set to catchy, hard-driving, thunderous metal grooves that borderline on arena rock and funk. With local hard-drivers Midnight to Twelve and Drop Dead Syndicate opening, Egypt Central stands ready to swing the wrecking ball for an all-ages Juanita's show. PP.
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
There was talk, early on, about enticing defunct and long existing bands like Mulehead and Ho-Hum to perform at next week's 18th anni-versary get-down at Vino's. Local alt-pop heroes Ashtray Babyhead, who owned Little Rock stages in the late '90s, were game, but when all their old friends balked, AB stepped back, too. But the idea of reforming stuck, and now comes an opening gig at White Water. Vocal-ist Scott Cook warns that this is likely to be a short set, a warm-up show for a concert the band will headline at Juanita's next week. But come sing along. Cook promises to play the hits. He also says this is likely a pattern: Fans can expect one or two Ashtray Babyhead shows a year, but no more. Friends of the Ashtray Babyheads and frequent show mates with Cook's new band Kyoto Boom, the Moving Front, perform for the first time in a month, which for fans of the band's searing post-punk is reason enough to step out on Friday. Fayetteville's the Inner Party rounds out the bill. LM.
Little Rock will next week host a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems led by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change.
Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.