Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
For the better part of 25 years, Robert Earl Keen has been the very definition of troubadour, a Lone Star musician with his dial permanently set to "tour." In fact, he's been too busy zigzagging the country with his long-time backing band to bother getting an inroad into the Nashville country music grinder. But it's paid off in the spades known as reverence. He has legions upon squads of followers and imitators alike and now gets mentioned in the same ranks as Jimmie Dale Gilmore or Townes Van Zandt; he's pretty much the most successful Texas English major ever. And no doubt he has an author's wicked wit behind his cowboy chords. Who else is going to whip up something like "The Great Hank," a song about a Hank Williams impersonator getting drunk in a sequined dress and lipstick? JT.
It's a weekend of benefit concerts at Juanita's. On Friday, Invisible Children, a group seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers, is the recipient of donations. At 7:30 p.m., the documentary "Go: The Schools for Schools Movie" screens. It follows 20 young Americans who travel to Uganda to help rebuild schools. A concert immediately follows, with music by locals Falcon Scott, Sean Michel, Badhand and Stephen Neeper & the Breakthrough. Last year, the UAMS students who organized this weekend's concert raised $8,700 on behalf of Invisible Children. Saturday, the beneficiary is CARTI Kids, a support network for pediatric cancer survivors who receive treatment at CARTI. The lineup includes Free Micah, Catskill Kids, Knox Hamilton and Inner City Lights. Both concerts are open to all ages. LM
Has any local album in recent memory been more anticipated? Nearly three years after it released a widely adored self-titled debut, The Moving Front is finally ready to unleash its follow-up, "Everyday Dissonance." A promising title from a group of post-punk polemicists, to be sure. That we're only now seeing the album (with cover art by this week's Times' cover artist Nate Powell!) owes to several factors, including the band's assiduousness; it spent months on end with engineer Jason Weinheimer at Lucky Dog Audio Post tweaking. Also, lately the 'Front's managed to hold onto guitarists about as well as Spinal Tap kept drummers. First Jeff Matika joined for about a day before he got called up to the bigs with Green Day. Then founding member Mark Lewis sort of moved to Austin. And then Scott Cook, who replaced Matika, started working with Julian Lennon and traveling around the country. Saturday, look for all of them to be onstage for at least a little while, along with other special guests, like joshua from Velvet Kente. From the band's Facebook event for the concert: "Have you ever been in The Moving Front? Well, you can be again, just show up to our practice a few times, 'cause it's gonna be like mothership connection up there but with less funk, no spacecraft, and a lot more beer." Magic Hassle and joshua open. LM.
The Patsy Cline soundalike has been in the spotlight since selling 8 million copies of her debut as a 13-year-old. Eight million. That's the equivalent to her selling one copy of her album for every single minute since she was born. Since, she's managed to stay relevant in country music circles, putting her name on 15 releases, singing for heads of state and winning two Grammies. Recently, she's become a staple of the grocery-store lines after an affair put her face on every celeb rag in America. However, she and new boyfriend Eddie Cibrian have become the Tracy and Hepburn of the Lifetime Channel since, so, y'know, she's got that going for her. Now the longtime country star is coming to UCA as part of this season's Public Appearances series. Rimes is set to perform an afternoon acoustic set of songs from her upcoming album — her first in three years — "Lady and Gentlemen," which has the former child star covering love songs from Merle Travis ("Sixteen Tons") to George Jones ("He Stopped Loving Her Today"). JT.
The Arkansas Queen has hosted dozens of concerts, hundreds of brunch and dinner cruises and countless parties. But Sunday's get-down might be the first all-out dance party to come to the Queen. That means more than 25 area DJs spread throughout the boat's three levels. The top deck will be an extension of Rumba's Friday night "Out House" sessions with DJs like Jeremy Rowlett, Spencer Rx, Unique, Julian Jones, Balance and Paul Grass. On the mid-level, some of Central Arkansas's biggest DJs —Ewell vs. Jared, Brown vs. JustinSane, Sleepy vs. Michael Shane —battle it out, and on the lower level, DJs like VampireGuts, James Dean, Stepchild and Wolf-E-Wolf from Cool Shoes and School of Dub play bass-heavy stuff for you to wobble to. There's a dock party from 5 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and the Queen sails from 9:30 p.m. until midnight. Call 374-4944 for tickets. LM.
Full disclosure: I've been completely dedicated, starry-eyed and fawning, to this trio for years. When some bands were trying to hunt down some insta-cred by trying to squeeze into the lo-fi, bedroom-made sounds of the early '90s, Times New Viking managed to wear the DIY ethos like a tailor-made suit. The reckless guitar-pop, played, seemingly, through yard sale instruments, is so melodic and uninhibited that it simply wouldn't sound right if it wasn't recorded through a $10 Ampeg 2-track recorder. Now the unlikely heroes are signed to Matador Records, a big-time small label if there ever was one, and Times New Viking's blown-out transistor radio pop has made the Columbus, Ohio, trio one of the most venerated acts in the whole, spotty indie rock universe. Buzzy, new locals Reptar open the show alongside brand new lo-fi act Heart Takers. JT.
Who needs a full Broadway show? Just give me the good stuff. That's the premise of "The Three Phantoms," a concert that brings together three Broadway vets — Craig Schulman, Brad Little and Gary Mauer — who've all logged many, many performances (3,000 all together) as the Phantom of the Opera. Another plus to a greatest hits show: no need to stick to just one show. Look, also, for songs from "Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon." The Conway Symphony Orchestra performs in support. LM.