Webb Hubbell returns to Central Arkansas 

THURSDAY 5/22

WEBB HUBBELL

7 p.m. Barnes and Noble. Free.

Webster "Webb" Hubbell — the former Little Rock mayor, Arkansas State Supreme Court justice, Associate Attorney General of the U.S. and top-shelf Friend of Bill who fell hard during the Whitewater investigations over some hinky client billing — will be in Little Rock May 22-24 to help promote his debut mystery/thriller, "When Men Betray." Set in Little Rock and featuring the adventures of attorney Jack Patterson, the book revolves around Patterson's dogged attempts to puzzle out the truth behind the assassination of a U.S. senator on live TV. We would say an investigation like that sounds like a job for Ken Starr, but not many folks probably want to read a murder mystery in which the biggest revelation is that the government spent 50-million bucks to figure out that a guy got some wicked oral from an intern. Hubbell will kick off the Little Rock leg of his book tour with an interview on KABZ-FM 103.7 The Buzz starting at 7 a.m. Thursday, May 22. That night, at 7 p.m., he'll have a book signing at the Little Rock Barnes and Noble location, 11500 Financial Center Parkway. Hubbell will be on hand for another signing starting at 4 p.m. Friday, May 23, at Wordsworth Books at 5930 R St. in Little Rock. Finally, on Saturday, May 24, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a two-hour lecture and reading by Hubbell at North Little Rock's William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange St. DK

THURSDAY 5/22 – FRIDAY 5/23

LUCERO

9 p.m. George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville. $20.

Lucero, the beloved Memphis alt-country band, will pull a two-night stand in Fayetteville this weekend, and given frontman Ben Nichols' Little Rock roots, it's hard not to consider the timing a kind of deliberate Riverfest protest. Nichols, whose lyrics range from classic, hard-bitten genre tropes ("Smoking cigarettes more than I should/my hands won't stop shaking and that can't be good"), to the locally specific ("White Water Tavern nights ... There's no finer mess to be found") to the baroque (the self-released solo record, "The Last Pale Light in the West," directly inspired by Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"), is an always-engaging songwriter and also an enthusiastic booster of Arkansas culture. Central Arkansans who need a break from the noise this weekend could do worse than head north. WS

FRIDAY 5/23

BOBBY BARE JR.

10 p.m. White Water Tavern.

I read online that Bobby Bare Jr. grew up next door to George Jones and Tammy Wynette, which would be surprising if it weren't for his name. He's the son of Bobby Bare the elder, the Nashville legend who made hits out of songs by Kristofferson and Tom T. Hall, got Waylon Jennings a record deal and cut the definitive version of "500 Miles Away from Home," among others. There is a video on YouTube of Bare Sr. playing a duet with his 8-year-old son ("Daddy, What If") and it's so adorable it's almost impossible to watch. But Bare Jr. (who used to be the frontman of a band called Bare Jr.) is also a great songwriter these days, and a totally distinct artist. His voice is more vulnerable, he leaves the cracks and mistakes and strain on the tape. He'll share a bill with folk trio The Memphis Dawls. WS

FRIDAY 5/23 – SUNDAY 5/25

STICKYZ RIVERFEST STAGE

6:45 p.m. Friday, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Riverfest is a massive endeavor (see page 16), with world-class, top-shelf touring acts to go with its litany of athletic, cultural and dog-related events. But for those of you averse to famous people, or to massive swarms of face-painted, hula-hooping fans, there is the Stickyz stage, home to a kind of alternative Riverfest. Here, the headliners are DJ and Diplo-affiliate Grandtheft (9:45 p.m. Friday), alt-country stalwarts Cody Canada and The Departed (9:45 p.m. Saturday) and Florida indie rock group Surfer Blood (10 p.m. Sunday). And then there are the openers, which include Mulehead (6:45 p.m. Saturday), Nashville's Diarrhea Planet (8 p.m. Sunday) and a semi-rare appearance by the great Jim Mize (3 p.m. Saturday), who alone would be worth the Riverfest wristband. Really, go see Jim Mize. WS

SATURDAY 5/24

SPA CITY METALFEST

1 p.m. Low Key Arts, Hot Springs. $15 adv., $20 day of.

Anyone skipping town to dodge the local influx of festival-goers should cross a pleasant weekend in Hot Springs off their list of options, as a whole legion of a very different breed of fan will descend on Low Key Arts this weekend for the 4th Annual Spa City MetalFest. Headliners will include Little Rock's own Living Sacrifice, the Christian death metal pioneers who've been at it since the late '80s, and Tulsa's The Agony Scene, freshly reunited after going on hiatus in 2008. Also on the lineup are Little Rock favorites Iron Tongue, alongside Smoke Signals, Abandon the Artifice, Snakedriver and Bitter Times. Let the names wash over you, like bleak poetry: Splattered in Traffic, Napalm Christ, In Serpents I Sleep. Doors will open at noon. WS

SATURDAY 5/24

NOTORIOUS B.I.G. BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE

10 p.m. 521 Southern Cafe.

This weekend, 521 Southern Cafe will celebrate the birthday of the man who once called himself the "rap Alfred Hitchcock" and whose silhouette has probably become as famous as the filmmaker's since his murder in 1997 (he was only 24, which doesn't seem true but it is). Usually that silhouette comes with a crown — he was the King of New York, as he never tired of reminding us. His death remains officially unsolved, and you can spend a fascinating few days in the back channels of the rap Internet digging into the conspiracy theories, but why not listen to the music instead? The event will feature caviar for breakfast, champagne bubble baths and musical performances by locals Gadah, The Bolly Bros., Big Ced Dibiase and Asylum the Crow.WS

SUNDAY 5/25

DEVIN THE DUDE

9 p.m. Club Elevations. $15.

I once got into an argument with my neighbor's weed dealer over which Devin the Dude album was the best, which was stupid: Obviously the weed dealer was the authority there, his conclusion the only correct one. Still, he rooted for 2002's "Just Tryin' ta Live" and me for its followup, 2004's "To tha X-Treme," and I'd debate it all over again today. It's one of the saddest rap records ever, a chronicle of addiction and anxiety and failed relationships, and it all sounds so good. I don't have much to say about songs like "Cooter Brown" or "Anythang" or lines like, "I'm higher than a thumbtack on a flyer of Reba McEntire," because they don't need my help. He's painted as a stoner with broad humor, which is true, but he doesn't get enough credit for his grief and his sensitivity. The quintessential Devin song, though, might be "What a Job," featuring Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000, from 2007's "Waitin' to Inhale." It's about gratitude, about how thankful he is to rap for a living. He thanks the record label employees, the studio engineers, the fans. He sounds like he's doing well. WS

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