Friday at Riverfest: Earth, Wind & Fire, Gary Allan, Cross Candian Ragweed, Little River Band | Rock Candy

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday at Riverfest: Earth, Wind & Fire, Gary Allan, Cross Candian Ragweed, Little River Band

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 11:49 AM

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9:45 p.m., Miller Lite Stage 
(Riverfest Amphitheatre).

Young people might look on Earth, Wind & Fire dismissively, as a cheeseball relic of the '70s and '80s, the shiny, happy, horn-soaked antecedent to wedding bands everywhere. But this ain't for them. Grown folks don't mind a healthy dose of positivism or smooth soul in their funk. Particularly, when it comes wrapped in familiar songs. With more than 50 gold and platinum albums and 33 charting pop singles, including “Let's Groove” and “After the Love Has Gone,” the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famers should be playing to an audience that sings back to them. It's hard to imagine any other Riverfest act drawing a larger crowd.

-Lindsey Millar

Others after the jump!

9:30 p.m., Bud Light Stage 
(Clinton Center).

There are superheroes with more believable origin stories than Gary Allan. Twenty years ago, Allan told CMT, he worked on a car lot when he wasn't playing music. One of his co-workers happened to leave a demo tape in a truck that a rich woman bought. After driving around with the tape for two weeks, the woman and her husband came back to the dealership to ask about Allan. He told them his life story, and told them that he wanted to go to Nashville and make a demo. They asked how much, and he said $12,000. And they wrote him a check for $12,000. Within six months, Allan had a record deal. He repaid the couple their $12,000 and gave them a percentage of his first record, “Used Heart for Sale.” Since then, he's released seven albums of gritty, often deadpan mainstream country, most recently “Get Off on the Pain.”

-Lindsey Millar


8 p.m., Bud Light Stage (Clinton Center).

Cross Canadian Ragweed tours hard. The rock-tinged country band — which takes its name from rhythm guitarist Grady Cross, lead vocalist/guitarist Cody Canada, drummer Randy Ragsdale and original bassist Mark Wiedemann (Jeremy Plato fills the role now) — has played more than 220 dates every year for 13 of the last 15. For most of that run, Little Rock's been a frequent stop, with CCR regularly selling out one of the city's biggest clubs, Revolution. But fans shouldn't skip this gig confident that another will soon roll around. A recent press release announced that the band would soon “take a break from life on the road” indefinitely. The Red Dirt country standard-bearers come to the festival behind the album “Happiness and All the Other Things,” the Oklahoma-based act's 10th overall and fifth on Universal South.

-Lindsey Millar


9:15 p.m., Triple-S Alarm Stage.

Last year, a Sunday monsoon kept Little River Band and most of the day's lineup from ever taking the stage. But Australia's champions of yacht rock are committed to Riverfest! Or, who knows, maybe there weren't any casino stages available. What we do know is that this Little River Band is Little River Band in name alone. The Little River Band that scored 10 Billboard top 20 singles, that produced hits like “Reminiscing” and “Lady,” that was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame — that group plays reunion concerts occasionally, but under the significantly less appealing name Birtles Shorrock Goble (the last names of the original members) because they no longer own the rights to the band name. Only American Wayne Nelson, who joined the group in 1980 and sings lead on “Night Owls,” a single that made it to the top of the charts in 1981, remains from any incarnation of the band that made any commercial impact. But then again nothing goes with cool river breezes like yacht rock.

-Lindsey Millar

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