Saturday: The Black Crowes, Bell Biv Devoe, Lucero | Rock Candy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday: The Black Crowes, Bell Biv Devoe, Lucero

Posted By on Sat, May 29, 2010 at 5:28 PM


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

This Atlanta-based act is going into its 26th year as America's premiere blues/mod/hard rock band. After their 1990 breakout single, a cover of Otis Redding's great “Hard to Handle,” and being named “The Most Rock and Roll Rock and Roll Band in the World” by British music rag Melody Maker, the Crowes spent a spell in the '90s as a rootsy alternative to grunge and pop-punk, threw in the towel in 2002 and regrouped five years ago to hit the road and return to the studio. Since, they've rolled over tens of thousands of miles and released two well-received albums to a devoted, international fan base. These guys have been defining rock star antics for years, to boot. They are all sibling rivalry (the band is led by bearded, spatting Robinson brothers, Chris and Richard), bone thin, movie star-marrying and pot-smoking. They've been accused of cribbing too much and too directly from their influences, but when you're imitating some of the greatest music ever made — The Rolling Stones, The Faces, Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers — it's hard to complain too much. The Crowes are known for a great stage show, so expect them to bring the choogle for the Little Rock crowd.

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

Turns out Uncle Kracker has a decent hold on longevity. Even though his first hit single, 2001's inescapable “Follow Me” had one-hit wonder written all over its farmer-tanned saunter, the Michigander has released three charting albums since and has maintained a presence on the radio, most recently with his country/adult contemporary crossover hit, “Smile.” Once a band mate of Kid Rock (and, in high school, emcee partner to Eminem), Uncle Kracker specializes in a wrong-side-of-the-street swagger that's goofy and out of place but still somehow sincere and enduring, like his menthol-scratched voice. .


7:45 p.m., Bud Light Stage 
(Clinton Center)

When I happened onto a Tuesday night road trip to a Lucero show at a metal venue in Conway as a drunk college freshman, I was one in a gaggle of sauced teen-agers, getting our heads twisted by this anonymous young band with two albums under its name. Those ragged, drawling punks on stage became not only hugely popular but enormously respected years later. It's been a long, road-worn path, one that's landed the guys on Universal Records, with eight albums and a bona fide cult following, to boot. Ben Nichols and Lucero have, I think it's safe to say, become a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band for Arkansas and Tennessee; Nichols' voice, all worn from whiskey and Winstons, has become one of those instantly recognizable and oft-imitated rasps that defines not only a band, but a genre at large. Look for this to draw one of the most energetic crowds of the weekend.

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

After some 10,000 — by Riverfest organizers' count — danced in the rain last year to the sounds of Heads of State, a nostalgia group comprised of half of New Edition (Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant), Riverfest's Korte decided to carry over the reunion — with the other half of that seminal ‘80s R&B boy band. I'm talking, of course, about Bell Biv Devoe, the trio of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe, who, despite serving as background players in New Edition, formed like Voltron to pioneer the influential R&B and hip-hop blend New Jack Swing and own junior high dance floors across the country in the early 1990s. Perhaps you remember a jam called “Poison”? It taught us “Never trust a big butt and smile.” Or one called “Do Me!”? It taught us that it never hurts to add an exclamation point when you really want to get your point across. LM.


9:30 p.m., Miller Lite Stage 
(Riverfest Amphitheatre).

Fresh-faced, dimpled and with a mouthful of glistening pearly whites, Oklahoma country star Blake Shelton is a marketer's dream. He's dreamy enough to make female fans swoon, and rough and tumble enough, lyrically, to provide the soundtrack for anyone who fancies himself rough and tumble. Even if you're not cowed by his looks or bravura, Shelton is confident he can reach your inner fan. “We all got a hillbilly bone down deep inside,” he sings on his recent hit, “Hillbilly Bone.” “No matter where you from you just can't hide it/And when the band starts banging and the fiddle saw/You can't help but hollering, Yee Haw!”

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