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Circus Oz to Walton Arts 

WEDNESDAY 3/28

SCIENCE AFTER DARK: VINYL

6 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $10.

One day way back in, oh, I don't know, let's call it 1990 (it must've been 1990 or earlier, on account of that was the year the churches in my hometown kneecapped Comcast into dropping MTV because it made God angry) I was watching MTV News. Back then, that was how you found out about things like who Madonna was shacking up with and which up-and-coming glam rocker had most recently been killed in a car wreck by Vince Neil. Anyways, there was a segment about the death of vinyl records, which included some comments from Duff McKagan about all the things he was going to miss about albums: the big artwork, breaking the seal on a brand-new LP, rolling joints on a gatefold cover (he might not have said this one but you know he was thinking it), dropping the needle into the groove and so forth. You see, back then it was a foregone conclusion that these shiny, expensive plastic discs called "CDs" spelled certain doom for the record album. Twenty-something years later, who's having the last laugh? Vinyl, that's who. Of course, reports of the records death were slightly exaggerated. For most of the '90s and '00s, the format was all-but-forgotten by anyone not involved in the underground rap, punk, reggae, techno or metal scenes. But a funny thing started happening a few years ago: younger kids — many of them born in the '90s — started buying vinyl. Labels began pressing up a lot more LPs and 45s, and even the majors started issuing new albums on vinyl. The Museum of Discovery's monthly Science After Dark series focuses on all the ways vinyl has persisted, despite the numerous obituaries written for the format over the years. There will be some records for sale, as well as listening stations, demonstrations and a cash bar, which means this'll be a 21-and-older event.

WEDNESDAY 3/28

DAUGHTRY

8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $50-$61.

Though Chris Daughtry didn't win on American Idol back in '06, he and his band are undoubtedly among the most successful AI alums, eclipsing many of the show's winners in terms of album sales and lasting popularity. The band's first album, 2006's "Daughtry," was the fastest-selling debut in SoundScan history. Daughtry fan Ellen DeGeneres consoled him on her show, telling the furrowed-browed rocker that he's "somebody who's going to be a big star. You're going to be very, very successful, with or without winning." It's easy to hear why. While he often comes across every bit as ultra-serious as many of his peers, Daughtry can actually sing, as opposed to your Creeds and Nickelbacks and Matchbox 20s and assorted other yarlers who've been gumming up the modern rock landscape with their sub-Vedder vocal contortions for lo these many years. Nashville-based SafetySuit opens the show, offering earnest, guitar-centric alt-rock.

THURSDAY 3/29

'CIRCUS OZ'

7 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $39-$49.

Since it was founded in the late '70s, Circus Oz has been blending old-school circus acrobatics with rock 'n' roll and a comedic sensibility. "They wanted it to be funny, irreverent and spectacular, a celebration of the group as a bunch of multi-skilled individual women and men, rather than a hierarchy of stars," according to the group's bio. Some of the company's guiding principles include collective ownership, no gender discrimination, no rock-star attitudes and no exotic animals. In the mid '80s, Circus Oz performers began training with acrobats from the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe and incorporating some of the Chinese company's techniques and acts. A Circus Oz performance is a mix of slapstick, Keystone Kops-type stuff, with lots of traditional circus hoop-jumping, music, comedy and Australian eccentricity. This tour finds the company incorporating a sort of steampunk motif. The show runs through April 3, taking a day off April 2.

THURSDAY 3/29

TIGER HIGH

9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Tiger High is the latest band from Marion natives Jake and Toby Vest. The band's debut long-player, "Myth is This," is drenched — drenched I tell you — in glorious, hazy reverb. It's Memphis rock 'n' roll, for sure. Check the garage-y swagger of "Fire," and vintage cheap-o organ tones and irresistible chorus on "Riding the Wave" and "Hot Black Honda." But influences do creep in from outside The Bluff City. Check "Always Mine," which swings the heartache like Spiritualized at their most forlorn, or "Losing Out," which fuses shimmering guitars and a relentless beat with classic r'n'r strum, like Neu! jamming with Buddy Holly. "Boys at the Bottom" pulls off a sock-hop-rock-with-howling-overloaded-guitar-bleeding-all-over-it vibe. You can get yourself a cassette of "Myth is This" or give it a spin over at the old Bandcamp. I bet these songs will be killer live. Opening the show are the hard-partyin' hardliners Booyah! Dad.

FRIDAY 3/30

TECH N9NE

9 p.m. Juanita's. $25 adv., $30 d.o.s.

Tech N9ne, nee Aaron Dontez Yates, is an insanely rapid-fire rapper originally from Kansas City. After bouncing around with a few different groups and record labels during the 1990s, he co-founded the label Strange Music in 1999, releasing a string of his own albums, as well as a slew of records from other Kansas City artists, such as Krizz Kaliko, Big Scoob and Kutt Calhoun, among others. He's collaborated with a ton of other rappers, including mainstream stars like Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and Lil' Wayne and up-and-comers like Yelawolf. Tech N9ne's latest, last year's "Welcome to Strangeland," offered more of his trademark dark, sinister, hardcore rap. In the video for the single "Who Do I Catch," we find Tech N9ne hanging out at his mansion, taking notes while enjoying a Monster energy drink, playing the piano, looking pensive, wearing scary makeup, dancing all twitchy, drinking wine out of the bottle even though there was a glass right there next to it and asking who does he catch now. Tech N9ne's got a super loyal following, probably due at least in part to his relentless touring schedule, (more than 250 dates a year, he told MTV2 last year). He's joined by Krizz Kalico, Prozac, Machine Gun Kelly, Mayday and Stevie Stone.

SATURDAY 3/31

WOODSONGS OLD-TIME RADIO HOUR

7:30 p.m. UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall. $10-$40.

This right here is a pretty big deal for the folk/country/blues/old-timey/bluegrass crowd. For the last 13 years or so, folksinger and author Michael Johnathan has produced WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, which is heard on nearly 500 radio stations around the globe. The show grew from broadcasting out of a tiny studio to taping at the historic Kentucky Theater in downtown Lexington. Over the years, the show has hosted hundreds of artists, seemingly just about everyone who falls under the vast Americana/folk umbrella, including Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Holly Golightly, Neko Case, The Flatlanders, Tony Joe White, Charlie Louvin, Roger McGuinn, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Odetta, Billie Joe Shaver, Michelle Shocked, Rodney Crowell, Pinetop Perkins, The Del McCoury Band, The Avett Brothers, Alejandro Escovedo, Fairport Convention and many more. You can stream nearly every episode on the WoodSongs website, and many of the shows are filmed and broadcast live on the Web. This show at UCA is a double-bill, highlighting the music of Arkansas and the Ozarks. There are some familiar Arkansas names on the marquee, including The Cleverlys, Bonnie Montgomery, Still on the Hill, blues wunderkind Nathan Aronowitz, Tim Crouch and Gary Rounds, Blue Rain Bluegrass Band and Scott Odena. AETN will film the show and it will be broadcast on KUAR-FM 89.1 and KLRE 90.5. On Thursday, Johnathan will perform at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs (see calendar for details).

TUESDAY 4/3

MICHAEL ONDAATJE

7:30 p.m. Hendrix College's Staples Auditorium. Free.

While Michael Ondaatje is probably best known for his novel "The English Patient," the Canadian author, who has won numerous awards and critical praise, also wrote perhaps the most haunting and musical novel I've ever read. "Coming Through Slaughter" is a fictionalized account of the lives of jazz originator Buddy Bolden and photographer E.J. Bellocq. The novel's structure mirrors both the improvisatory nature of Bolden's music as well as the schizophrenia that derailed his life at age 30. It's definitely not a straight bio and might frustrate some readers with its impressionistic, lyrical style, shifting narratives and hard left turns. But it paints an indelible picture of early 20th century New Orleans, specifically the often chaotic lives of the musicians of the nascent jazz scene and the awful despair of the prostitutes of Storyville. Certain scenes and passages from the book continued to percolate in my mind long after I'd finished it, resonating the way a particularly powerful piece of music seems to linger in the room even after it's over. Ondaatje's reading is part of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation's series exploring the theme of crime. He'll sign books after the reading.

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