Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE
8:30 p.m., Revolution. $20 adv., $25 d.o.s.
This year's classes of incoming college freshmen were in utero when G. Love and Special Sauce's signature songs, "Cold Beverage" and "Baby's Got Sauce" were released and, no doubt, made popular by college kids of the mid-'90s. The mean music writer in me wants to scoff off the hippy-dippy, folk-hop act that's mutated into a Beck knockoff with a freakish will to survive as an irrelevant holdover from the golden age of frat rock. But then I remember that this writer was the first to remind guys in his old frat house that their "baby ain't sweet like mine." Also, the fact that G. Love and Special Sauce has released 10 albums since, including the latest, "Fixin' to Die," produced and co-performed by The Avett Brothers. It's the "Philadelphonic" mad blues scientist's newest shot at reviving his well-worn sound into a more rustic groove, complete with swampy Pentecostal percussion and a Booker "Bukka" White cover serving as the title track. (The album's attempts to redress Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" don't fare as well: You'll remember them for being audacious, not good.) So: irrelevant? Not as much as ambitious. And tenacious. And consistently popular. As always, expect him to pack a house with ease.
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $35-$65
Is Robinson Center Music Hall becoming the state's classiest comedy club? In addition to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the regular theater tours and the occasional (usually stellar, always welcomed, hint hint) music act, we've seen Kevin Hart, Rodney Carrington and Mr. Brown & Cora of Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" dot the hall's schedule. The laughs must be plentiful, because this week brings yet another stand-up, Sommore. (That's "Sommore" as in "please, we want Sommore live music at Robinson this year.") The comedienne and "Queens of Comedy" tour alum has been a regular guest on Def Comedy Jam, Showtime at the Apollo and BET's Comicview, featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and has lost 30 pounds in front of the country during Celebrity Fit Club. On stage, she subscribes to the "I'm gonna say what you're thinking about dating, family, men and money except with more head bobs and cussin' " school of comedy. Funniest thing I've heard her say while writing this: "Gas is so high it makes you wanna bang a bus driver." I laughed. Also along for the ride: D.C. Curry of the "Friday" sequels and one of "P. Diddy's Bad Boys of Comedy," Damon Williams.
'ON THE FRONT ROW' WITH KEVIN KERBY + BATTERY
6:15 p.m., AETN Studios. Free with RSVP.
The next time you log onto Facebook, do a search for "Make Kevin Kerby the Poet Laureate of Pulaski County," go to the page and "like" it. We may be a small group, about 50 strong, but we know that few other working scribes — certainly no songwriters — have written about the capital county with as much incisive wit and precise color as the wise (assed, usually) bard/barista/baseball fanatic. The fact that a native Texan is being drafted for a position that's been vacated since 1945 could and will draw a round of "boo hisses," but we'd challenge them to take "Beautiful & Bright" for a spin. His latest album, and his first with Battery, his top-notch backing cast, finds its muscle in a series of loosely-wound audio snapshots of Little Rock, wedged somewhere between Paul Westerberg's know-it-all scowl and Jeff Tweedy's ear for pop poeticism. Hopefully his debut on AETN's signature local music program will spread the message to the majority of folks who don't frequent music nights in Little Rock's finer beer bars. Thursday night sees Kerby & Co. debut a couple of new numbers, one accompanied by Kevin's young son. Tickets are free: RSVP at aetn.org.
7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $19-$24
Remember Excitebike? If you're between 20 and 35, there's a fine chance you probably neglected a good chunk of healthy, outdoor time as a kid by plugging into the old NES and wrecking 8-bit shop with those pixelated motocrossers. But while we were inside mashing buttons, Arenacross racers were probably outside, doing the real thing. Now, the AMA Arenacross Series lands in Verizon. It's bringing along 150 truckloads of dirt to carve out a technical, ramp-filled track ready for 32 dirt bikers to do their thing. So yeah, it's Excitebike. And Excitebike is awesome. The track opens again the next day, at 10 a.m., for an "amateur day."
DAYS OF THE NEW
10 p.m., Juanita's. $15 adv., $20 d.o.s.
After grunge burned out and faded away in the late '90s, making room for headier rock music, alternative techno and uncomfortably confessional singer/songwriter styles, Days of the New forged on. The band emerged from Charleston, Ind., sporting acoustic guitars instead of the standard low-slung solid body and one of the most interesting voices of the genre, courtesy of Travis Meeks. (By "interesting," I mean "it sounds like a really sincere jaw harp crammed in a tailpipe.") Now, in 2011, Days of the New has grown into a solo endeavor for Meeks, who has spent the last 15 years hiring and firing a parade of backing musicians like prog-grunge's volatile, megalomaniacal response to Mark E. Smith. In fact, his last 15 years have been, well, a lot more interesting than the music would suggest to unfamiliar ears: struggles with mild autism and a buffet of other mental imbalances; a nasty booze and meth addiction that left him with a weight in the double digits; six years cooped up in a studio as an active transvestite; a feature spot in an episode of "Intervention" and, eventually, sobriety. His upcoming album, "Days of the New Presents Tree Colors," is his first in 10 years and, surely, a bare account of years of mayhem. Days of the New plays alongside Magnolia-based post-hardcore act A Faith Forgotten and local metal act At War's End.
SOUTH CENTRAL BIKE POLO CHAMPIONSHIPS
10 a.m., MacArthur Park Courts. Free.
In a town jam-packed with niche sport organizations (kickball, Gaelic football, bocce ball, roller derby and so on), the Little Rock Bike Polo league rolls hard, giving Arkansas a stake in what's become something of a nationwide phenomenon in the last few years. This year, the team hosts the South Central Bike Polo Championship, an official, regional qualifier for the 2011 North American Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships in Calgary, Alberta. It's expected to bring in 36 teams from as far as Wyoming and Mexico for two days of hardcourt action. For more information, visit leagueofbikepolo.com. And check out their awesome wizard artwork.
8:30 p.m., Stickyz. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
Tastemaker-approved indie rock doesn't get much more cryptic, nonconformist or notable than what comes out of the Destroyer camp. Fronted by eccentric Canadian visionary Dan Bejar (best known for his work in The New Pornographers), the Destroyer moniker has been plastered on a slew of releases since "We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge," his bedroom-recorded, 1996 debut that invited the first of his career-spanning comparisons to Bowie, Roy Wood, Mark Bolan and other literate, rangy space-rockers. Since, he's remained a universally acclaimed pop revisionist, responsible for some of the better, more inventive bright spots in recent musical memory, including 2006's "Destroyer's Rubies" album, one of the decade's best, and this year's hugely successful "Kaputt," Bejar's witty, glittery take on synthy excess from the 1980s' sonic vacuum, with layers of echoed saxophone, synth pads, gorgeously cheesy guitar tones and production right out of Lindsey Buckingham's "Tango in the Night" playbook. Destroyer is already an all-star name to begin with, but this show catches him at what could be, judging from the non-stop Internet attention pointed his way over the last few weeks, the height of his career so far. Without a doubt, this is the one must-see of the week. Destroyer is joined by Philadelphia's The War on Drugs, a frustratingly un-Googleable, grandiose band whose manic, driving take on new Americana is much more interesting than anything on "The Suburbs." Sorry, Arcade Fire.
'THE ALUMINUM SHOW'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $22.80-$55.15.
This is some strange stuff. Also: unbelievable and also, admittedly, a lot more compelling than I expected before diving into this write-up. The plot, I understand, is that a piece of flexible aluminum tubing (think air duct) is born, loses its parents and sets forth on a journey through other metals to find them. But the visuals, part modern dance, part acrobatics, part "ooh, shiny," are dazzling in the same style of "Stomp" or "The Blue Man Group." If you've been itching for a spectacle, look no further. The troupe stays in Robinson for a three-day stint, continuing Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.