Lucero inaugurates the new Village 

Former Cinema 150 theater debuts as newest nightclub.

VILLAGE PEOPLE: Lucero opens hotspot.
  • VILLAGE PEOPLE: Lucero opens hotspot.

As the month of October rumbles to a close, we all know what debauchery-filled, sugar-rush, evil, costume and role-playing-encouraging event we’re looking forward to. Halloween is a special holiday among holidays. It allows those of us less than brave during daylight hours to live out our wildest fantasies by becoming whatever (or whoever) we want for one night. And there is lots of candy. And punch. How grand.

Several Halloween-esque events this week will to get us in the festive spirit, plus there are some maybe less-holiday-spirited but terrific shows leading up to Halloween.

Friday marks the grand opening of The Village, the old Cinema 150 on University and Asher avenues that has been remodeled into a nightclub. Jon Love and his gang at Hitchhiker Entertainment, seeing the need for a music venue larger than Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom but smaller than the Clear Channel Metroplex or Alltel Arena, created this 1,000-seat venue to draw bigger acts to the city. Its spooky, Shyamalan-inspired name is perfect to rev up the Halloween mood, and we hear it’s an amazing new venue.

The opening act Friday, Oct. 27, will be the Memphis-based, cult-followed Lucero. The country/alt rockers have a bevy of Little Rock fans and will be the perfect opener to draw a mixed crowd for the first peek at The Village.

For those of you who don’t know Lucero, this band boasts furniture store heir Ben Nichols (son of Nichols Furniture owner John Nichols) as the lead singer, and he and his band mates deliver rock in a fashion that borders on the spiritual. The band loves what it does and the fans love that the band does it. It’s mainly less than original material (subjects are girls, booze and tough times) but for some reason Lucero stands apart from the rest and has maintained a status as carrying on the Springsteen flame. Maybe it’s the Arkansas tattoo. Maybe it’s classic, well-delivered music. Who’s to say?

The show starts at 9 p.m. Friday. Cover charge is $10.

Bluegrass/folk/hillbilly band Big Smith returns Friday, Oct. 27, to the Revolution Room in the River Market district (9 p.m., $10). The Springfield, Mo., group has got the musical talent in tow on a variety of instruments, including dulcimer, harmonica, tin whistle, accordion, spoons and the perfect Halloween musical accessory, bones. Big Smith’s songs are an array of weird and catchy that perfectly appeals to the country mentality. With names like “Trash” and “12 Inch 3-Speed Oscillating Fan” they’re not songs with any grand message but simple lyrics with a musical backing and delivery that turns any room very nearly into a revival.

Also on Friday, see bluegrass band Special Consensus at Acoustic Sounds Cafe (doors open at 7 p.m., $10 adults, $8 students and seniors). If you’re looking for traditional bluegrass music (that your grandparents would actually love) check out this 30-year-old veteran band featuring Greg Cahill, Justin Carbone, Ron Spears and David Thomas. The quartet’s repertoire includes traditional material and original songs.

Opening will be Juni Fisher. She was named AWA 2005 Female Vocalist of the Year and has been compared to Tom Russell lyrically, but with a “sweeter than thou” voice on songs like “Sideshow Romance” she sounds like the PG version of Tom Waits.

The official Halloween events kick off at Vino’s on Saturday with 4th Annual ACAC Halloween Cover-Up (8 p.m., $6 cover, $5 if in costume). This popular event is a favorite among Little Rockers, with local bands dressing up as famed groups and covering their material. The Moving Front will be featured as The Cure along with several others.

Also on Saturday check out the Burlesque Halloween Party at Argenta Coffee Co. DJ Swift will be spinning tunes and the costumes promise to be some of the most wicked of the season.

The main night, Halloween, falls discouragingly on a Tuesday, but several shows that night will be worth the groggy Wednesday morning.

Enjoy another costume show at the White Water Tavern with Victor Wiley and the Crisco Kids as Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the Boondogs and Sara Thomas as Fleetwood Mac and San Antokyo as AC/DC.

At the Revolution Room, there’s reggae/rock jam band Green Lemon Band. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based group was dubbed “2004 New Home Grown Band of the Year” by Home Grown Music Network. For those of you looking for a laid-back Halloween, with just a little bit of weirdness (think face paint and shirtless rockers), this is it.

For the full Halloween experience, however, the not-to-be-missed show is at Cornerstone Pub on Main Street in North Little Rock with the Reverend Horton Heat, returning after an extended absence. The Granddaddy of current punkabilly offspring, the Reverend’s music (after being compared to gospel) earned him his pastoral moniker. Both his music and the live show are described as a “hellacious, unholy marriage of Dick Dale, Carl Perkins, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Cramps and Gretsch theatrics,” and his guitar playing will remind you why, on this night initially created to remember the dead, there is reason to live.

The band, formed in 1985, is best known for its no-holds-barred lifestyle, particularly on stage (it’s rumored the Reverend likes Jagermeister). However, with age and children comes the question: Can the Reverend still deliver his “unholy sermon”? His most recent (non-Christmas) album, “Revival,” does wander into a more personal arena with songs about friends overdosing on drugs and the loss of his mother, but fortunately for the die-hard rock fans he discusses these topics over screaming guitar riffs and with a tempo that will have you sweating up a storm on the dance floor.




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