A torrent of lesser-known bands from Arkansas and beyond round out this year's Riverfest line-up.

Sure, acts like Widespread Panic and Nelly are bringing the bulk of this weekend's crowd, but Riverfest is rounded out by a flood of other acts from Arkansas and beyond. So many, in fact, that we've got to just jump right in and start introducing them.

Let's boogie.



Jerry Joseph, front man for Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons and long-time member of Widespread Panic offshoot act Stockholm Syndrome, hops on the Bud Light Stage at 6:15 p.m. to open for his jam-heavy buddies. He's a long-time associate of the band, and Widespread Panic covers several Jerry Joseph originals — notably "Climb to Safety," "Chainsaw City" and "North" — regularly. Expect to hear highlights from his 2010 album with the Jackmormons, "Badlandia." (Think Dinosaur Jr. in hemp shorts.)


Four on the Floor have spent the last few years gathering up a dedicated following around these parts thanks to the group's high-octane bar-metal sound and its latest album, "Forbidden Fruit." Expect the local four-piece to offer up wailing guitar solos, epic '80s drums and a liberal dose of "aww yeaaaaahs" at 6 p.m. Energetic rockers Kingsdown keep the music coming at 8 p.m., offering up a high-energy (as in running around and getting hype as shit) twist on heavy pop-rock that should sate the crowd before Poison arrives.


At 6:30 p.m., long-time local performer Elise Davis takes to the tent for a set of Dixie-tinged pop that, surely, will include "Trouble," the single we named the best local song of 2010. Following suit at 8 p.m.: The Romany Rye, Californian Luke MacMaster's musical project, rounded out by the group of Arkansans formerly known as The Natives. The melodic folk act has been the source of much blog buzz over the last few months, making a reputation at SXSW and, most recently, earning a spot as a finalist to appear on the cover of "Rolling Stone." Will Hoge, a Nashville singer/songwriter, headlines the night at 9:30 p.m. with his gritty, backwoods folk-pop.



Modern rockers Prosevere bring their tight, melodic pop-metal from Memphis to the opening day afternoon at 1:30 p.m. A local crew of Times favorites, Sea Nanners follow the act at 3 p.m. The buzz-heavy act offers up wiry, jittery Americana, re-imagined for the indie set. The band released its debut 7-inch single, "Queen of the Brodeo," earlier this week. Fayetteville's Randall Shreve and The Sideshow hit the stage at 4:30 p.m., offering up boisterous burlesque-pop that recalls Rufus Wainwright, The Cure and The Decemberists.


The Trey Hawkins Band from the southeastern chunk of the state mixes radio-ready country twang with a rootsy sound from the Red Dirt songbook. It kicks off Saturday's music offerings at noon. Texarkana's Greg Garner & VooDoo Cowboy hoist the hard-drinking, woman-chasing torch set by the Outlaws. Over the past few years, the band has provided support for country luminaries like Dwight Yoakam and David Allan Coe. This marks the second time it's played before Pat Green. The Cowboys saddle up at 1:30 p.m. The three sisters of Carter's Chord, an up-and-coming group from Nashville, have a single on the Hot Country Songs charts and a bona fide pedigree, with the girls' parents as members of Waylon Jennings' road band in the 1970s. The vocal group does its thing at 3 p.m. Rounding out the cast of area openers at 4:30 p.m.: Zach Williams and the Reformation. Locals may remember the group from this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. The world-traveled act has taken its swaggering, Southern soul to Spain, France and Japan, spreading the sound popularized by the Black Crowes and the Stones at their twang-iest.


Saturday kicks off at 2 p.m. with music from Brown Soul Shoes, the popular local band known for its blue-eyed covers of soul classics from Hall & Oates to Gnarles Barkley. At 3:30 p.m., the Dirty White Boys get weird with party rock covers of, well, party anthems. Mama said knock them out. A regular on local stages, Lucious Spiller brings his blues-soul sound to the tent at 5 p.m. Dallas reggae act Ugly Lion gets lifted at 6:30 p.m., Chicago's Lubriphonic offers up horn-heavy funk and blues at 8 p.m. and, at 9:30 p.m., Free Sol, the Justin Timberlake-discovered and Interscope-signed hip-hop/rock act, closes the night.



The self-described (and tongue in cheek) "church for pagans," Monkhouse offers up a "holy ghost rock and roll revival" full of rootsy, gospel-inspired ramblers with a bit of rhythm, a bit of blues and a bit of Sunday-appropriate uplift. The band will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. Fayetteville's Hardaway and the Commoners blend jazz and funk from a six-backing band and hip-hop vox from front man Hardaway. Expect horns, wah-wah guitar, rhymes and a live turntablist at 3 p.m. One of our favorite local rappers, Epiphany, continues his plans for Little Rock dominance at 4:30 p.m. when he joins local soul diva Gina Gee for a set of smooth, heady hip-hop and soul with, surely, a few excerpts from his latest mixtape, "Respect, Part 3: The Wait," approved by both the Times and the trend-setters at The Source. And, at 6 p.m., Memphis "aristocrunk" act Lord T & Eloise trade in cornrows for powdered barrister wigs and mix southern Crunk and baroque music into a decidedly weird, strangely appealing cocktail.


Matt Stell and the Crashers are one of Arkansas's premiere Red Dirt country acts, opening for names like Stoney LaRue, Wade Bowen and Reckless Kelly. The band brings its woodshed-styled down-home rock 'n' roll to the river at 1:30 p.m. Another Southern rocker, Johnny Cooper, follows up at 3 p.m. A consummate roadman, the mop-topped 22-year-old brings his soul-laced style of blues rock to clubs with a ferocious regularity. The guy plays 200 shows a year. Hailing from Georgia, Ponderosa specializes in a swaggering campfire rock that's ethereal, beery, and, on occasion, really gorgeous. Fans of My Morning Jacket: You're on alert for 4:30 p.m. And at 6 p.m., the ever-popular Memphians of Ingram Hill take the stage for an hour of easy pop-rock stylings aimed right towards the college-girl heartstrings.


An up-and-coming crew of local favorites, Catskill Kids brings its melodic, heart-on-sleeve indie-pop to the tent at 2 p.m. Adam Faucett, the acclaimed local soul/folk shouter behind one of the best albums of the year from anywhere, "More Like a Temple," provides what we'll call the best music going on at the festival that afternoon, period, at 3:30 p.m. Memphis' Grace Askew brings her breathy Memphis folk to Riverfest at 5 p.m. Make plans to be here at 6:30 p.m. to see Tyrannosaurus Chicken, the winner of this year's Musicians Showcase and, as regular readers know, an incredible band we rave about as much as possible. Here's one we were happy to find out about: the Kopecky Family Band. The Nashville six-piece offers up orchestral, woodsy harmonies, replete with violin and cello, for the tent at 8 p.m. And closing out this year's tent action: Big Smith, the super-sized Springfield, Mo., band of traditional bluegrass ass-kickers.




Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Tarpley

  • The Beatles anew

    Daniel Whelan's remixes expose hidden treasure in the Fab Four's catalog.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • Walter was the worst

    But Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, the Danettes and Steve Winwood wow at Verizon Arena.
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • A new era for Riverfest

    In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Latest in A&E Feature


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation