Autumn is once again upon us, and live music is a great way to kick off the beginning of better weather, so how about let's just get right down to it.
The season gets started on — when else? — the official first day of fall, Sept. 22, with a performance from jazz/R&B/pop vocal legend Al Jarreau, who plays Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. For something quite different, Chicago post-rockers Maps & Atlases play an 18-and-older show at Stickyz with Mississippi native and Arkansas favorite Cory Branan.
Juanita's has industrial/dance stalwarts Thrill Kill Kult on Sept. 23, with Left Spine Down and local debauched electro-pop savants Ginsu Wives.
Up on The Hill (that'd be Fayetteville), Alabama-bred rapper Yelawolf performs at Rogue Pizza Co., with openers Rittz, Trouble Andrew and DJ Vajra, Sept. 25.
Electronic dance music enthusiasts should mark down Sept. 26 on their schedule, because Colorado-based giant Pretty Lights is back in town for a show at Riverfest Amphitheatre, with opener DJ Kramer.
Sept. 28-29 is the inaugural Arkansas Sounds Music Festival, featuring Black Oak Arkansas, Sleepy LaBeef, Lucero, Sonny Burgess and The Legendary Pacers and many more. It's free and it's at Riverfest Amphitheatre and other venues, including CALS Main Library.
On Sept. 30, Revolution hosts Norwegian pop maestro Sondre Lerche (perhaps you heard his work on the soundtrack to the film "Dan in Real Life"), with Keegan Dewitt. Also that day, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band play an afternoon performance at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall.
Sure, it's not music, but hardcore punk followers will probably want to check out the spoken word of former Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman Henry Rollins, who'll no doubt skewer many deserving targets at Juanita's, Oct. 3.
On Oct. 4, blues guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson plays at Juanita's.
Musicfest El Dorado goes down Oct. 5-6, with MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Bad Axis, Jake Own, Parmalee, Pail, Wes Jeans & Kayla Reeves, Maggie Koerner and more, downtown El Dorado. On Oct. 5, the second annual Johnny Cash Music Festival will take place, featuring Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, The Civil Wars and Rosanne Cash, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro. That same weekend is Helena's giant King Biscuit Blues Festival, with headliners Bobby Rush, Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt, plus dozens more, Downtown Helena, Oct. 4-6.
On Oct. 5, the second annual Hot Water Hills Music and Arts Festival kicks off, featuring ASMSA Folk Music Ensemble, Andrew Anderson & Bank Band, Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition and more, Hill Wheatley Plaza.Also on Oct. 5, White Water Tavern is hosting a benefit show and auction for injured musician Trevor Ware, with works from local artists and music from C. Murdock Jones, Mason Mauldin, Jonathan Wilkins, Isaac Alexander, Elise Davis, Kyle Mays (of Grand Serenade), Sea Nanners and Svelt.
That same weekend in The Spa City, Maxine's has an incredible weekend, with the legendary brothers Fair — Jad and David, a.k.a. Half Japanese. Jad Fair, The Bloodless Cooties and Ezra Lbs. play on Oct. 5, while Half Japanese plays with those bands Oct. 6.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra goes pop with "Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles," Oct. 6-7 at Robinson Center Music Hall. A few days later, Verizon Arena revisits a different era in pop music, with a show the '80s pop-rock fans won't want to miss: Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy.The Arkansas State Fairgrounds host the ghoulish shock-rock of Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Jonathan Davis on Oct. 6.
Country legend Don Williams takes to the stage at Walton Arts Center on Oct. 9.
Electro/dance fans take note: Bassnectar, Gramatik and Gladkill take to the outdoor stage at Riverfest Amphitheatre Oct. 10. The very next day, Oct. 11 to be precise, Verizon Arena rolls out the red carpet for country music giant Brad Paisley, with The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery. Also that day, Stickyz hosts the return of Minneapolis-based robo-R&B/synth weirdos Polica, playing with Gardens and Villa, while just down the street, its sister venue Revolution has the sophisticated pop of Canadian outfit Stars, with openers Diamond Rings and California Wives. Or check out White Water Tavern, which hosts Austin alt-country road warriors The Gourds, with the raconteur and gentleman scholar Kevin Kerby.