by Robert Bell
7:30 p.m. Arkansas Music Pavilion. $22-$102.
As The B-52s enters its fifth decade, it's easy to forget how odd and out-of-step with the times the Athens, Ga., band seemed when it first broke out in the late '70s with its debut self-titled album.
Featuring that timeless new wave hit and perennial '80s party mainstay "Rock Lobster," it had a really sparse sound that, coupled with good songwriting, has helped it age much better than many of its peers. In its early days, The B-52s played a sort of kitsch-saturated post-punk that was informed by beach-blanket B-movies and early rock 'n' roll as much or more than it was by the Talking Heads and Devo.
With 1989's "Cosmic Thing," The B-52s morphed into a party-anthem colossus. That album spawned two enormous mainstream radio hits — "Love Shack" and "Roam" — which were damn near inescapable at the time and have now become part of the fabric of American pop music.
Today, the band enjoys a sort of beloved elder statesmen status among everyone from baby boomers to finicky, graying former college radio DJs.