9 p.m. Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 day of.
Like a good many singer/songwriters, Ben Taylor has spent the last several years honing a brand of laid-back songcraft that's thoughtful without being ponderous and adventurous without trying to reinvent the wheel. Unlike the bulk of his peers, Taylor's parents (Carly Simon and James Taylor) are legendary musicians. That caliber of comparison might intimidate a lot of star progeny, but Ben Taylor seems very comfortable and confident. His voice is a bit similar to his father's, but not uncannily so. His 2008 album "Another Run Around the Sun" (produced by actor Kevin Bacon) earned Taylor critical accolades, with Allmusic calling it "sure-footed, impossibly warm, and engaging enough to deserve an attentive audience." His 2012 album "Listening" will be a good bet for anybody into contemporary folk and singer/songwriter-types like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. Treva Blomquist and Cliff Hutchison are also on the bill.
THURSDAY 5/9-FRIDAY 5/10
THICK SYRUP ANNIVERSARY SHOWS
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
It's been seven years (eight really, but he doesn't count the first one) since Travis McElroy got the itch to become a record label mogul. In that time, his Thick Syrup Records has given us such notable releases as: Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth's "Mystic Indian Hitmakers," which will one day be widely recognized for the brilliant work of twisted rock genius it is; the works of Smoke Up Johnny, who soundtracked so many of our hazy evenings with their goodtime beer-drinkin' rock 'n' roll; Ezra Lbs, whose self-titled debut was a highlight of last year; the sophisticated arch-power pop of The Alpha Ray's "Follow the Ghost" — and those are but a few of the local releases Thick Syrup has graced us with. McElroy has also released a raft of records from some of the underground's leading lights, such as Half Japanese, Chrome Cranks, zinester legend and filmmaker Dave Markey, Weird Paul, Don Fleming and so many more. To mark the anniversary of Thick Syrup, this Thursday, White Water Tavern hosts Ginsu Wives, Hamburguesa and The Bloodless Cooties (TSR will be releasing the band's first full-length in 20 years in July!), and on Friday, Bryan Frazier, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth and Richie (of Tennessee trouble-causers Ghostfinger).
THE MAIN THING: 'WIENER DAY AT THE ROLLERCADE'
8 p.m. The Joint. $20.
Anybody who digs giggles, chortles, chuckles, titters, yukkety-yuk-yuks, and/or laughs will probably want to go ahead and get on down to The Joint, where the in-house comedy experts, collectively known as The Main Thing, will this very weekend unveil their latest two-act comedic play. The crew is once more inviting the audience along for a trip to the bucolic little burg of Dumpster, Ark., where the Fertle Family is gearing up for the town's biggest event of the year, Wiener Day. Who knows what manner of small-town foofaraw and hillbilly high jinks those wacky Dumpsterites (Dumpsterinians?) will get up to on Wiener Eve? Ol' Doc Moore is hosting and cain't nobody understand what he says, and Bridgette is in the running for Weiner Queen, and Country Wayne Conaway is mixed up in this Shinola, but don't ask me how. And Lordy, what if the fine citizenry of Wiener, Ark. was to find out that the folks in Dumpster had up and stoled their town's name what for to call their festival? Could get dicey, so hang onto your hats folks. The show runs at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through July 13.
8 p.m. Vino's.
Ola Podrida is the brainchild of one David Wingo, a musician and film scorer who's worked on films by David Gordon Green and Little Rock native Jeff Nichols. Wingo soundtracked much of Nichols' critically acclaimed film "Mud," which, unless you were living under a rock, you already know was mostly filmed in Arkansas. Wingo has collaborated with his fellow Austin dwellers Explosions in the Sky for Green's upcoming film "Prince Avalanche" (starring Paul Rudd). His latest long-player is "Ghosts Go Blind," out last week on Western Vinyl.
FRIDAY 5/10-SATURDAY 5/11
ARKANSAS DELTA ROCKABILLY FESTIVAL
3 p.m. Downtown Helena. $30.
All right rockabilly lovers, check it: They're gonna be havin' a party over in Helena, and they invited Wanda Jackson, who probably needs no introduction, so notable are her contributions to the history of the genre. The tireless Sonny Burgess & The Legendary Pacers are also performing at the 3rd Annual Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival. That right there makes for two bona fide, genuine, real-deal rockabilly innovators (they both play on Saturday). But wait, there's more: Sleepy LaBeef's playing on Friday, along with Brandon Cunning & The Stunning Cunning Band, C.W. Gatlin, The Cate Brothers (in tribute to Levon Helm) and Cooter and Cooter's Garage Band. Saturday kicks off at 11 a.m. with the great drummer D.J. Fontana performing with Stan Perkins (son of Carl Perkins), followed by Reba Russell, W.S. Holland (drummer for Johnny Cash), Ace Cannon, Linda Gail Lewis (sister of Jerry Lee), Burgess and The Pacers, Jackson, Travis Wammack and The Kentucky Headhunters. Kids younger than 12 are free with a paid adult.
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 'CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE'
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $10-$58.
What goes really well with a boisterous orchestra performing a lineup of lively classics? How about high-flying acrobatics? Sound good? Of course it does. In this, the fifth installment of the Acxiom Pops Live Series, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be joined by a talented array of dancers — mostly from Russia — who'll perform feats of derring-do, including acts of contortion, dance, acrobatics, juggling, balancing and that thing where they hang and twirl around in midair on really long pieces of fabric. Musical highlights include Strauss' "Overture to Die Fledermaus," selections from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty Suite," Debussy's "Suite Bergamasque: Claire de Lune" and works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Bizet, Bartok and more. Geoffrey Robson conducts. The program also runs Sunday at 3 p.m.
7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $13 adv., $15 day of.
Dudes, y'all, this band Kvelertak? Have you heard them? For real, it's like this crazy mix of blistering, balls-to-the-wall hardcore, black metal, anthemic soccer-stadium rock, punk, classic rock, power-metal, pop-metal ... is there any genre of rock that this band is not ready and willing to throw into its ADD insanity blender? I think not. You know what I like about them, besides the fist-pumpingly badass songs? They're sung in Norwegian. Because hell yes. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I hear more than enough people screaming at me through my headphones in English. Is it time for some Norwegian screamin'? You know it is! Dig it! Get on board the train to Kvelertak (which means "chokehold" in Norwegian). Also on this bill: Savannah, Ga., sludge titans Black Tusk, Canadian bruisers Cancer Bats and Enchiridion.