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.
From Oct. 11-13, you can get your rootsy/folksy/bluegrass/jam-band fix at Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Music Festival, which also features Leftover Salmon, Mickey Hart Band, The North Mississippi Allstars and dozens more, at Mulberry Mountain near Ozark.
On Oct. 12, Downtown Music Hall has agro-maestros Static-X, with hardcore heroes Emmure, plus Ill Nino, 9Electric, Shogun and one more to be determined. That same day up in Fayetteville, rising country singer Brantley Gilbert plays Arkansas Music Pavilion, with Uncle Kracker, Greg Bates and Brian Davis. The next day, Gurdon native and rockabilly legend Tav Falco plays a rare Arkansas show at Rogue Pizza Co. in Fayetteville. On Oct. 16, folk/rock giants The Avett Brothers perform at Arkansas Music Pavilion.
Juanita's has The Melvins on Oct. 17 as part of the veteran sludge-rockers' Guinness World Record attempt to play all 50 states and The District of Columbia in just 51 days.
Singer/songwriter and chamber pop luminary Rufus Wainwright plays at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall on Oct. 18.
Get ready to sway side to side with your hands in the air, CCM fans, for Casting Crowns will fill Verizon Arena with the faithful on Oct. 20, with openers Kristian Stanfill and Kerrie Roberts. Or watch as Sacramento invades Little Rock, with the acoustic side of hardcore legend Kevin Seconds and erstwhile Groovie Ghoulie Kepi Ghoulie, whose pop-punk will scratch your Ramones itch.
Also on Oct. 20, Stickyz has what will no doubt go down in Arkansas music lore, with Pine Bluff bluesman Cedell Davis, who'll be recording a live album with such rock luminaries as Peter Buck, Barrett Martin, Scott McCaughey, Joe Cripps and more.
On Oct. 21, the erstwhile Hasidic reggae/rapper Matisyahu plays an all-ages show at Revolution. Also that day, Juanita's has the dry humor and folksy singer/songwriter fare of Todd Snider. A few days later, Oct. 24, Juanita's has buzzy major-rock duo Jeff the Brotherhood, a.k.a., brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, formerly of the outre rockers Be Your Own Pet.
Perhaps you should give it away, give it away, give it away now, because word has it that the Red Hot Chili Peppers play at Verizon Arena Oct. 25.
Discovery Nightclub has dirty South duo Ying Yang Twins with DJ Skribble, Oct. 27. The very next day, Juanita's has New Orleans electro funkmeisters Galactic with Cory Glover. Also on Oct. 28, Revolution has a show with Flatlander and alt-country legend Joe Ely, and up in Fayetteville, bassist, former member of The Minutemen and Firehose and bona fide national treasure Mike Watt and his band The Missing Men play at George's Majestic Lounge.
On Halloween Eve — Oct. 30, that is — power-popper and Raconteur Brendan Benson plays an 18-and-older show at Stickyz. On Nov. 1, '60s pop-rockers Gary Puckett and The Union Gap play all their hits at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall.
Nov. 2, Downtown Music Hall has a big old-fashioned eardrum-buster, with Louisiana-based metal/screamo/what-have-you weirdoes Iwrestledabearonce, playing with Oceano, Vanna, Within the Ruins, The Plot in You and Surrounded by Monsters. The next day, Revolution has an 18-and-older show boasting the return of red-dirt troubadour Charlie Robison. Also on Nov. 3, Memphis country rock stalwarts Lucero play what's sure to be a sweaty good time at Maxine's.
On Nov. 4, Downtown Music Hall hosts one of the biggest hardcore shows of the year, with scene legends Converge, pop-death-metal faves Torche, Kvelertak.
Stickyz has Americana/roots favorites (and part of Little Rock label Last Chance Records' stable) American Aquarium. It's an 18-and-older show on Nov. 9.
Pop acapella faves Straight No Chaser bring their vocals-only takes on pop both standard and contemporary at UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall, Nov. 11.
On Nov. 15, shaggy vintage psych-pop faves Dr. Dog return to Little Rock, with Cotton Jones, Revolution.Note: An earlier version of this article listed the wrong date for the Mike Watt and The Missingmen concert at George's Majestic Lounge. It has been corrected.