Social commentator, champion of hip-hop, Georgetown professor and a rare example of a modern-day public intellectual, Michael Eric Dyson opens up Philander Smith's "Bless the Mic" series in the M.L. Harris Auditorium, 7 p.m. Canadian three-piece AIDS Wolf combines no-wave, hardcore punk and spazzing synths at Downtown Music; brand-new locals Heart Takers and garage-punkers Shoplift open, 9 p.m., $5. At Juanita's, The Backsliders take The Pretenders out on a dirt road truck ride, metaphorically. They play at 9 p.m., $5. Femme-fronted New Englanders Grand Evolution take to Vino's alongside hooky New Orleanians Herrington, 8 p.m., $8. Bluesman and soon-to-be featured artist at the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (the King Biscuit Festival) Willie "Big Eyes" Smith plays a set in Benton for the back porch crowd at Denton's Trotline, 8 p.m. The River City Men's Chorus performs at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 7 p.m. And, as always, the River Market district hosts the weekly parties "Posh" and "In Too Deep" at Ernie Biggs and Deep Ultra Lounge, respectively, 9 p.m.FRIDAY 9/24
The Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View kicks off two days of catgut and rosin with the Arkansas State Fiddle Championship, $10. Monthly dance party Cool Shoes returns to the Downtown Music with DJs Kichen, Sleek, Cameron Holifield, and Risky Biz jockeying the discs, 10 p.m., $5, $8 under 21. Two parts Techno-Squid Eats Parliament, one part Trusty, Dangerous Idiots, the self-described gulch-rockers, play Town Pump, 10 p.m., $3. Cody Belew and the Mercers take to the river with a show on the Arkansas Queen, 9 p.m., $15. Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band begin their two-night stint at Midtown Billiards, 12:30 a.m., $8 non-members. At the River Market Pavilions, the Arkansas Federation of Skaters hosts Skate Jam 2010, 6:30 p.m.SATURDAY 9/25
Melvins-loving hard-dance duo Androids of Ex-Lovers play at the Town Pump with the long-awaited reformation of Coach, the Hendrix-formed college rockers, 10 p.m., $3. The Village brings a Hip-Hop Showcase, hosted by Nina James and Epiphany, featuring DJ Discipline, 4x4 Crew, Sean Fresh and many more of Little Rock's best microphone masters, 9 p.m., $10. In Hot Springs, Maxine's hosts Rural War Room, the wacked-out experimental duo; Dragoon, the garage trio of Trusty's Bobby Matthews and two former Grifters, and Star and Micey, Memphis' young folk/gospel outfit, 9 p.m., $5.