SCIENCE AFTER DARK: PYRO SCIENCE
6 p.m. Museum of Discovery. Free-$5.
If there's one thing Hollywood does a fine job at teaching us summer after summer, it's that explosions are fun to watch. There are all sorts of them, too — ones that flare up on the sun, manmade nuclear explosions, explosions from boiling liquid's expanding vapor (think: pressure cooker nightmare) and volcanic eruptions. Eucalyptus trees can even up and explode during a bushfire; the oils in the trees are highly flammable, so a spark from a wildfire can wreak serious havoc. The Museum of Discovery is breaking down all things pyrotechnic at this week's "Science After Dark," so you can join in the throngs of buzzed adults wandering around in a museum uttering "whoa" and "what the hell?" There will be Damgoode Pizza, cocktails, wine and Stone's Throw beer for sale, and the museum's staff will probably blow some things up for your amusement and general enlightenment. After you've paid due reverence to fiery explosions (which have, after all, given us bottle rockets, sparklers and Michael Bay movies), you can see the rest of the place; admission gets you into all museum galleries and exhibits.
- Andrew Bennett
- FRESH LIES: Austin musician Mobley gives a free show at Maxine's Thursday night.
9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. Free.
Austin-based Anthony Watkins II, known on stage as Mobley, is big in Mexico. His single "Swoon" went over wildly there. Mobley attributed this in part to the fact that his drummer, Alfredo Rios, is from Monterrey, but to be fair, it's also just super fun listening. The video is a single shot of Mobley's head underwater, the surface level gradually receding over the course of the two minutes and 45 seconds, ending with Mobley's (inaudible) gasps and sputters. "The goal in making 'Swoon,' " he said in an interview with Afropunk Magazine, "was to capture the feelings of anxiety, isolation and suffocation that are, for too many, a part of the experience of being a black person in this country. Like a lot of people, I was stunned by the murder of Eric Garner," who died while police held him in a chokehold in New York in 2014, "but what terrified and spurred me to action was the overwhelming, collective sigh of indifference with which it was greeted by a large portion of the country. In the making of the music and the video, Garner's dying words, 'I can't breathe,' were never far from my mind." Mobley's got pipes for miles and often performs solo, sliding his way around the stage to a self-designed light show and cycling through three or four instruments in the span of a song. It's synth-driven, peppered with countermelodies and electronic accents courtesy of laptops and an Akai drum machine. What to call it? Mobley talked a little about genre in between songs at an Audiotree session. "R&B is kind of a problematic genre label because it's so racialized. It's really amazing what a segregated industry music is, and what the color of the skin of a performer does to the way people hear music. ... Listeners can decide for themselves.I've been places and played ["Tell Me"] and had it called rap, which makes no sense." He's touring as a one-man band in support of his newest EP, "Some Other Country," and his forthcoming full-length album, "Fresh Lies," both of which use the love song as a conceit, "thinking of it as being a metaphorical conversation between myself and America as lovers, as people in a relationship — a dysfunctional relationship," as he told Austin Monthly.
- PITCHER ON A MISSION: Tyler Herb, selected to represent the Arkansas Travelers at the Texas League's All-Star game, pitched six scoreless innings last Sunday in a 7-0 shutout against the Springfield Cardinals. The Travs face off against the San Antonio Missions this weekend.
THURSDAY 6/29-SATURDAY 7/1
ARKANSAS TRAVELERS VS. SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS
7:10 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 6:10 p.m. Sat. Dickey-Stephens Park. $7-$13.
The baseball season at Dickey-Stephens Park is just past its midway point, and it's been a pivotal one, logistically speaking. For one thing, the park has extended the safety netting — that mesh stuff that protects fans from getting knocked in the head by a stray ball (or that keeps you from nabbing a foul ball in your glove from the bleachers, depending on how you look at it) — to the ends of the dugouts. More notably, though, the Travs broke up with their longtime Major League affiliate, the Los Angeles Angels, and started going steady with the Seattle Mariners — only the Travs' second affiliate change in half a century, and one both teams hope to leverage in developing AA-level players for the big time. In a doubleheader last week (a twin bill to make up for the Father's Day game that got rained out), the Northwest Arkansas Naturals overtook the Travs — the team's fifth consecutive loss. But who knows? Maybe the fireworks show set to blast away at game's end on Friday will inspire, or maybe the six Travelers chosen to represent Little Rock at the Texas League's annual All-Star game (June 27) will pull the team through with a win. On Saturday night, the first 1,000 fans in the gate will score a Travs golf towel.
DAVE ROSEN BIG BAND
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.
It's a shame the aisles at the Ron Robinson Theater aren't just a tad wider. Chances are good, after all, that patrons attending the Arkansas Sounds concert there Friday night might be predisposed to use them for a Lindy hop or the jitterbug, or just to sway a little during the slow jams — "Bye Bye Blackbird," for one. Dave Rosen, the trumpeter and bandleader at the helm of the David Rosen Septet and its outsized correlate, the Dave Rosen Big Band, is the son of Rosen Music founder Marty Rosen. The Rosens have been a mainstay of music shops in Little Rock since 1955; as Arkansas Sounds curator John Miller noted before the big band's 2014 concert, "Dave Rosen joined his father at the store in 1972 and continues the Rosen music tradition to this day." The band was a 17-piece for that concert — 18 if you count the moments when Rosen stopped conducting long enough to take a bar or eight on the trumpet. If you've never caught Rosen's trumpet swing, saxophonists Matt Dickson and Dave Williams II or the rest of the band, swing by for this one.
- STAND UP: Legendary activist and comedian Dick Gregory appears Friday night at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center with comedian Nate Williams.
DICK GREGORY AND NATE WILLIAMS
7 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. $40.
Whether it's his stubbornness or the strict health food diet he's been on for years, the legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory has been poking and prodding the establishment since 1961. Gregory's all over YouTube, riffing on everything from "Get Out" to the Bill Cosby scandal to Prince's death. The night Hugh Hefner watched him from the front row at Chicago's black-owned Roberts Show Bar, Gregory was turning out punchlines like, "Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, 'We don't serve colored people here.' I said, 'That's all right. I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.' " White people loved it, which was pretty groundbreaking for that time, as Gregory pointed out in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2013. "Blacks could sing and dance in the white night clubs but weren't allowed to stand flat-footed and talk to white folks, which is what a comic does." Gregory got a job at the Chicago Playboy Club, and he's been pushing buttons (and going to jail for it) ever since. He spoke for two hours in Selma, Ala., as part of the 1963 Freedom Day voter registration drive, marched to the U.S. Capitol in 1978 with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan to push for the Equal Rights Amendment, and went on a hunger strike in Tehran to try and negotiate hostage releases during the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. The man's a master of speaking truth to power, cracking jokes about utterly serious things and demanding due parity from people in positions of authority, as he famously did by refusing to appear on "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" until he was offered to come and chat in the chair on-air, as was the custom for white comedians. He returns to Little Rock for a show with England (Lonoke County) native and comedian Nate Williams.
- VENGEFUL ASCENSION: New Orleans death metal pioneers Goatwhore land at Vino's Friday night with Anciients, Venomous Maximus and local sludge rockers Sumokem.
8 p.m. Vino's Brewpub. $10.
Now here is a band that knows how to give some accurate signals to its potential audience with its name. I mean, if your catalogue of lyrics includes the phrase "like blood and fire in the sacred chalice of Satan I hail the blood-stained horns, the goat of a thousand young," then you had better not be called Ben Falgoust & the Bourbon Street Revivalists, right? The New Orleans band hardly needs to signal, though — they've been ripping out death metal odes to horned beasts and severed limbs since the late-'90s, and last Friday's release, "Vengeful Ascension," will not depart from that formula. As Loudwire notes, though, the band's latest does experiment with some downtempo segments and drum intros, trying to mimic its live sound by putting its live sound engineer, Jarrett Pritchard, in the producer's chair in lieu of longtime producer Erik Rutan. "The whole idea of a 'Vengeful Ascension,' " frontman Falgoust noted, "is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there's other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well." And working one's way up from the bottom, Falgoust told the blog Toilet Ov Hell last year, is actually a pretty American idea. "If you look at it, there are a lot of positive things in Satanism. Satan and the Antichrist is very much the antihero. He was cast from heaven into hell and he has to fight his way back up. ... The funniest thing about it is that Satanism is basically the idea of America. You wanted to be free and you fought this war to be free." Goatwhore is joined by Vancouver's Anciients, Houston's Venomous Maximus and local sludge rockers Sumokem.
- IN REAL TIME: Animator Sam Green and filmmaker Brent Green team up with member of Fugazi and The Nation of Ulysses to create "live cinema" at Crystal Bridges Museum this Friday.
PERFORMANCE LAB: BRENT GREEN AND SAM GREEN
8 p.m. Walker Landing, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Free.
As any performer who's attempted to synchronize two pieces of media will attest, the potential for something to go disastrously awry is great, so the result is thrilling to behold. Self-taught animator Brent Green and Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Sam Green (no relation) are taking the pairing of film and live music a half-step further with this performance at Crystal Bridges, in which they, as well as an onstage band — Brendan Canty (Fugazi) on drums and guitar, James Canty (The Nation of Ulysses) on guitar, Becky Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra) on cello and Kate Ryan on drums and live sound effects — make "live cinema." It's a mash-up of live sounds, narration and music with photos, interview clips and short bits of footage that Sam and Brent created and will string together into cohesive pieces right in front of the audience. The production appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's 2016 New Waves Art Festival, and this time around they're taking it outdoors to the museum's waterside Walker Landing.
- Brian Chilson
- Andy Warr
GINSU WIVES, BROTHER ANDY AND HIS BIG DAMN MOUTH
9 p.m. Maxine's, Hot Springs. $5.
Here are four examples of times when cueing up Ginsu Wives' "Hospital Vibes" is a terrible idea: if you are alone in the woods late at night; if you are alone and have just watched "Seven," "Saw" or "Silence of the Lambs"; if you have consumed any hallucinogens; if you are on a first date. That record — the band's latest — and its predecessor "Sex Symbol" are simultaneously sexy and terrifying, the kind of stuff I imagine is eternally playing in the hallways of secret underground fetish clubs. Or the basement laboratories of serial killers. Here's the good news, though: It's super fun to hear live. Danceable, even. As far as I can tell, that danceability and some well-earned reverence from the Central Arkansas music community (and, OK, also a penchant for cover art featuring animal heads dissociated from their original bodies) are all that this Friday night bill has in common. Despite Brother Andy's (Andy Warr) claim in a 2010 interview with the Arkansas Times that he is "just trying to write songs and make them sound like 'Master of Puppets' as much as possible," Warr's a chameleon, backed by two guys he's been playing with forever. They're capable of crafting everything from desert ballads ("Coyote Love Song") to sludgy, foreboding anthems ("Mona's Song") to raunchy rockers ("Rot Gut Redemption") and uptempo romps ("Big Ass Blue Piano"). There are lyrical references to smoking ice, riverboat culture and dirty deeds in baptistries, and you can best prepare yourself for all that by checking out the band's video for "Shit to Face," which looks like what might happen if a reality show teamed up Sid and Marty Krofft with the creators of Showbiz Pizza and asked them to make a three-minute music video with $50 and a box of Jell-O.