8 p.m. Vino's. $10.
The opening track of "Summon the Faithless," last year's debut album by Portland metal band Lord Dying, is called "In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment." The cover is wild and sort of beautiful: a three-eyed, green-robed figure has a skull for a face, a long serpentine tongue and werewolf hands, with which he's holding up an hourglass. In the background are steep crags, a winged demon and a moon with a face. The band says Portland is "a region where the inhabitants are plagued with nerve and joint damage due to lack of sunlight," which rings true. Based only on the information I've provided here, you can probably make a pretty informed decision as to whether or not this is a show you'll enjoy. If you're on the fence, go. Also on the bill are Enchiridion, Iron Tongue and Godcity Destroyers.
ROBERT EARL KEEN
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $25 adv., $30 d.o.s.
Like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker and countless others before him, Robert Earl Keen has spent decades as one of progressive country's key cult figures, a musician's musician who's productive and beloved but in the margins, just barely out of frame. There's a great moment in Jan Reid's book "The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock" where Keen's car breaks down on his way back from a gig in Kansas. While he's looking under the hood, the enormous tour bus of the more successful Steve Earle flies by without noticing him. And after he's spent all the money he made at the gig fixing his car, he gets home to find that someone has broken into his apartment and robbed him. Pretty soon after, he decides to give up on Nashville stardom and go home to Texas. Good thing, too.
JOHN PAUL KEITH & THE ONE FOUR FIVES
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
The Memphis singer-songwriter and Motel Mirrors co-founder John Paul Keith will return to Little Rock this weekend with his band The One Four Fives. Keith plays tight rockabilly that aims for the same space occupied by records like Nick Lowe's "Labour of Love" or maybe Tom Petty's "Damn the Torpedoes." I think most things written about Keith use the word "twang" at some point, and I understand why they do. I've seen him at White Water before, and I remember thinking he reminded me of the cover of Nick Tosches' book "Hellfire," where a black-and-white Jerry Lee Lewis is singing in flames.
7 p.m. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. SOLD OUT.
One of the greatest comedians of all time, Dick Gregory, will be in Little Rock on Friday, but he will most likely not be doing comedy. Gregory, 81, started performing in the 1950s, and was a seminal and controversial presence on Jack Paar's and Johnny Carson's late-night shows in the '60s. His stand-up persona, for that matter, influenced a generation, though his history as an activist is just as impressive and significant. He spoke in Selma, Ala., in '63, protested the Vietnam War and marched with Gloria Steinem for the ERA. He ran for mayor of Chicago in '66 and for president in '68. He also believes the moon landing was faked, but then I'm not entirely convinced either. Anyway, he once told the New York Times it was "a badge of honor" to be called a "conspiracy theorist." On Friday he will discuss the documentary "COINTELPRO: The FBI's War on Black America."
DENISE PARKINSON BOOK SIGNING
4 p.m. Butler Center.
Hot Springs writer Denise Parkinson spent her childhood summers in a houseboat along the White River, a background she draws on in her new book "Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery & Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta." The book concerns the Arkansas houseboat culture of the '20s and '30s, and more specifically the strange case of a person named Helen Spence, described in the foreward as "a woman who went right into the DeWitt Court House and shot a man dead before she was sent to prison and later killed trying to escape." In her day, Spence was an outlaw with nationwide notoriety, gaining notices in the Washington Post and the New York Times, and in the book she appears as a haunting representative of the now-vanished river culture. Parkinson will discuss and sign copies of the book Saturday.
9 p.m. Revolution. $8.
"I do it for the one's that's cool as fuck but not cool enough," says Kari Faux on her single, "Rap Game Daria," and the line's not a bad introduction to the young Little Rock rapper and producer, whose new mixtape, "Spontaneous Generation," will come out Feb. 20. She's released several tapes in the last couple of years, but has been gaining a lot of well-deserved momentum in recent months especially, with mentions at MTV Hive and Spin. On "Vince Carter," she claims, "I do my own stunts," and on "Fauxreign Threatz" she raps over the instrumental from Goodie Mob's "Cell Therapy." What I mean is, she's awesome, and one of the most exciting young talents in Little Rock at the moment. Her new tape is her best collection yet, and I'm not just saying that because there's a song on it called "Arkansas Times." Come see her Sunday night at Revolution to celebrate the release — C-Port, Fresco Grey and Taylor Moon will also be performing.
GOLDEN DRAGON ACROBATS
7 p.m. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $24-$35.
The Golden Dragon Acrobats troupe was founded by one Chang Lien Chi, who began performing in 1949. It is his son, Danny Chang, who now leads the troupe, having made his first appearance in their company at age 7. In their new program, Cirque Ziva, the acrobats perch above precariously stacked chairs, ride a single bicycle in units of seven or eight while waving fans, juggle hats while sprinting in circles, hang by one hand from spinning ropes with their bodies extended outwards in physically improbable straight lines. In one segment I found on YouTube, they hold up spinning plates with both hands, and while you're busy puzzling over the mechanics of that, one of them jumps on another's back and wriggles herself upright and upside down, so that her head is balanced on the other's head — all the while, they're still spinning those plates. I almost choked on my coffee watching that.
'GO GRANNY D'
7:30 p.m. Weekend Theater. $10.
From January 1999 to February 2000, a 90-year-old woman walked 3,200 miles across the country, an event worthy of respect in and of itself, but particularly so in this case because she did it to raise awareness about campaign finance reform. Her name was Doris Haddock, but she preferred to be called Granny D. Barbara Bates Smith, a longtime Off-Broadway veteran, will portray Granny D in the Weekend Theater's one-night-only production of the new play about her cross-country walk, "Go, Granny D!" The city of Little Rock makes an appearance in a scene that Smith said is "the highlight of the show, for me": On Haddock's stop here, she gave a rousing speech at the First Missionary Baptist Church, where she claimed, "We are walking together on the high road of history."
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $23-$113.
If you're my age, your earliest memories of the Harlem Globetrotters might be from their guest appearances on "Scooby-Doo." Who could forget the episode where they get lost in a swamp and meet the ghost of the pirate Redbeard? Not me. But there is, of course, more to the team than their ventures in animated children's television. They've been touring since the 1920s, for one thing. They performed in Moscow in 1959 and were given the Order of Lenin medal by Krushchev himself. Wilt Chamberlain was on the team then. Jesse Jackson is an Honorary Globetrotter, as is Henry Kissinger. When I was maybe 9 or 10, I saw them perform in a civic center in South Georgia. Afterward, I walked around the court with a basketball, and they all signed it.