WEDNESDAY 10/31-SATURDAY 11/3
65th ANNUAL OZARK FOLK FESTIVAL
Various times, venues and cover charges in Eureka Springs.
For the folk fan, this annual weeklong shindig is a must-do, and this year's lineup keeps that tradition rolling. It got started Monday and continues through Saturday. On Wednesday, the Basin Park Hotel hosts this year's Barefoot Ball, with a "Hillbilly Halloween" theme and music from old-time country and bluegrass trio The Carper Family ($10 adv., $15 door). On Thursday, there'll be a screening of "Deliverance" at the Carnegie Library Annex, followed by a Q&A with actor and musician Ronny Cox, who starred in the classic film (free, donations accepted). Friday boasts a performance at The Auditorium from longtime folk duo Trout Fishing in America, with openers Karen Mal and Jack Williams ($20 adv., $25 door). Saturday has a full lineup, with a singer/songwriter contest at 11 a.m. at Basin Spring Park followed by a free performance from Trout Fishing in America at 1 p.m. and a parade through downtown starting at 2 p.m. That night, Cox will perform at The Auditorium with Mal and Radoslav Lorkovic, Jack Williams and Michael Cockram ($25 adv., $30 door).
THE SWORD, GYPSYHAWK, EAGLE CLAW
7:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $15 adv., $17 day of.
Gary slammed the door shut on his now ex-girlfriend and strode across the parking lot of the fleabag motel they'd been crashing at. He opened the back doors of his purple '71 Ford Econoline and tossed a satchel containing two kilos of pure, uncut Plutonian Nyborg into the hidden compartment he'd cut out of the panel above the back passenger wheel well. The Nyborg's street value was 20 large. Just gotta boogie out to Albuquerque, hook up with Stash to make the sale and then head down to San Miguel for an extended holiday. Stay down there long enough to sort things out, forget about the last year and get his head straight. With that in mind, he pulled out the jernt he'd tucked into his bandana and fired it up as he was passing the city limits, endless highway stretching out before him. Adios, Wichita. Vaya con Dios. Some tunes, man — that was what he needed now. He reached into the glove box and rifled around for an 8-track, pulling out one after another. James Gang? Good stuff, but eh, not right now. "Houses of the Holy?" Nah, been playing that one too much lately. The next one hadn't been opened for some reason. "The Sword," he said aloud, eyeing the outer space warrior chick on the cover. "Huh, don't remember picking this up." He bit into the shrink wrap, tore it off and ka-chunked the tape into the player. As the sun faded from the sky, Gary cranked the stereo. The Sword's bitchin' riffs and cosmic grooves washed over him. "Yeah man," he thought as the darkness fell around him, "things are gonna be all right."
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $12 adv., $15 day of.
That right up there is the slightly sanitized shorthand for the band's name. You might think that sort of handle would preclude things like record deals and having your tunes used in Target commercials, but you'd be wrong. You see, Starfucker's sparkly, psychedelic, electro-tinged pop is so catchy and appealing that they can have a career despite the mildly risque name. The band's latest, "Reptilians," is 10 tracks of the type of thing that is the ideal accompaniment to youthful revelry. Need a soundtrack for next weekend's pharmaceutically enhanced night out? Dial up "Reptilians" or maybe the band's previous album "Jupiter" and blast off. The opener at this all-ages show is Onuinu.
THE ALPHA RAY
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
The Alpha Ray is the latest project from songwriter Bryan Frazier. It's a collaboration with guitarist Jonathan Teague (of the outstanding Many Persian Z's) and David Stone (of Hot Springs indie faves Landrest). The group's new album, "Follow the Ghost," is Frazier's fifth release on Thick Syrup Records, following several solo albums and EPs. And while it's a touch darker than some of Frazier's past records, it's not a radical departure from the sort of smart, hook-filled guitar rock he's been making for years now. Nine of the album's 12 tracks were mixed by Ken Stringfellow, of The Posies, The Minus 5 and the latter-day lineup of Big Star. Stringfellow also added backing vocals and keyboards of several varieties, including Wurlitzer, glockenspiel and Fender Rhodes. Alex Piazza provides some gorgeous, spectral pedal steel on the brief "Minnesota Radio." The whole album is very solid, but my personal favorite cuts are the last two. "Picture House" is subtly forlorn, with moments of tension and guitar heroics that, to my ear, recall Crazy Horse. The final track is "Thundersnow," a stunningly beautiful number featuring more of Piazza's pedal steel. Opening the show are Ezra Lbs. and Collin vs. Adam. There'll be a listening party on Thursday at Ciao Baci at 7 p.m.
5:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $17.
Iwrestledabearonce takes gnarly metalcore, glitch-y synth pop and an avant-rock element or two (Henry Cow, say, or maybe Zappa at his knottiest) and tosses it all in a blender with about 5,000 mg of Adderall. The resulting concoction is a Gen-Y head-scratcher that sounds like nothing else anywhere ever. The band's latest album, "Ruining it for Everyone," is shot through with machinegun riffs and even machinegun-ier drumbeats, not unlike a good many of their math-metal peers. But there's quite a bit more going on with Iwrestledabearonce. The band has a pronounced ambient electro-pop influence, with beautiful female vocals soaring throughout and mixing in with the throat-shredding screams, weedly-weedly-wee guitars and prog-metal craziness. The closest comparison I can come up with is if Lady GaGa hired The Dillinger Escape Plan as her touring band. If that sounds like your jam, these guys and girl have your fix. You might want to order tickets ahead of time at arkansaslivemusic.com, because the band has a substantial following and this show will likely sell out. Also playing are Oceano, Vanna, Within the Ruins, The Plot in You and Surrounded by Monsters.
ARKANSAS TIMES CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
6 p.m. Argenta. $35 adv., $40 d.o.e.
Ah, craft beer, you delicious, nectar-of-the-gods you. If you're reading this, odds are good that those two words will have you eyeing the clock and checking for the closest happy hour. The Times has put together this celebration of suds and it is going to be awesome. There'll be beer from more than 30 national, regional and local brewers, including big names like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, newer arrivals to the area such as Tallgrass and Schlafly and local stalwarts Vino's, Boscos, Diamond Bear and many more. Of course, you'll need some tasty chow to soak up all that beer, and we've got you covered there, too. Cregeen's Irish Pub, Cornerstone Pub & Grill and Reno's Argenta Cafe will serve it up. Music also pairs well with beer and food, so we're bringing in The Funkanites, The Salty Dogs and Weakness for Blondes. It'll be a good time, so come on out and celebrate beer with us. Get more info at arktimes.com/craftbeerfest.
THE FLAMING LIPS
8 p.m. Barnhill Arena. $35.
The University of Arkansas's Headliner Concert Committee scores again on this one. The Flaming Lips probably need little in the way of introduction, but if you haven't been paying attention since "She Don't Use Jelly" was in heavy rotation, here's the deal: The Flaming Lips are one of the most adventurous, restless, improbably long running bands to come out of the American underground rock scene. How many observers back in the mid '80s would've pegged that a trio of acid-fried Oklahomans with a serious penchant for The Butthole Surfers would not only survive, but evolve over the decades, mutating from deliriously over-driven guitar pop to widescreen, sophisticated psych-pop majesty to daringly weird and dark noise rock and collaborations with artists from across the pop spectrum?
9 p.m. Juanita's. $45 adv., $55 day of.
Of all the awesome creative forces in Fleetwood Mac, I think you've got to give the nod to Lindsey Buckingham as the crucial factor that led the band to the creative and commercial heights it achieved. He was not only the architect of many, many of the band's finest songs, but he was also the mechanic, tinkering with the overall machinery and keeping it running at top performance. He's also a wickedly talented and innovative guitar player who doesn't always get the credit he deserves in that department (check out "I'm So Afraid," from either of his recent live albums; it smokes). He's no stranger to solo albums. His first was 1981's "Law and Order," a sublime, rewarding collection. His recent shows are truly solo affairs, with Buckingham performing with a drum machine and an array of guitars. What a great opportunity this will be to see one of rock's brightest, longest-running talents in a small venue.