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The Avett Brothers come to Verizon

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FRIDAY 11/8

THE AVETT BROTHERS

8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $46-$53.

North Carolina's Avett Brothers have spent the last decade and change rising to the top of the heap of scruffy, earnest folk rock outfits with banjos and beautiful vocal harmonies. Brothers Scott and Seth Avett (banjoist and guitarist, respectively) formed the band back about the turn of the millennium with their buddy, "Bass-Playin'" Bob Crawford (bassist). The trio cut several albums of wide-eyed folkcraft and gentle harmonizing and banjo pluckery, touring the venues of this nation with tireless resolve. Before too long, they'd become quite popular, and ol' Rick Rubin, producer of Slayer and Johnny Cash, signed the band and brought them under his wing (or perhaps into the warm recesses of his gigantic beard, which also would likely be beneficial to an aspiring young band). Now the dudes are playing big outdoor festivals and stadiums. RB

FRIDAY 11/8-SUNDAY 11/10

COMICON-WAY

Various times. Faulkner County Library. Free.

Comic book fans and gamers, y'all listen up now: You lot need to go ahead and collectively take off work, clear your calendars, cancel any appointments and otherwise unburden yourself of any obligations you might have had this weekend, because it's time for ComiCon-Way. It's gonna be three days of intense, geek-centric revelry. Some of the speakers and guests include featured guest Erik Larsen, co-founder of Image Comics; Joe Staton and Mike Curtis of "Dick Tracy" renown; fantasy illustrator R.K. Post; Sam de la Rosa of "Venom" and other titles, Tom Feister ("G.I." Joe" and "Iron Man" among others) and many others. But there's more: Trivia buffs? Y'all can flex your arcane comics knowledge at the trivia contest. Magic the Gathering? Aw, hell yeah you know it! Tournaments! Cosplay? Please, there's gonna be so much Cosplay going on and so many people decked out in their finest duds that you're not even going to know what to do. Check out the website for all of the pertinent info at ComiCon-Way.com. RB

SATURDAY 11/9

NIK TURNER

8 p.m. Revolution. $8.

Man, how rad is this? One of the founding members of utterly mind-exploding space rock pioneers Hawkwind (and as such, one of the guiding lights of the genre) will be performing right here in Little Rock City. Nik Turner helped guide the good ship Hawkwind during the band's prime of 1969-1976 (and again from '82-'84), playing skronky, free-jazz-inspired sax and writing or co-writing some of the band's most memorable tunes. Any of you heavy music heads who've somehow avoided Hawkwind should remedy that situation right quick. Everything from the self-titled debut up to and including "Warrior on the Edge of Time" is absolutely essential proto-metal outer-reaches head-trip gonzo insanity. And Nik Turner was a key part of it. What an interesting dude. Even after he left the band he kept doing cool things, including 1978's Egyptian mythology-informed "Xtintoday," which included key personnel from Gong and Hawkwind, notably Steve Hillage. Turner's got a new album out this year, "Space Gypsy," which carries on the tradition of tripped-out cosmic rock that he helped birth. Also, here's this interesting note: On guitar is none other than Nicky Garratt of legendary British punk outfit U.K. Subs. Also on the bill at this all-ages show: Pallbearer, The Sound of the Mountain, Sumokem and Tropical Body. RB

SATURDAY 11/9

MARCUS ROBERTS TRIO

8 p.m. South on Main. $45.

Jazz lovers, here is your absolute best bet for Saturday night: Veteran pianist Marcus Roberts, bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Jason Marsalis, who has long collaborated with Roberts. Early in his career, Roberts played in Wynton Marsalis's band for six years before venturing out on his own. He's an incredibly versatile player who has cut a number of albums over the last couple of decades, often paying tribute to the figures who inspired him: Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk (check his "Alone with Three Giants" album for interpretations of those three legends). Jordan joined the trio in 2009. He has been noted for his versatility and is associate professor of jazz studies at Florida State University, where he and Roberts first met. Marsalis is the youngest of Ellis Marsalis's sons. He was a founding member of Los Hombres Calientes, but left that band to play with Roberts. RB

SATURDAY 11/9

KENNY ROGERS

8 p.m. El Dorado Municipal Auditorium. $30-$100.

Y'all, The Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers, will be coming to Arkansas this weekend, Saturday night at El Dorado Municipal Auditorium, to be all specific about it. Rogers is fresh off of releasing a new album, "You Can't Make Old Friends," and being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. And he's set to receive this week the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the CMAs. Oh, and before you start getting all snarky about the work he had done a few years ago, just know that yes, he knows. He told Anderson Cooper that "it was all for the sake of what I thought was looking better, and I'm not sure what I would look like if I hadn't done it so I'm happy." So just, you know, let's all concentrate on the music, which is the thing that will live on forever anyways, right? RB

SATURDAY 11/9-SUNDAY 11/10

'BEETHOVEN & BLUE JEANS'

8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $14-$53.

This weekend features what must be one of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's best-loved annual traditions: "Beethoven & Blue Jeans," which this year promises to be "a thoroughly Viennese affair with sounds of court, nature, and even the city's downtown clubs," according to the ASO. The Beethoven piece for this season's installment is his "Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60." Also in store will be Friedrich Gulda's "Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra." And making her debut with the ASO is renowned cellist Inbal Segev. The show will be performed again Sunday at 3 p.m. Segev will also perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clinton Presidential Center, performing Prokofiev's "String Quartet No. 1 in B minor," "Op. 50, Heitor Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1" and "George Enescu's Octet in C Major, Op. 7" with members of the Arkansas Symphony. RB

MONDAY 11/11

DAMIEN ECHOLS AND LORRI DAVIS

7:30 p.m. UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall. Free.

Ever had that nightmare where you're accused of a murder you didn't commit and sentenced to prison after a spectacular, Kafkaesque show-trial so biased that calling it a kangaroo court might be an insult to actual kangaroos? I have that one all the time. Your correspondent's guilty conscience aside, now's your chance to come listen to the insight of a man who lived just such a nightmare for 18 years, when Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three and his wife Lorri Davis come to UCA in Conway at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 for a free public reading from Echols' 2012 memoir "Life After Death," at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall. Echols, who spent almost two decades in solitary confinement, will also teach a private class to UCA creative writing students that day as part of the school's Artist in Residence program. It will be Echols' first return to Arkansas since his release from Death Row in August 2011. Admission to the reading is free, but you must have a ticket — available from the Reynolds Box Office on the UCA campus – and there's a limit of two tickets per person. As of Monday of this week, a very limited number of tickets for the reading were still available, but we hear they're going fast so you might want to call soon. Tickets may be ordered in advance by calling 501-450-3265 or 866-810-0012. A note before you go: all audience members will be scanned with a metal detector before entry, and no bags, backpacks, purses or video recording by audience members will be allowed inside the hall. DK

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