ARKANSAS TRAVELERS HOME OPENER
7:10 p.m., Dickey Stephens Park. $6-$10.
With Thursday comes the answer to the eternal summer weekday question: “What do you want to do tonight?” Head to the Travs! There's little not to love about springtime baseball, whether or not you give two shakes of your bat about Travs ball or not. You get cheap beer, pretty good hot dogs, fresh air and sunset in an award-winning ballpark for $10, tops. For those who steer as clear of that rowdy beer garden as possible and, you know, enjoy watching the game, keep your eyes on the guys with the hugely appropriate initials of A.R.: Andrew Romine and Alberto Rosario. Even though being four games into the season makes numbers pretty goofy, the fact that they're leading the Travs in batting average by .130 is promising of a few fence fliers to come.
YOUTH ROCK ORCHESTRA / MARK WOOD EXPERIENCE
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $25.
How's this for a neat school recital: 100 students from Mills and Conway High on strings, brass and drums playing covers from Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Apocalyptica and the like. Even neater: they do all this alongside Mark Wood, the original violinist for Trans-Siberian Orchestra and former student under Leonard Bernstein. Most kids have to play John Philip Sousa; the Youth Rock Orchestra is playing John Lennon. The orchestra was formed by Izzy's Restaurant co-owner (and former member of the Mark Wood Experience) Heather Isbell after a two-day workshop with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra member. The kids liked it so much, they decided to, well, “keep on truckin'.”
8 p.m., On the Rocks. $10 early admission.
Webbie, the young rapper that peacocks around the beat on his new single, slurring “I'm a lawn digga'” alongside Three Six Mafia, has been on the scene since the late Pimp C signed the then 16-year-old in 2001. While his success is a product of the inescapable mixtape culture, what separates the Baton Rouge rapper from the flood of the mostly indistinguishable 20-something 'Lils and Youngs leaking out of Louisiana is, well, a lot. He has no problem jumping from club-banging speaker meat straight from the mud-on-rim South (“Gimme That,” “Wipe Me Down”) to old school, minimal beat, dirty story songs that kick back to the old West coast (“Bitch”). It's unabashedly uncivilized, R-rated rap with no pretense to be found anywhere—which is why it's so listenable. Purists, be warned, though: Webbie uses those off-putting reference tracks. But judging from videos of his shows, you probably can't hear it over the crowds yelling along with the hooks, like “I'm a lawn digga'.” Wait … it's not “lawn digga?” He's gonna what to whom? Yep. That's R-rated, alright.
9 p.m., Revolution, $10 early admission.
This DJ duo, as they should, oozes “privilege” and “hedonism.” Their press photos reinforce the image, too. In each, one, always sickly pale, downs a glass of whiskey while the other, a DeNiro look-alike, sports glassy, dilated pupils under his Starter hat. Sure, the nu-rave/electrohouse subgenre may find itself cramped in a backlash because it's the electronic music du jour. But trendy or not, these guys, like Justice and The Bloody Beetroots, are a step away (in the right direction) from the effete trappings of house music, trading in the glittery, Ibiza-dusted, Moroder-biting egotism for gritty, four-on-the-floor, Throbbing Gristle-biting egotism. So yeah, it screams privilege, hedonism and shallow hipsterism, but do you really want a side of morals and humility with your electro music? Didn't think so. DJs Sleepy Genius, Roxik and Paul Grass — all familiar to the Cool Shoes crowd — open.
10 a.m. Sat., noon Sun., Wildwood Park for the Arts. $5-$10.
For the last two weeks, the state (and our noses) have been avalanched by a torrent of pollen. It's rendered every car yellow and, indirectly, filled up trashbins with Kleenex and Zyrtec boxes. With all that yellow nuisance, it can be easy to overlook that with pollen comes spring — and that's when the Natural State begins to shine. That's why Wildwood Park will spend the weekend celebrating everything floral with ‘Blooms!', its weekend outdoor flower festival, showcasing the freshly bloomed flora of the region as well as a wide selection of native azaleas. Flowers aside, the festival also offers music by local folkies Lark in the Morning and the ever-quirky tuba/accordion duo The Itinerant Locals, gardening presentations and workshops, and maypole dancing by Ballet Arkansas.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz.
Make no mistake: some of the greatest emcees ever — MF Doom, Mos Def, RZA and GZA — are stone cold nerds. Sure, they have swag by the trunkful and are cooler than anyone in the Times office will ever be, but this is still a crew of comic-book sleeving, chess-studying, gadget-crazy space cadets. Then there's MC Frontalot and nerdcore hip-hop. Sure, Doom/Viktor Vaughn/Madvillain knows his Marvel Comics, but Frontalot and his crew know CAD programming. And they're really, really popular, sporting the rare fanbase that overlaps into both Dan the Automator and Weird Al's. Furthermore, Frontalot was the subject of the 2008 entertainingly cringe-worthy documentary “Nerdcore Rising,” following his first national tour. It's Big Boi by way of “Big Bang Theory” and, according to Prince Paul, a vocal champion for nerdcore, it's “true hip-hop … what it's originally all about; that is, being yourself and talking about what you're into.” Whoremoans, a left-field rapper and collaborator with Frontalot opens alongside Brandon Patton, a decidedly indie-guitar songwriter along the lines of British nerd, Badly Drawn Boy.
WEDNESDAY, 4/ 21
SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL-STARS
9 p.m., Revolution. $15.
For the unfamiliar, here's a story for the coldest of cockles: A group of musicians fled from Sierra Leone's horrifically violent civil war, found each other in a hovel of a West African refugee camp and, in the face of such abject adversity and loss, started writing and performing some of the happiest, most optimistic music ever made. (No, seriously: ever made.) The band then found a new home in a post-K New Orleans, recording its second album with a local brass band, now playing to packed houses in America and Europe, all the while raising money for the African refugee charities that aided them years ago. It's world beat, it's African roots, it's reggae and it's a testament to resilience, hope and the power of positive thinking that makes it impossible not to be moved by their story or, for that matter, move your feet to the music.