LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.
Cajun music, in addition to being a treasured piece of American folk culture, is a rollicking good time, so it is fitting that the best Cajun band going wastes no time with calcified expressions of authenticity. The Lost Bayou Ramblers, from Pilette, La., are the real deal, but they aren't afraid to honor their traditions by gleefully shredding them. They dabble in punk and rockabilly and Western swing and psychedelia, without ever losing the unique sound and spirit of the music of their fathers (literally — brothers and bandleaders Louis and André Michon cut their chops playing with their dad's band, Cajun standard bearers Les Frères Michon). This adventurous spirit gets them labeled Cajun-punk, and fair enough — Louis's classic bayou wail often veers into a full-on scream, and drummer Paul Etheredge pounds out a waltz like a rhythmic assault. Really, though, I think punk is just getting used as a stand-in for fun here. This might not be what you're expecting from accordion and fiddle, but the Ramblers throw a raucous party. They have a way of converting folks to two-stepping, foot-stomping revelry with their boozy Louisiana gusto — a tradition all their own. Kevin Kerby opens. DR
'DANCING INTO DREAMLAND'
7 p.m. Dreamland Ballroom. $50.
The restoration of Ninth Street's historic Taborian Hall and its Dreamland Ballroom continues with the third annual "Dancing into Dreamland" benefit. The first two "Dancing" fundraisers took place at the Governor's Mansion, but this year, the event is marking its homecoming. Nine teams of dancers will compete for a $250 cash prize. Previous years' winners will show off their ballroom chops as well, and there will be refreshments, a cash donation bar, a silent auction and more. It'll be a good time even for the less-than-coordinated among us who have two left feet on good day. Plus, just going inside the ballroom is always a treat. Imagining the musicians who performed there during Ninth Street's heyday always gets me lost in thought. That building hosted some of the finest musicians of the 20th century. What must it have been like, to see Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, B.B. King or any of the other legends who played there? RB
9 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 day of.
Not to be too big of a jerk about it, but this writer is very proud to say that he's never watched a single moment of a single episode of the TV show "American Idol." No, not even the one where Kris Allen wound up winning, and definitely not the "Steven Tyler Pending Retirement Bankroll Humiliation Tour." The whole basis of my recent slide toward agnosticism is basically this: On what planet would a merciful God allow the guy who sang "Dream On" to survive years of drug abuse only to let him sink to a job where he's required to tell somebody his slow-jam cover of Leif Garrett's "I Was Made for Dancin' " was a little flat? Call me crazy, but I tend to boycott the hell out of any show where it's clear that Janis Joplin, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan would have been featured in the gag reel, while Donnie Osmond would have been a real contender. But that's democracy for ya. For those of you who do care about "American Idol," however, you should know that Lee DeWyze, the winner of "Idol's" ninth season, is coming to town. He's got a new album coming out this winter! Sure to be on the set list Friday: his covers of U2's "Beautiful Day," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," and several other songs I just got off of the Wikipedia page of Leon James "Lee" DeWyze, Jr. (born April 2, 1986, Mt. Prospect, Ill.). Text your non-counting vote now! DK
FRIDAY 11/9-SATURDAY 11/10
3 p.m. Faulkner County Library. Free.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go cry somewhere else about your mom throwing all your priceless comic books and baseball cards in the trash the minute you turned your back on them for that worn copy of Playboy long about the time puberty hit. Everybody's got that story. The new news is: that stuff about not being able to turn back time isn't true anymore. Ditto on what your stepbrother said about anybody who wears a Starfleet uniform in public deserving to have their ass kicked. Comic books and other geek fare are big business these days, with comic book conventions in other states drawing tens of thousands. While Arkansas can't claim one of the big Cons yet, you can come on out to ComiCon-way 2012, which kicks off this Friday at the Faulkner County Library (it opens at 10 a.m. Saturday). Featuring exhibits and events including a spaceship bridge simulator, items from one of the largest collections of Superman toys in the world, a showing of the Stan Lee documentary "With Great Power," classic arcade game tournaments, superhero mask decorating for the kiddies and much more, it's sure to be a good time. Best of all: while justice is never free, citizen, ComiCon-way is. For more information, check out comicon-way.com, then don your tights, shake the cat fur out of your cape and be there. Excelsior! DK
ASO: 'BEETHOVEN & BLUE JEANS'
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $14-$52.
The third installment of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's Masterworks series is the ever-popular "Beethoven & Blue Jeans" concert, in which symphony lovers may eschew their normal, formal attire for something a little more casual, say, a T-shirt and those perfectly broken-in vintage 501s, from back before Levis cheaped out on us. And hey, what goes better with comfy duds than delicious sausages washed down with frosty, golden beer? Well boss, the ASO is also reprising the popular Beer & Brats Street Party, in which concert ticketholders may enjoy brats and $2 Diamond Bear beers prior to taking in the music. Speaking of which, here's what's in store: Beethoven's first theatre score, "The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture." Next up is Grammy and Oscar winner Tan Dun's "Concerto for String Orchestra and Pipa," featuring pipa prodigy Wu Man. The second half of the show boasts a crowd favorite for sure, with Rimsky-Korsakov's Arabian Nights-inspired "Scheherazade." The concert (and the Beer & Brats Street Party) is reprised Sunday at 3 p.m. RB
8 p.m. Revolution. $20 adv., $25 day of.
Here's something that doesn't happen all that often. One of the living legends of reggae will be playing two shows in Arkansas this week. Obviously, when people think of the Wailers, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer are at the top of mind. But give credit where it's due: Bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett is a legend in his own right. He had a big hand in shaping the sound of one of the most vital bands in the history of pop music. He and his brother, drummer Carlton Barrett, joined the Wailers in 1970, and stayed with Marley after Tosh and Bunny left the group to pursue solo careers. As if that wasn't sufficient for cementing his legacy, Barrett had also played with dub innovator and bona fide sonic genius/madman Lee "Scratch" Perry's Upsetters. And in addition to the countless albums he performed on and/or produced, he played on what is, for my money, the greatest roots reggae album ever, Burning Spear's utterly timeless and essential "Marcus Garvey." For decades now, he's led The Wailers Band with a rotating cast of folks, many of whom also played in the '70s lineup, including his brother (who died in 1987), Earl Lindo, Tyrone Downey and others. Handling vocal duties for the band now is Koolant Brown, a charismatic singer who recently told the Miami Herald that while he knows he'll "never be Bob," it's nonetheless "a privilege and an honor to sing his songs." Opening the show is Butterfly and Irie Soul. The Wailers play at Walton Arts Center Saturday (see calendar). RB
BLESS THE MIC: EUGENE ROBINSON
7 p.m. Philander Smith College. Free.
Philander Smith College's Bless the Mic lecture series continues with a visit, one week after the election, from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and commentator Eugene Robinson. Robinson writes a twice-a-week column for the Washington Post and is, along with his colleague E.J. Dionne and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, one of the most cogent liberal voices in the country. As such, he's a frequent guest on political shows such as The Rachel Maddow Show, Hardball, Meet the Press and more. Robinson's most recent Post column concerned the entirely sensible idea of building surge barriers to protect the nation's port cities from the type of destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Of course, that type of reasonable public infrastructure investment would probably never pass muster with the mad hatters in the Tea Party. Still, it's a good thing that folks like Robinson are there to, at the very least, point out the obvious in the face of insanity. RB