CEDRIC BURNSIDE AND LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM
9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. $10.
Here's a not-so-bold prediction: The Juke Joint Duo is about to blow up. For most of October, the North Mississippi bluesmen are hitting the road with Lucero and Amy LaVere, with stops in Nashville, D.C., Philly and New York. Some of those cities might be familiar to the duo, but not the size of the venues. Whatever happens, please, God, don't let them outgrow White Water Tavern. Their Hill Country blues — that raw and rhythmic sound of North Mississippi — always transforms the tavern into the best party ever, where everyone sweats and dances and the music seems to go on forever. It must feel familiar to the two, who grew up in and around the blues and juke joints. Both also lived, for a time, with Cedric's grandfather, the late great R.L. Burnside, and Cedric spent years on the road playing drums with him, too. But don't mistake this for a touch-of-greatness-through-association. Ced and Malcolm kill it all by themselves, and it's always a sight to behold. LM.
RANDY ROGERS BAND
9 p.m., Revolution. $15 adv., $18 d.o.s.
Everything's coming together for the Randy Rogers Band. Its last album, the self-titled “Randy Rogers Band,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard country charts, and Playboy called it the country album of the year. Earlier this year, the band was nominated for “Best Vocal Group” by the Academy of Country Music, and it recently performed on both Leno and Letterman. All this from a band that, despite its spot on a major label and work with famed Nashville producer Radney Foster, seems to have a lot invested in existing outside of the Music City norm.
Like the best country songs, Rogers' fall somewhere between raucous drinkin' anthems and gentler ruminations on heartache and everyday pain. The band seems to be, above all else, pushing grit — the antithesis of countrypolitan Nashville — as the tie that binds its material. It doesn't hurt matters that lead singer Rogers sounds an awful lot like Steve Earle. After six years of hard touring — like 200-plus dates a year hard touring — including a number of stops in Little Rock, the band's developed a reputation as a can't-miss live act, and this, club owner Chris King says, is the last time you can't miss them this year. Whiskey Myers opens. LM.
IDIOTS / DRAGOON
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
Towncraft-era Little Rockers, take note. Alumni from two heavyweights from those days — Trusty (local punk royalty) and Techno-Squid Eats Parliament (cheeky pop-rockers) — have new, or at least new-ish, projects. Debuting live on Friday, the Dangerous Idiots brings together TSEP veterans Aaron Sarlo (lead vocals, guitar) and Shayne Gray (drums) with Trusty's Paul Bowling (bass and vocals), who more recently played in Il Libretina. If all their songs are as good as “Less for You,” a strange and sinister pop burner they had up on MySpace earlier in the week, this is going to be a band people talk about. From Memphis, Dragoon features Little Rock's Bobby Matthews, late of Trusty, and Stanley Gallimore and Tripp Lamkins, late of the Grifters, the Memphis-based lo-fi heroes of the early '90s. The trio feeds off dissonance and weird time signatures, but without forsaking melody and the blues scale. Matthews' sweet, but off-kilter vocals often help anchor the madness. It's affecting stuff. Look for the old heads bobbing along, happily. LM.
KC AND THE
5 p.m. gates, Riverfest Amphitheatre. $10-$25.
Formed in Miami in 1973 by Harry Wayne Kasey, this legendary disco, funk and R&B force refuses to fade into obscurity. And for good reason. Igniting dance floors and skating rinks with “That's the Way (I Like It),” “Shake Your Booty,” “I'm Your Boogie Man,” and “Get Down Tonight,” KC and crew reigned supreme for more than a decade with multi-platinum records, intercontinental tours and household recognition. After calling it a day in 1984, the band reemerged 10 years later along thanks to a resurgence in disco (the “Boogie Nights” push maybe?). With portions of sales benefiting Safe Places, this cross-generational bill also features Boom Kinetic, formerly known as Molten Lava, along with Relic and the Meanies. With lawn space going for an incredibly low $10, reserved seats for $15 and general admission dance pit tickets for only $25, this show should get everyone in the mood for the Hogs' season opener. Ticket information is available by visiting www.musicintheparklr.com. PP.
2 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $20-$25.
Kick up your boots, country music fans, there's a big party down by the river. Boot Fest, a benefit for the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, a bronze sculpture destined for the state Capitol grounds, brings together Luke Bryan and a host of other emerging country stars. Bryan, a farm-raised Georgian with a new traditionalist bent, comes to town a month before he releases his sophomore album, “Doin' My Thing.” In addition to bona fide hits like “All My Friends” and “Country Man” (both from his debut), look for the crowd to sing along to the new single “Do I,” a slow burner that's bound to have folks squeezing a hand in their partner's back jeans' pocket. Riverbilly (7:15 p.m.) is a local five-piece that specializes in slick, rock-influenced country. Iraq war vet and Arkansas native Cliff Hudson (6 p.m.) writes straightforward songs of love and roots that range in tone from traditional country to Southern rock. Sixteen-year-old performer Meagan White (5:15), from Northwest Arkansas, has played everywhere from county fairs to nursing homes. Chad Van Rys (4:30 p.m.), Gwendlyn Bradley (3:45 p.m.) and Kyla Horton (3 p.m.) also perform. Kids under 10 get in for free. LM.
SUNSET JAZZ CRUISE: EVOLUTION OF HORNS
8 p.m., Arkansas Queen Riverboat. $22-$44.
Having recently disembarked from one of these, I can say, without reservation, that booze and band cruises on the Arkansas Queen are the jam. There's top-deck sightseeing, a big seating area and bar on the second floor and enough room for getting down in the ballroom. This week, there's even a start time that grown folks should be able to manage. Those horns of the title come courtesy of Rodney Block and J. White, perhaps the two finest players in Central Arkansas. Block, a trumpet player, and White, a saxophonist, mix covers and originals in the ballroom with Block's typical backing unit, the Real Music Lovers, playing in support. On the boat's other levels, Velvet Kente's joshua offers impassioned acoustic soul and DJ Swift spins dance tunes. Tickets may only be available in advance. Call 372-5777, 442-0649 or 870-413-9699 to purchase tickets or for more information. LM.
REGGAE ON THE RIVER
10 p.m., Ernie Biggs. $10.
After big success with Frankie Beverly and Maze, Chris Bowen, impresario of Onestone Productions, returns with another “grown and sexy joint.” He's going back to his roots. When the Jamaica native first arrived in Little Rock, he hosted reggae parties on Sunday nights. This time around, he's pulling out all the stops. Along with his Onestone Reggae Band, Bowen presents a local who's who in local reggae, soul and hip-hop: Jeron, Tawanna Campbell, Butterfly, Lydell Williams, J-One, Dell Smith, Dexter Peters and Epiphany. Plus, spoken word poetry from Bright. Jamaican DJ HY-C mans the ones and twos upstairs all night. If that's not enough, there's a free buffet of Jamaican jerk chicken and curried chicken and rice. To reserve a seat, call 779-6302. LM.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.,
Tantric is a post-grunge band from Louisville, Ky., formed by former members of Days of the New. Tantric's self-titled debut reached platinum status in 2001, largely on the strength of the single “Breakdown,” and extensive touring with Kid Rock, 3 Doors Down and Creed. The second release, “After We Go,” didn't fare as well, but maintained the band's mainstream status with the hit single “Hey Now.” With collapsing record labels, and founding member Matt Taul's imprisonment for a 2007 drug bust, the group's seen its share of uncertainty. But with the long-anticipated release of “Mind Control,” Tantric seems poised to regain its lost momentum, and maybe the addition of an electric violinist will aid in its reinvention. With songs that don't sound over-produced and themes ranging from self-empowerment to nostalgia, the radio-friendly rockers should soon stamp their name back on the map. Oklahoma City rockers Aranda and Atom Smash, from Miami, open the all-ages show. PP.