DAVID ALLAN COE
9 p.m. Electric Cowboy.
A few years ago, The Onion published a standalone with this headline: “David Allan Coe waiting outside to kick your ass.” Below was a grainy shot of Coe in his tattooed, trash-talking, long-haired redneck splendor, looking like George Clinton by way of the San Quentin beauty salon. The former inmate and Outlaw country pioneer turns 72 next week, and while it might seem logical to presume he’s not cracking too many skulls these days, why take that chance? Everybody knows Coe’s massive country hits — “Take This Job and Shove It,” “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)?” and others. But you’ve got to check out his second album, “Requiem for a Harlequin.” Country it ain’t. It’s one of the most out-there albums ever put to wax — an acid-fried, paranoia-soaked, spoken-word freak-out in two acts. Then, of course, there are the notorious “unofficial” albums — inspired by Shel Silverstein no less, and filled with ditties that could charitably be described as extremely un-PC — that were sold exclusively (where else?) in the back pages of Easyrider. All of this is to say that they just don’t make ’em like Coe anymore. And he’s playing at the Electric Cowboy for Christ’s sake. Cody McCarver opens.
MUTANTS OF THE MONSTER MUSIC FESTIVAL
6 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $8 Fri., $10 Sat. and Sun., $20 pass.
While this festival’s name is a nod to Black Oak Arkansas, most of the bands on the bill draw more from the murkiness of the almighty Black Sabbath and the fury of Black Flag than the libidinous, three-guitar chooglin’ of Jim Dandy and the boys. That said, there are sure to be some Southern-fried sounds in the mix. But the Natural State connection alone isn’t what makes it an appropriate title for this three-day shindig. It’s a great title because the folks who make up Arkansas’s thriving, diverse underground metal scene take a major cue from Dandy’s wild-eyed, not-carin’-what-the-squares-think attitude in their approach to making music. They do it for the love of music and friendship and nothing else. About half the bands playing the inaugural MotM fest are from Arkansas, including headliners Rwake and Deadbird, which will play its album “The Head and the Heart” from start to finish Friday night. This festival was organized by CT from Rwake and Samantha from Downtown Music Hall, and it will hopefully be first of many, according to CT. Friday night’s lineup includes headliner Deadbird, Junior Bruce, Snakedriver, Laser Flames on the Great Big News, Placid Eclipse and Crankbait. Saturday night is headlined by Rwake, Rebreather, Sports/Pallbearer, Demonaut, Zucura, Mailbomber, The Currents, Dead I On and Holy Angell. Sunday night is Suplecs headlining, with Seahag, Rue, Hellbender, Brother Andy, Sound of the Mountain, John Calvin, Fallen Empire and Sheeple. The Saturday and Sunday shows start at 1:30 p.m.
15TH ANNUAL HOT SPRINGS BLUES FESTIVAL
5 p.m. Hill Wheatley Plaza. $5.
Blues lovers have it pretty good here in the Natural State. With the long-running King Biscuit Blues Festival, we’ve got one of the most high-profile blues festivals anywhere, but there is no shortage of quality smaller festivals. That’s not to say that the Hot Springs Blues Festival is in any way slight. The two-day event is packed with performers both national and international, including Saturday night headliner Lee Oskar, who was a co-founder of the omnivorous, long-running funk-blues-R&B-soul-rock-reggae outfit War. In addition to being a renowned harmonica player, Oskar started Lee Oskar Harmonicas back in the early ’80s. Other performers include Salt & Pepper, Schroeter and Breitfelder, Trampled Under Foot, The Lionel Young Band, E.G. Knight, Joe Pitts Band and more. The whole shebang is bookended with performances by Stella Vees at the Ohio Club — one of the best bars in Hot Springs or, really anywhere. Vees plays Thursday night at 8 p.m. and plays the after party Saturday, which runs from 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
EN VOGUE, SWV, SILK
7 p.m. Riverfest Amphitheatre. $20-$75.
If ever there was a lineup guaranteed to be a prelude to an evening of nonstop lovemaking, this would be it. En Vogue is one of the biggest female R&B acts of all time, whose 1992 album “Funky Divas” launched the band into the pop stratosphere. “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” and “Free Your Mind” were massive hits, as was 1993’s collaboration with Salt-N-Pepa “Whatta Man.” Even if R&B wasn’t your thing, if you were born between, say, 1960 and 1980 and you grew up in America and listened to the radio, those three songs are probably permanently seared into your mental jukebox. SWV was also huge, with the band’s debut “It’s About Time” going double platinum in its first year. The Sisters With Voices had several Top 20 R&B hits, including “Right Here,” “I’m So Into You,” “Weak,” “Always on My Mind” and more. And if you can find a more getting-it-on-obsessed ’90s R&B act (whose name isn’t R. Kelly) than Silk, then I’ll buy you a cassingle of the group’s smash hit “Freak Me.”
SET THE CONTROLS
9:30 p.m. Revolution. $10.
Tribute bands tend to fall into two camps: those that aim to capture a band’s look and those that are more concerned with recreating their source’s sound. A scant few manage to do both at once. Any Pink Floyd tribute act certainly has its work cut out for it, but Ohio’s Set The Controls — formerly called Eclipse — has the chops to pull it off. Nobody’s going to mistake this six-piece for Dave and Rick and Roger and Nick, but impersonation isn’t what they’re going for. Every member plays multiple instruments and if online clips are any indication, Set The Controls is doing Pink Floyd as well or better than anybody else out there. It’s telling that the band didn’t pick the most obvious reference or song title for its name, instead going for a deep track, a long, brooding number that’s one of the post-Syd Barrett Floyd’s best. Sure, you could opt to just sit at home with the headphones and beanbag and burn one with that scratchy old “Live at Pompeii” bootleg on the turntable for the umpteenth time, but this seems like a better pick.
8 p.m. Magic Springs’ Timberwood Amphitheater. $22.50-$55.
Back in ’74 or so, a gang of Florida boys, including Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant — brother of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Van Zants — started a little boogie rock outfit called 38 Special and signed to A&M a couple years later. Those first few albums were fairly well received, but it wasn’t until 1981’s “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys,” when the band began weaving some arena-rock polish into its sound, that 38 Special started really blowing up. Like the pistol from which the band derives its name, 38 Special proved to be a classic and deadly machine. Maybe it’s been a while since you listened to “Rockin’ Into The Night” or “Rough Housin’ ” or “Hold on Loosely.” But these songs sound just as good coming through your iPod earbuds here in 2011 as they did back in high school, rattling out of the speakers of your dusty ’81 Silverado as you made out with Carla in the Sonic parking lot, the both of you lit off cheap weed and a quart of Wild Irish Rose. Well, maybe not quite that good.
8:30 p.m. Stickyz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.
With the exception of the The Faint — that irritating, albeit ahead-of-the-curve, ’80s-biting outfit — I gotta plead damn near total ignorance of that whole Omaha, Neb., Saddle Creek Records scene. Before a few minutes ago, I’d never listened to note one of Bright Eyes or Azure Ray or Son, Ambulance or Rilo Kiley or Tilly and the Wall (ugh!) or Desaparecidos or Cursive or The Good Life, the latter two featuring the prolific Tim Kasher. While Cursive had legions of adoring fans, the band was also known for its on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-a … no wait, off-again, on-again, off-again status. Kasher’s more recent outings — Cursive’s 2009 album “Mama, I’m Swollen” or his 2010 solo effort “The Game of Monogamy” — are still strident, heart-on-sleeve affairs, but aren’t nearly as tiresomely precious as much of the rest of his label peers’ work. Cursive has proven to be one of the most enduring bands of its scene and era, and the smart money says Kasher will probably pack out Stickyz. Aficionado opens the show.