MESSTIVAL AFTER DARK
6-9 p.m. Museum of Discovery. $10 (Free for Members).
Alert all parties: There’s going to be a giant Slip ‘N Slide. On the event description page for “Messtival After Dark” — the Museum of Discovery’s second annual 21-plus extravaganza of messy indulgence — the world “EXPLOSIONS” is capitalized. But c’mon! SLIP ‘N SLIDE! For cheap, on Thursday night, you can get dirty with adult fun — and nothing about that sentence is R-rated, because I’m talking about the museum’s promise of “making slimy, foamy and muddy messes.” After you get grimy, don’t worry, there’s a human car wash, too. Plus, pizza from Damgoode Pies and beer from Stone’s Throw Brewing. There are few opportunities to have this kind of fun. Have you seen the smile of a child recently? A lot of you think it’s because they’re cute kids that they smile like that. No. It’s because they’ve recently been on a Slip ‘N Slide and know how true joy feels. Regain your child smile Thursday. JR
8:30 p.m. Kings Live Music, Conway. $5.
To hear Couch Jackets live is to witness four young men bouncing up and down for 25 minutes straight, and to know what it feels like when your face hurts from smiling. It’s sunshine music to the fullest, with mid-song fever-dream vignettes, and their latest — “O Opossum, My Opossum” — is a perfect baptism into the Conway musicians’ stoner universe. Escapism hasn’t sounded this chaste since Shonen Knife; it’s beachside football and three-day chin stubble and a lip-sync cameo from Buzz Lightyear and directives like “Relieve the strain/Have noodles carried out/Chopped on ur day-view/Personal piece of mouth.” Bonus: The fellas are super sportsmanlike about supporting their local musicmaking peers; head to the band’s Facebook page for a link to Brennan Leeds’ “Arkansas Bangers” playlist on Spotify. SS
9 p.m. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack. $15.
What is rock music nowadays? Look at Speedy Ortiz. The new Speedy Ortiz album was going to come out in 2016, and it was going to be about love, and then lead singer Sadie Dupuis threw it away because of the election. “The songs on the album that were strictly personal or lovey dovey just didn’t mean anything to me anymore,” she said in a press release that came with the new album — “Twerp Verse” — which is decidedly not personal: in sound, in themes, in approach. Instead, in Speedy Ortiz’s third effort, the Massachusetts band bangs on more synths than ever before, soars over their pop-friendliest hooks, and Dupuis asks the maladroit world, “You siphoned out the feeling / Can’t you act responsibly?” Big ideas, big sound — anyone can connect with this. No more the early Liz Phair bedroom lo-fi for Speedy Ortiz. In a zeitgeist-infused music video for the single “Lucky 88” (directed by a wonderful movie reviewer, Emily Yoshida), everyone gets turned into slime as consumerism masquerades as convenience — Dupuis orders any desire via an app on her phone. Oddly, political rock has, of late, leaned into pop and electronic and hip-hop. In a fractured world where politicians no longer swoon about our commonality, political music has taken on the role of uniting. Speedy Ortiz’s new work is a crowd pleaser. There’s plenty of angst, still, but there’s also a maturity now, added with a sense that the world’s become so ridiculous it’s funny-but-not-even-funny. Nihilism mixes with a need to act. “I don’t care anymore,” Dupuis swings, and fights backs sarcastically a moment later, “Swear I don’t care anymore.” Here comes that mountain of a pop guitar riff — can’t we at least all agree it rocks? JR
BONNIE MONTGOMERY, DOT
9 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Here’s to a time not far in the future when a stellar Friday night bill of bands consists entirely of women and nobody thinks twice about it. For now, though, shows like this one at the White Water Tavern still represent a series of small triumphs in a music industry inching slowly toward actualized gender equality, and it’s a hell of a lineup. To pregame, check out Bonnie Montgomery’s latest, “Forever,” a concept album swirling with jailbird flirtations (“Going Out Tonight,” in country music’s grand tradition of equivocal song titles that land as punchlines) and Tuscan violin ornaments, tied together by Montgomery’s pure delivery and affinity for clean melodies. Then, flip the switch and cue up the video for DOT’s “I Like You,” from a Capitol View Studio concert in support of DOT-adjacent project Trust Tree Programs, a blossoming arts and leadership summit for girls to “find and fine tune their creative voices with the guidance of uniquely experienced female mentors, facilitators, and guest artists.” Grace Stormont, a Mountain View-based banjoist and guitarist with a gorgeously deep-seated voice and a penchant for championing Ozark pioneers like Almeda Riddle, also shares the stage. SS
FRIDAY 6/1-SATURDAY 6/2
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNING OF THE TUBS
6 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m. Sat. Hill Wheatley Plaza. Free.
You know the drill: There’s a madcap event up in Hot Springs this weekend and you should go because it’s going to be good ol’ gaudy fun. On Saturday morning, teams will compete to race bathtubs filled with water and decorated around themes (fire department, police department, hardware store) down Bathhouse Row. Crowds will dress as if they’re entering the shower — in a 1950s movie, maybe, with full regalia of robes and shower caps. Kids will bring squirt guns and spray the racers. And this will be the 13th year of Stueart Pennington’s World Championship Running of the Tubs. You can dip in and out for events as you please. Things kick off Friday evening with The Judging of the Tubs at Hill Wheatley Plaza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The next morning, at 9 a.m., the tubs are off. Awards are presented at 11 a.m. Then, there’s an after-party with some of Arkansas’s best musicians — Dazz & Brie at 2 p.m., Couch Jackets at 4 p.m. and Brooklyn’s Shilpa Ray at 6 p.m., among others. Go online and catch a blurry video of the first bathtub race from 2006. There, you can get advice from some stranger who watched the inaugural race: “These guys won because they got a bunch of big guys.” JR
10 a.m. Benny Craig Park, 4610 Gum Springs Road, Little Rock. Free.
First things first: It’s pronounced “fush.” And it’s the gigantic watershed that holds and filters much of Little Rock’s runoff water, filtering it along the way. It’s also a huge bottomland ecosystem, home to migratory birds, 300-year-old bald cypress trees and around 50 different kinds of fish. Or maybe even more! We’ll know after this event, at which the results of a “Bioblitz” biological survey of the Fourche will be revealed. Friends of Fourche Creek and Audubon Arkansas will be giving guided canoe floats, there will be gear provided for those who want to fish from the Fourche’s banks, face painting, eats from Corky’s Ribs & BBQ (11:30 a.m.), a bike rodeo and live music from the William Staggers Trio. Bring a folding chair or a picnic blanket and get to know your local swamp. SS
OPEN STUDIOS LITTLE ROCK
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Various galleries and workspaces. Free.
It’s one thing to see an artist’s work on a gallery wall, and quite another to see it in the space where it was created – contextualized by the creator’s other pieces, their tools of choice and the environment they’ve set for making their work. This event from the Little Rock Arts + Culture Commission gives local artists a chance to show off their studios along with their art as a sort of “open house” for makers. Head to the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art (401 President Clinton Ave.) for a roadmap of studios open for visits and plan your (self-guided) route from there. SS
AN EVENING WITH BUCKETHEAD
8:30 p.m. Rev Room. $20-$25.
He’s here — Brian Patrick Carroll, the creator of 300-plus studio albums, the one-time lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses, the perpetual wearer of a Michael Myers-style mask with a KFC bucket as a hat and the guy who Ozzy said plays “like a motherfucker.” Ever eccentric, always virtuosic, Carroll gave a lengthy, candid interview to a podcast called “Coming Alive” last October in which the typically shy musician discussed his technique in terms of an “intense” last decade — the deaths of both his parents, how the costume allows him to be more self-expressive, his recent diagnosis with heart arrhythmia and a revelation born of spotting a shooting star and reading a book called “Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain and Move with Confidence.” SS
8 p.m. Capitol View Studio. $21.
By some enigmatic formula based on any given era’s distance from another era, the ’90s are kicky again, and that means that a whole slew of bands whose heyday peaked just before the turn of the century have spots on retrospective U.S. tours with names like “I Love the 90s!” Unsurprisingly — to anyone who knows their ethos, at least — Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies have taken a different path. When we spoke with Stringfellow in 2016, he and Auer had just christened Capitol View Studio — then a brand-new concert space and recording studio — with a show. It was part of a series of performances in small or unusual venues, intended to let fans experience the music without Miller Genuine Draft neon signs or Monday Night Football being shown on the flatscreen by the stage, as Stringfellow put it in our interview. “We found that we would like to create conditions where there’s no other information other than the show — an aesthetic that we choose to present, and the audience’s reception to that; there’s no distraction from the emotional content that we’re pushing.” This year, marking the 30th anniversary of the band’s inception, Auer and Stringfellow are back on tour in advance of the re-release of a handful of Posies essentials as CDs and as LPs: “Frosting on the Beater,” “Amazing Disgrace” and “Dear 23.” They’ll play at Capitol View Studio again as part of that celebration, with Canadian songwriter/powerhouse/your new favorite Gibson shredder Terra Lightfoot, along for the ride. SS
6 p.m. CALS Ron Robinson Theater.
As long as class conflict exists (so, forever?), we’ll probably glean new meaning from Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent stunner “Metropolis.” With an oppressed proletariat underworld “City of Workers” and a shiny industrialized 1-percenter’s reign at its core, it’s served as a point of departure for public discourse about the perils of mechanization and the inevitable dangers of disproportionate distribution of wealth, with an immediacy and symbolism that’s far outlived its circa-1920s German context. What’s more, the lack of dialogue means that those themes are rendered through expression, imagery and remarkable dystopia-meets-Busby Berkeley spectacle, having inspired not only filmmakers, but legions of musicians – Janelle Monae, Madonna, Lady Gaga and St. Vincent, most transparently. “Metropolis” was a harbinger of sci-fi effects to come; a visual masterpiece that involved a cast of around 30,000 extras, exceeded its budget by three and a half times; and, in a feat of pure irony, catalyzed the invention of analog special effects that CGI would later copy. It’s screening next week at CALS Ron Robinson Theater, a fitting choice for the big screen and guaranteed to be more genuinely chilling than any of its horror staple companions on CALS’ “Terror Tuesday” series. SS