Arkansas Times readers’ choice for best DJ
I’m not sure of the exact year, but my best guess is that this occurred during the summer of 1989: I attended a rap concert at Barton Coliseum featuring Steady B, Kid ‘n Play, Too Short and Sir Mix-A-lot (1) as headliner. His biggest song at this point was “Posse on Broadway.” Only the oldest of hip-hop heads will remember Steady B. He was first up to play and had a hell of a performance, but the major thing that stood out was his DJ. DJ Tat Money from Philadelphia broke into a routine of Rob Base’s “It Takes Two” that was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I thought for sure the night was only going to get crazier as the DJs for the other acts took the stage. Unfortunately none of the other groups had a DJ. Perhaps a smart move since Tat Money had been crowned the New Music Seminar DJ Battle Champion that same year.
Amasa Hines, Velvet Kente
Steel Pulse (2) at Revolution some years back. It’s surreal the way they replicated the studio versions of their songs. Blood Feathers at White Water. Made me seriously re-evaluate my live performance. Before seeing them I focused way too much on restraint and not enough on execution and release.
I also might have teared up a bit seeing Van Hunt at Stickyz in 2011. He’s been a longtime inspiration for a multitude of reasons.
Big John Miller Band, Arkansas Sounds Music Festival coordinator
In the early ’80s, I saw CeDell Davis (3) at a Juneteenth celebration downtown on the river. Seeing a guy in a wheelchair wedge a butter knife in his polio stricken hands and use it as a slide so he could play the guitar affected me profoundly. This was the real deal. Happy, sad, lonely and lovely — this was the blues. While his technical prowess wasn’t exactly the best, he more than made up for that with his grit, spit and passion for getting his point across. Even as a young boy, the blues seeped deep into my soul that day. And thanks to that concert, CeDell helped put me on my lifetime musical journey.
Last summer, The Geto Boys, with all the original members, played Discovery. Bushwick Bill was wearing a camouflage Razorback ball cap and a Yoda backpack. They faked him having an attack and death in the middle of the show. The show started at 3 a.m. Others: The Ramones at Asher and University (Midnight Rodeo?). The Rolling Stones at War Memorial. Violent Femmes (4) at Riverfest. Uncle Tupelo at Juanita’s. American Music Club at Sticky Fingerz. Alex Chilton at Juanita’s.
Solo rapper, Ear Fear
I remember the Tech 9 (5) show at The Village in 2009. He had the stage set up like a scene from “Mad Max” with tombstones and macabre chuppahs. He was energetic and incorporated some aggressive choreography. I’m still trying to put on a show as good as that one.
Futuro Boots, Midwest Caravan
I moved to Little Rock in 2005, and I have been to Riverfest every single year since then. My favorite memory is of climbing over and through a sea of middle-aged women waiting to see LL Cool J to get on the front barricade for Soul Asylum. I remember catching the eyes of the few other diehard fans that were singing along to every word, those who had also braved the hordes of horny women. As soon as they hit their last note, I was immediately tossed aside as rabid females positioned themselves for a better view of the shirtless James Smith. A few years later, I was part of a small crowd once again singing along to every Soul Asylum song at Revolution. Despite the small crowd, Dave Pirner (6) still threw his ripped-jean-clad form all over the stage as if “Runaway Train” was still the biggest video on MTV.
Founder of Localist
I was at Barton Coliseum for Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2000. I got thirsty during Foo Fighters and headed to the concession for a drink. I was in line and looked up and saw Dave Grohl (7) come running by playing guitar. A crowd followed as he made his way back into the stadium and back on to stage. He never missed a lick.
Founder of record label Psych of the South
On Friday, Nov. 5, 1999, the Butler Center put together a free concert in River Market dedicated to 1960s garage bands from Little Rock. It centered around MY records that once operated on West Markham. I was in local bands in the ’90s, and this show gave me some perspective and piqued my interest in the local scene of the past. The Culls and the Coachmen reunited after 30 years and played great sets. Years later I started a record label, Psych of the South, to explore the local ’60s music scene in depth. This show set that into motion.
The Salty Dogs, Big Silver
The Del McCoury band at Juanita’s in 2002. It was my first time to see the band and they sounded great. They were the ones that brought back the one microphone thing. I remember after the first couple tunes, Del told [sound man] Dave Barnett, “Dave if you hear a humming in the microphone, it’s probably that little Kubota motor on the bus.”
Chris “CT” Terry
Iron Tongue, Rwake
In April of 1991, I was 16 and in the 10th grade. The cock rock band Slaughter was scheduled to play Barton Coliseum. The show was billed Poison with Slaughter opening up. Poison was just been to Barton with Warrant a few months earlier. I don’t know what happened, but Poison canceled just a week before the show. Slaughter announced that they would still be playing, and they would hold a contest on Magic 105 to pick a local band to open. People called in and voted and it came down to Living Sacrifice and Onyx. I was holding onto every hope it would be Onyx. They were my favorite local band. My parents wouldn’t allow me to go to local shows, but I had accumulated their demos and listened to them religiously. They were sort of the Arkansas version of Skid Row and Megadeth. Cock rock and edgy with just enough thrashy hooks to set them apart from the straight up cock rock bands. I remember sitting by the radio when Carol Kramer announced Onyx had won!
My grades were complete shit, which would usually keep me from attending any concert. My mother made an exception only because Onyx won the contest. The guitarist Tim Reed was from Sherwood and, like me, attended Sylvan Hills, so that was bonus points for my mom. The day of the concert, I remember Tim coming to school with his brand new Marshall full stack he bought just for the show.
Slaughter was in town for two days before the concert and a friend of mine ran into their tour manager at Camelot records in McCain Mall, and he gave us backstage passes. I truly loved Slaughter at the time. Their album had been out for a while, enough for four singles, and a single from the “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” soundtrack, so they had the clout to headline in my eyes.
Onyx was truly unforgettable. I had never seen them before, and it meant so much to see them like this and represent. I was on the front row the entire time they played. I remember them playing my two favorite songs — “Shot to the Head” and “Midnight Caller.” They closed with “Midnight Caller,” and I remember thinking right before they had played it that they would not play it, cause I guess it was just too good and hard to play. Plus, it was kind of dark and slower. Knowing they picked it to close with felt like they were reading my mind.
The second band was from Doxy from Tulsa. I had no clue how they got on the bill, but I didn’t care, it just blew my mind I was being introduced to a band I had never heard before. I rarely got out of the house so my spectrum was limited. The guitarist had this amazingly huge long haired style fro. They were excellent.
Slaughter opened with “Eye to Eye,” and just continued on with a very solid hard rock show. They played nearly every song off their “Stick It to Ya” album, plus the “Bill and Ted” single for “Shout It Out”, and a cover of “Lick It Up” from KISS, and gave a speech about how awesome KISS was for taking them out on their first tour.
After the show, I waited around a bit to meet the band. Mark Slaughter was a huge influence on me. The drummer Blas came in first, then the lead guitarist Tim, then Dana the bassist, and Mark last. I remember talking to Dana Strum for so long. He told a story about how this kid had called them out in some town at a meet and greet about not being a real band and how they wouldn’t cut it in a real club, they told the kid to give them his address to his band’s jam room, that they would play in their jam room on their amps, and they could only invite enough friends to fill the room, and about how the news came and how the kids band played first and they all had a blast. He went on to tie it in with why they chose Doxy and allowed Onyx to open the show. My mind was just blown that he talked to me for so long. I remember turning around to walk away and I felt a hand on my shoulder, I turned back around and it was him still, he looked me in the eyes and said, “Man, I just wanted to say thank you for coming to show, it really means a lot.” I can’t even remember what I said back, but I am sure it was something like “Dude! Thank you.”