.joshua and Velvet Kente. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Hundreds packed into Sticky Fingerz last night for the kickoff of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. We gave away things, spent a lot of time talking about all things equine, danced, shook tambourines, ate delicious chicken fingers and saw four bands give really inspired performances. All the acts—Frown Pow’r, Velvet Kente, Magic Hassle and Jordan Atwater—got serious crowd love. But as much as the love was spread, our judges judged and Velvet Kente came out on top.


Here’s what they had to say about they had to say about our first round winner:


“Velvet Kente grabs your attention constantly with their perfect sound and song structure. This band pulls from all genres of music. Delivers a punch! Top notch musicianship!”

Guest Judge Joey Lucas
“Gritty, passionate, soulful, believable, emotional, powerful. Joshua’s voice commands the room. Much different stylistically than I remember from another show of theirs. More refined, controlled. A band I want to see again. Joshua is charismatic, physical and supremely talented. Brilliant lead guitarist.”


    Nicole Boddington

“Wow. Red electricity. Rich with artistry and sincerity. Perfect pace—they never drag and don’t waste a second.”



“Love the drummer! Actually the whole band is nice and solid. Great vocals, super smooth grooves. Overall very slick and tight sound, but still organic.”

    Jason Tedford

“Future Showcase bands, be aware, Velvet Kente set a very high standard.”

   Jason Weinheimer

More thoughts on the first round when I get tired of laying in the sun.