SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR
7:30 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $10-$25.
The Grammy Award-winning, 24-member Soweto Gospel Choir will find its way to Fayetteville this week in a stop on its 2014 American tour. In recent years, Soweto, an area of Johannesburg, has gotten recognition as a fairly forward-thinking music scene, one of the sources of dance genres like Kwaito. This will be nothing like that. This tour, the choir says, is a tribute to Nelson Mandela, at whose 46664 Concert it memorably performed in 2003 along with U2 and Beyonce. Also note that it collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to “WALL-E.”
10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
Thomas Pynchon has argued that “recluse” is a journalism code word meaning “doesn’t like to talk to reporters.” In the same way, I think “enigmatic,” as applied to young musicians nowadays, mostly just means “doesn’t offer easily Google-searchable biographical details.” J Fernandez is from Chicago, and that’s the only factual thing I can tell you about him off-hand, but he makes soft, mellow, imaginative pop in the tradition of R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink, and that should be enough. An Internet source says he is an enigma, but I’ll bet he’s just shy. His video for “No Luck” is a collage of old game show clips that is sad and touching. He will share the bill with Little Rock’s Sea Nanners.
7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.
If it’s true that there are no real anti-war movies, that even films that attempt to protest war end up making it look compelling just by photographing it, then how do you explain “Stripes”? Ivan Reitman’s 1981 comedy finds Bill Murray and Harold Ramis joining the Army essentially out of boredom, an idea that seems even more hilarious and subversive in hindsight. Bill Murray is beautiful here — when his girlfriend is leaving him at the beginning, he tells her, “You can’t go, all the plants are gonna die.” His co-star Ramis passed away last week, the motivation for the Little Rock Film Festival’s screening. Judge Reinhold, who made his feature-acting debut in the film, will give a Q&A afterwards.
8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $29-$49.
In her feature for the Oxford American’s Tennessee Music issue last year, Rosanne Cash wrote briefly about living in Nashville in the late 1980s. She remembers tour buses regularly stopping in front of their house and pointing out her big black fence, which the tour guides attributed to her father, the Man in Black, who they’d say bought it for her to thank her for recording one his songs. Nothing about this was true. The fence wasn’t even black, it was green. It would be hard to have a famous parent. That story is probably one of her more innocuous illustrations of this truth, but it stuck with me, maybe because it’s such a strange and specific thing for a tour guide to make up. Didn’t they notice the fence wasn’t black?
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Adam Faucett’s voice has powerful and unexpected dimensions. This isn’t an issue of volume, it’s about pitch and strength and resonance, if that makes any sense. I’ve seen him play in front of crowds having a hundred different conversations, completely indifferent to the stage, and yet his voice is still the only thing anybody can focus on. Also there is the matter of his beard. It suggests some “Jeremiah Johnson”-like past life filled with tragedy and mountains. Faucett has a new album now, he’s reemerged with it, and he will celebrate its release at White Water. Note: He’ll also be performing at South on Main the following Wednesday, March 12, 7:30 p.m., as part of the restaurant’s Local Live series.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $49.
Country singer Billy Currington was raised in Savannah, Ga., where I spent a lot of time growing up. Because he is from Savannah and seems likeable, and because you could make the argument that his song “People Are Crazy” is one of the best pop-country singles of the past five years, it was especially surprising to see Currington in the news last year being indicted for “terroristic threats.” I never quite understood what happened, so I looked it up: Apparently, he yelled at a 70-year-old boat captain. Another one of my favorite Billy Currington songs is “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer.” “I’m not the type to work in a bank,” he sings. “I’m no good at slappin’ on paint. Don’t have a knack for makin’ motors crank, no. But I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer.”
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
“I’m living in a strange cloud,” sings Jesse Aycock on his new album, “Flowers & Wounds,” and I can only assume he is referring here to Tulsa, Okla., his hometown. From afar the city has always seemed to be onto something, like Austin without the arrogance, and Aycock has embraced the place and its history, nodding heavily in his music (and promotional materials) to the icons and innovators of the 1970s “Tulsa Sound,” like J.J. Cale and Leon Russell. He plays cosmic ballads and upbeat county rock, with lots of tambourines and a fragile alto singing voice. Saturday’s show is to celebrate his album release, and after that he’ll head out on tour as part of the backing band of The Secret Sisters, the Muscle Shoals-based duo whose T. Bone Burnett-produced album is due in April.
SATURDAY 3/8 – SUNDAY 3/9
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ”THE WIZARD OF OZ”
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $18-$58.
Say what you will about Millennials, but we have better things to do than sit around scratching our heads trying to sync up “The Wizard of Oz” with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Those sorts of tired, hippie antics are now blissfully behind us, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will celebrate this fact over the weekend with two back-to-back performances of the actual, original, no-frills score to “The Wizard of Oz” alongside a screening of the film, which, incidentally, is always worth seeing on its own merits. Salman Rushdie once called it “a film whose driving force is the inadequacy of adults, even of good adults,” and so I would hope that the audience at these things skews younger. Pink Floyd fans will be booted and shamed. The ASO reprises the concert at 3 p.m. Sunday; same place and price.
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $17.50-$97.50.
In the early 20th century, the McMahon brothers, Jess and Edward, managed casinos, boxers and African-American baseball teams, like the New York Lincoln Giants, based in Harlem. On the side, Jess promoted wrestling matches in Coney Island and Brooklyn, and went on to found the Capitol Wrestling Corp. with Toots Mondt. Jess’s son, Vince Sr., stayed in the family business, booking fights at Madison Square Garden and bringing wrestling into the television era. In 1982 he sold his company, by then called WWF, to his son, Vince, who would later, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, acknowledge, “Had my father known what I was going to do, he never would have sold his stock to me.” There followed World Wrestling’s golden era, the days of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura and others. Leagues have come and gone since then, but the WWE and Vince McMahon remain. This is America.