If you're staying in Eureka Springs this weekend, I recommend checking out jazz-rock band SPiNRaD Friday night at Voulez-Vous Lounge or West Coast blues guitarist Laurie Morvan and her band Saturday night at Squid and Whale Pub's 4th annual "Beach Party," where you're all invited to wear your best and wildest beach wear (over your long johns of course) and get a little crazy for a while.
But if you can get away -- just an hour away, to Fayetteville -- I strongly urge you to do so, and here's why it's the perfect weekend to do it: Friday night the annual Waka Winter Classic brings its touring battle of the bands to George's Majestic Lounge.
Waka Winter Classic is a series of competitions held every winter all around the nation that determine which local, unsigned bands will win a spot to play at Wakarusa Music Festival -- which is a huge break for any band, but especially for smaller, unsigned bands who perhaps haven't garnered regional or national attention yet, as is usually the case with the competitors in the Classic.
The Wakarusa organizers ask for submissions throughout December, then they select five or so bands for each competition, held regionally in cities like Fayetteville, Kansas City, Little Rock, Tulsa, Springfield, and as far away as Denver and New York.
The competition is a "voting" contest: Every person who comes to see the show gets a ticket, and before you leave, you are asked to "vote" for the band you think is best by placing your ticket in that band's (closely monitored) ballot box. The Waka folks count 'em up at the end of the evening and announce the winner on the spot. It's a ton of fun, and the music is always very, very good original tunes from local artists.
This year's Waka Winter Classic in Fayetteville starts at 9 p.m. and features the following five acts:
Groovement is a six-piece, high-energy, funk-rock band that sounds like Incubus and Robert Randolph ate some Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have big harmonies, tasteful solos, and funky songs you can dance to. Featuring 2011 American Idol Hollywood contestant Alex Carr on vocals, the band is rounded out by Adam Becker (keyboards/organ/synth); Trey Burkett (guitar, vocals); Bryan Burkhart (drums, vocals); Jacob Johnson (sax, guitar, vocals); and Carlton Rinehart (bass, vocals).
Groovement has a reputation for putting on one of the most high-energy live performances around. They've been steadily building a following in the Northwest Arkansas/Northeast Oklahoma area and have been featured at some of the region's premier festivals: Yonder Mountain's Harvest Fest, Wakarusa, Tulsa's Mayfest, and the Backwoods Bash.
Groovement's debut album, "Positive Step," was released on Aug. 6, 2011. They are currently touring and writing material for the second album.
For more info or to check out their sound, visit www.groovementband.com.
SpaceCamp is a trance-fusion electronic dance band from Fayetteville whose music will appeal to fans of Disco Biscuits, Phish, Lotus, Grateful Dead and others.
Its members are John Hysell, Taylor Smith, Clayton Suttle and Tim Yarbrough. The band has been together for less than a year as far as I can gather; they would definitely be seen as the new kid on the block and perhaps the underdog in the competition, but their music fits right into the Wakarusa late-night party scene. This will be interesting.
The Flip Off Pirates, based in Fayetteville, are a well-versed heavy funk-rock-soul jamband that defies genres with an off-the-wall style of original music and poetic lyrical messages. One of the most popular party bands in Northwest Arkansas for 10 years running, the five-piece group is a must-see act anytime you can catch them in a public venue. And among their members are some stellar musicians including multi-award-winners Jeff Kearney and Matt Smith.
Revolution Butterfly is the collaboration between Fayetteville artists Joshua, Matt Cee, A.J., Jackson Gibson, Scott Hale and Evan Animator. Spoken verses fly above a dirty, blues soundscape mixed with funk and psychedelic experimentalism. Sounds pretty interesting.
The group calls themselves "Guerrilla blues soldiers of rhyme, from the deep woods and the back-country streets," and says its music is "where blues meets hip-hop on a psychedelic crossroads of funk and alternative rock."
Fayetteville-based 2012 Waka Winter Classic winner Cadillac Jackson would best be described as a funk band that taps into rock, pop, hip-hop, reggae, dance, and even bluegrass genres to create a truly unique stew.
Cadillac Jackson was formed in the summer of 2009 and played one of its first gigs at River Jam Fest in Fort Smith alongside national touring acts Big Gigantic, EOTO, Papa Mali, Papadosio, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, and others.
Cadillac Jackson cites a plethora of influences including Umphreys McGee, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots and many more for inspiring their sound. Most shows last over three hours, and feature mostly original songs, as well as a heavy dose of improvisation, and familiar mashed-up cover songs.
Following is the schedule of live music and entertainment for Eureka Springs venues this weekend:
THURSDAY, JAN. 24
* Chelsea's, 10 Mountain St., 479-253-6723: Jazz Night, 9 p.m.
* Squid and Whale, 37 Spring St., 479-253-7147: Open Mic Musical Smackdown with Bloody Buddy & Friends
FRIDAY, JAN. 25
* Berean Coffee House, 4032 E. Van Buren, 479-244-7495: Live music, 7 p.m.
* Cathouse / Pied Piper, 82 Armstrong St., 479-363-9976: Jeff Fox and Dave Renko, 8 p.m.
* Chaser's, 169 E. Van Buren, 479-253-5522: Party with Tim, Sing & Dance, 9 p.m.
* Chelsea's, 10 Mountain St., 479-253-6723: Blue Moon, 9 p.m.
* Eureka Live!, 35 N. Main St., 479-253-7020: DJ & Dancing 9 p.m. to close
* The Lumberyard, 104 E. Van Buren: DJ /Karaoke, 8 p.m.
* New Delhi Cafe, 2 N. Main St., 479-253-2525: Live music, 7 p.m.
* Rowdy Beaver Den, 45 Spring St., 479-363-6444: John Harwood, 7 p.m.
* Rowdy Beaver Tavern, 417 W. Van Buren, 479-253-8544: Ladies Night, 7 p.m.
* Squid & Whale: Strange Derangers, 9 p.m.
* Voulez-Vous Lounge, 63 Spring St., 479-363-6595: Spinrad, 9 p.m.
SATURDAY, NOV. 17
* Cathouse / Pied Piper: Jeff Fox and Dave Renko, 8 p.m.
* Chaser's: SX Rex, 9 p.m.
* Chelsea's: Earl and Them, 9 p.m.
* Jack's Place / Centerstage Live: Karaoke w/ DJ Goose, 8 p.m.
* The Lumberyard: DJ, 8 p.m.
* New Delhi Cafe: Springbilly, 6:30 p.m.
* Rowdy Beaver Den: Skillet Lickers, 7 p.m.
* Rowdy Beaver Tavern: Shane Thornton and Band, 7 p.m.
* Squid and Whale: Laurie Morvan Band, 4th Annual Beach Party, 9 p.m.
* Voulez-Vous Lounge: Spinrad, 9 p.m.
SUNDAY, NOV. 18
* Chaser's: Skillet Lickers, 7 p.m.
* Chelsea's: Chucky Waggs, 6 p.m.
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Lively Entertainment is written and complied by Managing Editor Kristal Kuykendall. Deadline for venues to submit their events for inclusion is noon Mondays. Events should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or phoned in to 479-981-9419 by noon Monday each week. Kuykendall also writes Kristal's Northwest Arkansas Live Music Blog, which includes video and song clips of band she previews each weekend, as well as additional previews and recommendations of major, not-to-be-missed live concerts throughout the region. The blog is at www.CarrollCoNews.com/blogs/livemusicinnwa.