The Fall Ball
8:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Buster's Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $20. Call (859) 368-8871.
What single evening event in Lexington could contain more spectacle than the Beaux Arts Ball?
A second Beaux Arts event might if it were staged, say, on Halloween.
On a Saturday, perhaps.
On the night we lose daylight-saving time and gain another hour of revelry.
Yep, party fortunes are in alliance this weekend as Bullhorn and the Beaux Arts Foundation debut The Fall Ball at Buster's. It's a fitting locale: The venue hosted the 2007 and 2009 Beaux Arts Balls in its previous incarnation as Old Tarr Distillery.
This "halfway to the Beaux Arts Ball" ball is designed as a somewhat smaller event than the springtime bash, but there will a veritable army of performers, led by Philadelphia's Man Man.
A heralded performance troupe among indie-pop fans, Man Man is sort of a modern realization of Oingo Boingo but with less emphasis on brass and operatic vocals. Melodies are bright but maddening, tempos are car-chase speed, and the singing sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and Yosemite Sam. Oh, and the abundance of mallet percussion and synths gives everything a Frank Zappa-like circus air.
All of those ingredients boil over on Man Man's 2008 album Rabbit Habbits.
Of course, Man Man is merely the headliner. The Fall Ball also will feature The Hood Internet, Dinosaurs and Disasters, The Ford Theatre Reunion, The Seedy Seeds and The March Madness Marching Band. Of course, if the event even closely resembles the Beaux Arts Ball, there will more pageantry in the crowd than onstage.
Erin all around
Erin McKeown has been making wonderfully animated — almost cartoonlike — albums for a decade. That's not to say she doesn't like to get her hands dirty occasionally. On 28, one the more stirring tunes from her new Hundreds of Lions album, she paints a weathered portrait of fleeting youth. "You never know what you miss 'til you have it," she sings against chiming keyboards. "You never know what you miss 'til you've had it." But chances are McKeown's alert ways with pop melodies and the arresting colors of strings and winds with which she paints them will grab you as quickly as the deeper poetics of her lyrics.
Either way, you have numerous opportunities to sample McKeown's sublime folk/pop cabaret music this weekend as she all but sets up camp in Kentucky. She will play Friday at Jim Porter's, 2345 Lexington Road, Louisville (7 p.m., $10). On Sunday, she will head to Al's Bar, Sixth and North Limestone (9 p.m., $4). McKeown ends with a Monday on-air performance at WUKY-FM 91.3 (scheduled for about 12:15 p.m.) and a set that night for WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main, which will include country music veteran Billy Dean (7 p.m., $10).
Call (502) 452-9531 for info on the Louisville concert, (859) 309-2901 for the Al's outing and (859) 252-8888 for WoodSongs reservations.
Texas in the Bluegrass
Just a reminder: longtime Lone Star songwriting pals Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen are bringing a taste of Texas to Central Kentucky during the next week. Lovett and his Large Band perform Friday at the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College in Danville (8:30 p.m.; $60-$125), and Keen headlines a Thursday bill at the Opera House that also features Todd Snider and Bruce Robison (7 p.m.; $22.50, $32.50).
In Sunday's Arts + Life, Keen discusses his brand of Texas song wrangling with some help from his buddy Lyle.
For information about Lovett's performance, call 1-877-448-7469. For the Keen concert, call (859) 233-3535 or Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.