The weekend before Derby offers much in the way of entertainment, from edgy comedy, to indie rock, to Michael Jackson-themed acrobatics. Here are five picks for your weekend pleasure …

Alex Reymundo
w/ Caleb Synan
The Laughing Derby
Friday and Saturday, April 25-26

7:45 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Tickets $20

Smart and edgy, comic Alex Reymundo plays the Laughing Derby this weekend. Born in Acapulco, raised in Texas, Reymundo now calls Kentucky home. He toured with Ron White and the Blue Collars Tour (the token Mexican?), has two Showtime and Comedy Central specials, and has acted in movies including voice-overs for “Cars.” His comedy themes range from taking comedic shots at his own background, to taking shots at the South. This is his only show in our region for the summer as he heads west and southwest. He’s joined by Caleb Synan, a comic who headlines in his own right. A perfect duo for a night out.

w/ Twin Sister Radio

Friday, April 25
Doors 8 p.m./Show 9 p.m.
Tickets $10

Detroit band Tyvek came together in 2012 when the founding members were fed up with the garage band sound of the day. They pulled together a band that maintains the ’90s northwestern garage band feel with challenging lyrics and a more carefree punk feel.

Dreamland, one of the most innovative and eclectic music venues in Louisville, brings this excellent band to the city Friday night. They are joined by Louisville’s new wave sounds of Twin Sister Radio, who performed at last year’s Cropped Out and features brilliant songs like “Atheists Anthem.”

w/ The Hungry Ears and The Rough Customers

Third Street Dive
Friday, April 25
Show 10 p.m.
$5 Door

Are you going to rock with a ukulele? Why, yes you are. Then you get my vote for pick of the weekend. Also, because of the other two bands playing with you, that makes this a perfect Friday night. All three bands are regional. Mananabango are four excellent musicians with lead vocals (who is also the lead songwriter) that will keep you up all night. They are pop/rock with a sometimes Nick Cave twist (see their track “The Verbal”). They, along with the others, hit Waddy Fest over the weekend if they survive The Dive.

The Hungry Ears are the band to show up for. Bowling Green keeps putting out stellar work like Cage the Elephant, and Hungry Ears have opened for them. Hungry Ears reminds one of Billy Idol, sometimes Beastie Boys… always their own unique mix. The Rough Customers; these kids have horns, they have talent, they have strong vocals. You can’t beat this trio of bands. If you need proof that our region is producing heavy talent, watch this show. If you’re unsure of such a commitment, check out the Hungry Ears who play The Bard’s Town for a free set 6-7 p.m.

Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour: Cirque Du Soleil
KFC Yum! Center
Friday and Saturday, April 25-26
Doors 7 p.m./Show 8 p.m.
Tickets $54 to $155

If you’ve seen anything by Cirque, you know they have a near monopoly on physical stage talent. Michael Jackson was physical phenomenon. The combination of these two worlds was inevitable only lacking in that Jackson isn’t here to be himself. The Immortal World Tour opened in Canada. Reviews rave. It’s a rare performance (and it ain’t cheap, but you won’t forget it). When the tour hit Australia seven months ago, Aussie Theatre wrote, “The greatest gift of Immortal as a show, is the clear passion and respect it displays for MJ and for his music. The entire evening feels like a fantasia of art saluting its artist with joyous thanks for the melodies – and by the time the night is done, it’s impossible not to remember that Jackson was an astonishingly talented performer and his music still speaks for itself loud and clear!” It plays this weekend at the YUM! Center Friday and Saturday nights.

Kroger Fest-A-Ville Waterfront Park
Saturday, April 26
9 p.m.
Free with Pegasus Pin ($5)

No question, I loved this band. If they still put out songs like “Santa Monica” you wouldn’t get to see them for a Pegasus Pin Saturday. Art Alexakis will always have that voice you can identify; such a rare thing for bands. The Los Angeles School of Music just named Alexakis their Songwriting Program Chair. Now, Everclear play the casino and state fair circuit. Life for a band could be worse.

I haven’t heard anything new from Everclear in a while, and the band has changed face a dozen times since their pinnacle. Their last album release in 2012 (of only eight albums in three decades) “Invisible Stars” had promise. The track “Be Careful What You Ask For” (video above) and the track “Santa Ana Winds” sound like ’90s Everclear. The track “Jackie Robinson” is kinda’ brilliant, and Alexakis now looks like your local librarian (in a good way). I have my fingers crossed. Maybe I shouldn’t root for them. Still, this is the best Fest-A-Ville has to offer this pre-Derby weekend.

Jason Sitzes
Jason Sitzes is a freelance writer/editor living in Austin via Louisville, New Orleans, Knoxville and his home town of Columbus, Ind. He’s published short stories; written for many publications including, locally, LEO; travels around the nation with various writing workshops; and is addicted to college basketball.