Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
7 p.m. Philander Smith College. Free.
Arkansas Times readers will likely recall that back in May, there was an ugly incident in Imboden when native Bryant Huddleston (class of 1990), who had been scheduled to speak at graduation, was disinvited because some knuckledraggers in the community are homophobic (Huddleston is gay). What a shame that the kids of Sloan-Hendrix High School were prohibited from hearing a message of encouragement from one of their own (one who's been quite successful with his media career) because of bigotry. Philander Smith College is stepping in to provide Huddleston with a platform to share his experiences with his fellow Arkansans. Huddleston speaks as part of the college's Bless the Mic series.
9 p.m. Juanita's. $20.
Sometimes, for reasons that are unknown even to their creators, certain songs will just explode in popularity. One minute, a song is just a song, another in a long line of millions, and the next, it's suddenly that song, that ubiquitous-bordering-on-inescapable nugget that's all anybody's talking about. Brooklyn DJ Baauer probably never could've imagined the response he'd get from "Harlem Shake," a little "electro-trap" ditty he released back in 2012 via Diplo's Mad Decent label. Yeah, you and anybody else who got on the web or turned on a TV in the last year knows about that one, in which one person is dancing in a mask while the others are oblivious, then when the bass drops they suddenly all go crazy. Or something. It was definitely a "Today" show-level meme. Also performing: dexterous Rhode Island producer AraabMuzik.
THE HOT SARDINES
8 p.m. Wildwood Park. $20-$75.
So Hot Jazz is what all the kids are into these days. Forget about your bebop and your cool jazz and your hard bop and your paint-peeling free jazz and your jazz fusion and what-have-you. The thing now with the young people is to dig the pre-swing sounds of such figures as Jelly Roll Morton and Kid Ory. One of these acclaimed young groups of up-and-comers is The Hot Sardines. According to press materials, the Sardines mix it up at the intersection of New Orleans and Paris. They've got a stride-style piano player and a tap dancer. Band co-founder and pianist Evan Palazzo has Little Rock ties (his mother lives here). The group has played a grip of sold-out shows up in New York City, where they're based. Vanity Fair noted recently that "of all the Hot Jazz groups, the Sardines have probably come the furthest. They've been together almost five years, during which time they've assembled a unique repertoire, and a sound and a style that are distinctly their own."
PETER CASE, KEVIN KERBY
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $15.
Case was in L.A. legends The Nerves, a trio that only released one four-song EP (but what an EP!) featuring, among others, a ditty that Blondie made pretty popular ("Hanging on the Telephone") and one by Case ("When You Find Out") that is a nugget of pure power-pop bliss. Case went on to found The Plimsouls and then eventually to a fruitful solo career exploring various facets of American music. He's a big fan of Mississippi John Hurt (whose 1928 sessions are some of the greatest sides ever recorded, maybe the greatest American music ever, IMO), producing "Avalon Blues," an incredible, star-packed, Grammy-nominated tribute to the blues legend. Check out Case's "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John," which is a damn-near perfect album that easily draws from his influences without ever sounding like an imitation or lifeless homage. Kevin Kerby is as natural a fit for this show as you could possibly ask for. This will be a really good one, folks.
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $52-$118.
Pink is one of the handful of remaining bona fide pop megastars, the last of a batch, minted along with Britney and Xtina. Sure, GaGa is huge, but let's face it: There just aren't as many over-the-top pop divas as there used to be. Out of all of them though, Pink seems to have handled the transition from teeny-bopper to grown-ass woman with the most class and least amount of ridiculous tabloid kerfuffles. Her most recent album, "The Truth About Love," has gotten positive reviews, dealing as it does with grown-ass woman topics while still being fun to listen to. Her stage show for this tour is apparently super involved, with Pink getting hoisted all over the place with a bunch of pulleys and belts and whatnot. Should be good times.
8 p.m. Juanita's. $25 adv., $30 day of.
Guitar geeks rejoice: Steve Vai is coming to town to melt your faces with his insane guitar virtuosity. Vai has to have appeared on more "Greatest Guitarists of All Time" lists than anyone not named Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. He's up there with all of your Eddie Van Halens and Joe Satrianis and Yngwie Malmsteens, regarded as one of the most wickedly brilliant rock guitarists ever. He's also had one of the most interesting careers of any of his few peers, having started playing "stunt guitar" for Frank Zappa, and going on to join the likes of Whitesnake and David Lee Roth (remember "Just Like Living in Paradise," with those icy, brilliantly sharp guitar lines? That was Vai), and recording albums with artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, Public Image Ltd. and Joe Jackson, along with releasing a bevy of solo albums that get guitar nerds all in a tizzy.
7:30 p.m. The Auditorium, Eureka Springs. $95-$135.
What do you say about one of the giants of modern popular music? B.B. King is the King of the Blues, the Chairman of the Board. He's had a career that's spanned eight decades. Eight decades. He's one of the last of his era of bluesmen, a living connection to a long-gone era, and still an incredibly lively performer. Some of his formative professional experiences happened in Arkansas. He performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's KWEM radio program in West Memphis. He named his famous guitar Lucille after a raucous incident at a concert in Twist (he also paid tribute to Louis Jordan on 1999's "Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan"). So what do you say about such an artist? How about just: go see this show.
BUILT TO SPILL
8 p.m. Revolution. $17 adv., $20 day of.
There have certainly been precedents for the marriage of indie rock to classic rock (Exhibit A: Dinosaur Jr., Pavement on occasion). But I'd venture that few if any have bridged that gap as consistently and effortlessly as Built to Spill. Over the course of a couple of decades, band leader Doug Martsch and crew have crafted eight albums of guitar-centric pop-rock sublimity, the peak, in my opinion, being the untouchably brilliant stretch from "Perfect From Now On," "Keep it Like a Secret," "Live" and "Ancient Melodies of the Future." That said, I think "You In Reverse" (2006) is a great, underrated album ("Conventional Wisdom" is a classic!). I saw them in Fayetteville on that tour and they were incredible. One particularly enthusiastic member of the crowd summed up what we were all thinking, screaming over and over, "We love you Doug!" It was true, we all did. "Thanks," he replied. Then the band closed out with an epic, dubbed-out version of "Mess with Time," and it was freaking incredible, thus cementing my longstanding personal rule: If Built to Spill is playing, you will go see Built to Spill. Also performing at this all-ages show: Slam Dunk and Genders.