Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
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.