Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
9 p.m., Revolution. $10.
There was probably no question that Bernard Allison was going to be a bluesman. His father was Luther Allison, a native of Widener in St. Francis County and one of the many Southerners who left the South for the relatively friendlier climes of Chicago in the 1940s and '50s. The elder Allison played with heavyweights like Muddy Waters and Elmore James, and naturally, Bernard was steeped in the blues as a kid. He played in his father's band in later years, but got his start playing guitar for Koko Taylor when he was just a teen-ager. Allison, now based in Paris, plays electrified crunchy, funky blues with the not-so-occasional screaming solo. The dude is a stone shredder ("Voodoo Chile" is a staple of his live show), and his good-time tunes bridge the gap between postwar Chicago blues and the in-your-face flair of wailers like Stevie Ray Vaughan. If you dig modern blues, this will probably be one of the better shows to come to Little Rock all year.
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
You probably know Stephen Koch as the host of Arkansongs, the indispensable radio show (and cause of many driveway moments for public radio listeners across the state) that's devoted to exploring every inch of Arkansas's rich musical history. Koch has highlighted scores of Natural State musicians over the years, but here's your chance to hear him play his own tunes. Arkopolis has a sound that's rooted in the past, but is in no way wedded to it. Many of the band's bluesy numbers are shambolic to the point of threatening to fall apart. At times, the album sounds like Pavement circa "Wowee Zowee" got themselves on a real good drunk and took up a Hammond and a bunch of banjos and fiddles and acoustic guitars and harmonicas and set about trying to sleaze it up like the Faces. Koch's singing has an appealing swagger to it that fits well within the songs. This is a record release show for his band's new album, "Excruciating Circumstances."
TWO RIVERS BRIDGE DEDICATION
11:30 a.m., Two Rivers Park. Free.
Undoubtedly you've noticed the construction over the last couple of years of Two Rivers Bridge, which spans the Little Maumelle River, connecting Two Rivers Park with Little Rock's River Trail. At 11:30 a.m. Friday, Pulaski County will host a ceremony dedicating the bridge with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The bridge doesn't open to the public until July 23, but it will be accessible for a couple of hours after the ceremony for a sneak peek. The ceremony is open to the public, but parking is limited, so carpooling is recommended.
SONNY BURGESS & THE LEGENDARY PACERS
8 p.m., Maxine's. $8 adv., $10 door.
Sadly, there just aren't that many members of rockabilly's first class left with us. Of those early originators who are still going (and at the risk of forgetting anybody) there are three from Arkansas: Ronnie Hawkins of Huntsville, Smackover's Sleepy LaBeef and Newport native Sonny Burgess, who way back in 1956 cut two Sun Records sides that many rockabilly buffs consider to be among the wildest numbers ever put to tape. Burgess's debut (Sun 247, August 1956) featured "Red Headed Woman" b/w "We Wanna Boogie." It's a classic slab of primordial rock 'n' roll that's lost none of its power or appeal over the decades (and fetches big bucks, especially the 78 format). Nigh on 55 years later, octogenarian Burgess is still rocking, along with original piano pounder Kern Kennedy. Anybody with even a passing interest in rockabilly should not pass up this show.
8 p.m., Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs. $22.50-$55
If you're male and happen to see Blake Shelton wandering around Magic Springs pre-concert on Saturday, and you have the urge to grab his ass, best keep your hands to yourself, as Shelton advised back in May via Twitter. The tweet in question included this tremendously witty rewriting of some lyrics from "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain: "Any man that tries touching my behind, he's gonna be a beaten, bleedin', heaving kind of guy." He later issued one of those it-was-all-a-big-misunderstanding, non-apology apologies. So if all you guys out there can manage to keep your hands off Blake's keister, the country music titan will probably put on a hell of a show for you, playing any one of his nine No. 1 hits or his eight other hit singles.
TANK AND FANTASIA
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $62.
This, ladies and gentlemen, will be one for the lovers, an evening of steamy R&B from these big-time co-headliners. Tank started off as a background singer for Ginuwine (and is also in super group TGT with Ginuwine and Tyrese Gibson), but has since emerged as an R&B force in his own right, earning four Grammy nominations and several top 10 singles. Sample lyrics from his leave-little-to-the-imagination slow jam "Sex Music," which hit No. 20 on the Hot Adult R&B chart last year: "We don't need no clothes for this / Baby on the floor for this / All up on the pole for this / Dropping down low for this." Fantasia, of course, was the season three winner of "American Idol" and has gone on to release several hit singles and albums, earning three Grammy nods in 2008 and a win last year for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. She's fresh off a very well-received performance at the 2011 Essence Music Festival in Los Angeles. Gentlemen: your special lady deserves a special evening. You know what to do.
40 OZ. TO FREEDOM
9 p.m., Juanita's. $12 adv., $15 door.
Sublime was one of those '90s bands that outgrew — or at least expanded on — their earliest skate-punk leanings, included some other influences in the mix, and in doing so gained an oppressively enormous appeal. For a few years there, you literally (literally!) could not escape from "Santeria" or "What I Got" no matter where you tried to hide. No longer the exclusive domain of goateed guys in baggy shorts with evil clown tattoos and wrap-around shades, Sublime's aggressively laid-back So-Cal jams were blasting out of the speakers of lowriders and duelies alike. It was really too bad that singer and bandleader Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996, right before their biggest album, "Sublime," was released. It went on to sell 5 million copies, and Sublime earned the true sign of legendary status: a tribute band, which you can hear on Sunday at Juanita's.
SCREAM THE PRAYER
3:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheater. $18-$22.
Much like capitalism, Christianity has a tendency to assimilate subcultures that once would have been considered completely antithetical to its core values. Take heavy metal, punk rock and hardcore. All of these genres were once seen as inherently opposed to religion of nearly any type, but now there are enormous Christian metal, punk and hardcore scenes. This is really nothing new, but it continues to amaze those of us who grew up in strict conservative Christian environments that would have never countenanced such music, even if its message was in line with what was being emitted from the pulpit. So if scream-y, metal-ly Christian hardcore is your bag, this annual extravaganza is not to be missed. This year's tour includes: Norma Jean, Sleeping Giant, The Chariot, War of Ages, Close Your Eyes, I The Breather, The Great Commission, As Hell Retreats and Sovereign Strength.