"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
8 p.m., Revolution Room. $10.
Kevin Fowler has taken a fairly circuitous path on his way to becoming a country star in the Lone Star State. At 20, the Amarillo-native took off for L.A. to study at the Guitar Institute of Technology. Soon after, he returned to Austin, first to play in the metal band Dangerous Toys, then to form his own Southern hard-rock outfit, Thunderfoot. But Fowler couldn’t shake his West Texas roots, and by the late ’90s, he was playing self-described “working-class country music.” He named his first album, and the title of perhaps his biggest hit, “Beer, Bait and Ammo.” Late this summer, Fowler will put out a new album, which will feature a duet with George Jones. “What I Wouldn’t Give For Your Love,” the album’s lead single, is a feint of a weepy love ballad that turns into a honky-tonk stomper with Fowler listing off all the things he wouldn’t give up for love — a rusty old pick-up truck, leavin’ the toilet seat up, dippin’ snuff, a baseball glove, beer, Playboy and a few more things.
4 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $15.
After 10 years, organizers for Power 92.3 FM’s annual Juneteenth celebration seem to have finally bowed to their key demographic. This year’s line-up is all about the kids. Just about everyone who’s got a novelty rap song out now is on the bill. Perhaps none bigger, at least in the South, than Atlanta’s Da Shop Boyz, who’ve somehow managed to make a massive radio hit out of “Party Like a Rockstar,” which features, in an affected rocker voice, one of the rappers yelling on the chorus, “Totally, dude!” Also on the bill: Mims (“This is why I’m hot/I’m hot ’cause I’m fly/you ain’t ’cause you not”); Rasheeda (“I’m type of girl you wanna chew all of my bubblegum”); Huey (“Pop, Lock, And Drop It”) and Jibbs, who took the melody from the minstrel era mainstay “Turkey in the Straw” — more recently heard chirping out of ice cream trucks and as backbone of the kindergarten favorite “Do Your Ears Hang Low” — and made it into a song about his low-hanging gold (or is it platinum?) chain. Also in the line-up: T-Pain, the dreadlocked R&B flavor of the moment, who’s resurrected the vocoder from Roger Troutman; the Atlanta collective Crime Mob; North Little Rock’s own rap diva XXzotic; and Devin the Dude, a Houston-based MC who raps so slyly and soulfully about sex you could call it grown folks’ music.
7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $18
Studs Terkel has spent more than half of his life chronicling the plight and joys of the common man. Over the course of dozens of best-selling books, Terkel has captured the words of everyday people through oral histories. Now, the Weekend Theater has revived the musical adaptation of “Working,” one of his most successful books. The musical features 26 workers — among them a parking lot attendant, sailor, waitress, housewife and fireman — singing and talking about their daily routines and their aspirations within or beyond the working world. Terkel’s interviews will feature prominently. The musical runs through July 1. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
SMOKE UP JOHNNY
9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $6.
“Hey, smoke up, Johnny.” That’s what Judd Nelson’s character in “Breakfast Club” recalls his father telling him one Christmas after giving him his sole present, a carton of cigarettes. The dudes in Smoke Up Johnny, the Little Rock punk-rock act, have managed to cultivate a Judd-Nelson-in-“Breakfast Club” kind of collective look — lots of cut-off shirts, permanent scowls and circles under eyes. Gradually, over the last year or so, the band has earned the reputation as the best live, balls-to-the-wall rock outfit in town. S.U.J. members are alumni of dozens of formidable local acts. Bassist Matt Floyd, particularly, has experience looking tough and playing wild-out rawk as a member of Go Fast. But it’s the lanky, bespectacled, sleeve-hating lead singer, Alan Disaster, who deserves a lion’s share of credit for the band’s success. He writes pop-punk hooks catchy enough that the audience usually sings along. A regular highlight: the band’s cover of O.V. Wright’s (and more famously, Otis Redding’s) “That’s How Strong My Love Is.” The song usually comes late in the set, when Disaster’s voice has gone hoarse. It’s a sweet, earnest, shambolic mess. The Kerby brothers, Josh and Kevin, lead San Antokyo, which has a harder edge than Kevin’s typical output. Big Boots also plays in support.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!