Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
8 p.m. Juanita's. $16.
Nada Surf has long been one of the lead practitioners of a driving, effervescent power-pop that's never been enormously popular but thankfully never seems to go away. For a smartass shorthand take, I'd be tempted to describe Nada Surf as "The Thinking Man's Weezer," but that really doesn't do justice to the group's consistently satisfying body of work. So how about this: "Coulda-been-'90s-alt-rock-one-hit-wonder surprises by going the distance and putting out reliably great albums for many years." That's closer, but it still doesn't cover it. Perhaps the band just defies easy or bite-sized classification. After all, since forming about two decades ago, Nada Surf has released more than a half-dozen albums of smart, ultra-catchy rock 'n' roll that pays no heed to blog-of-the-moment trends. Maybe the best thing to do would be to just dive into any of those records and then go see the band play live. That sounds like a good idea. Of course, odds are better than good that much of the crowd at any given Nada Surf show will be singing along with every number. Local two-dude band Collin Vs. Adam is the opening act.
7:30 p.m. Piano Kraft. $10.
Brooklyn musician Andrew Shapiro is a pianist and composer who writes beautiful, lush music that combines the pulsing minimalism of Philip Glass (for whom Shapiro once interned) and the forlorn beauty of Eno's Ambient series (particularly "Music For Airports") with a pop sensibility. It's blissful-sounding stuff, but also lively and engaging, especially his recent album, "Soundesign." Check out the track "Long Coda" from that album — it makes you feel like you're coasting along at warp speed aboard some sleek bullet train in an impossibly elegant and sunny future. For the last seven years or so, Shapiro has played a weekly gig at a McDonald's in lower Manhattan. Now, I know what you're thinking, but as the New York Times pointed out in 2005, "The music is challenging by fast-food restaurant standards, even when the fast-food restaurant in question features both fresh-cut flowers and an upstairs dining area known as the Orchid Room." I got a phone call from Shapiro a couple of weeks ago, and he explained how he came to be performing in Little Rock. An Arkansan named Andy Gibson heard Shapiro playing at that Manhattan McDonald's and was enthralled with the music. He contacted Shapiro, and on a return trip, the two met. Gibson said he was determined to bring the musician to Arkansas for a concert, and here it is, without the fries.
7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $36-$85.
Pop-country doesn't come much slicker than the chart-annihilating, award-winning trio Lady Antebellum. In 2011, the band took home five Grammys, including Best Country Album, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Country Song. The group has won more country music industry awards than you could shake a sequined pair of jeans at. Lady Antebellum's latest, "Own the Night," is filled with gigantic ballads like "Wanted You More" and heartstring-tugging tales of bittersweet memories like "Dancin' Away with My Heart" and "When You Were Mine." Openers include radio pop-rocker turned country singer Darius Rucker and the buzzed-about husband-wife duo Thompson Square.
8:30 p.m. Revolution. $12 adv., $15 day of.
Here's what you're gettin' with Georgia rockers Blackberry Smoke: crunchy, funky, bluesy, countrified, chooglin' rock 'n' roll cut from the same tattered denim as the Allmans, Skynyrd, The Black Crowes, Marshall Tucker and such. Listening to Blackberry Smoke is kinda like chowing down on a really good charcoal-grilled cheeseburger and washing it down with an ice-cold Lite beer — it's not the most original or sophisticated thing ever, but it's familiar and satisfying and sometimes nothing else will do. I bet their live shows are raucous affairs with lots of whoopin' and hollerin' and funny smellin' smoke. The songs are pretty much just about gettin' your drink on, takin' 'er easy, raisin' some hell, rollin' like a freight train, boogiein' down, goin' up in smoke and generally lettin' it all hang out. The band's latest album, "The Whippoorwill," is due out Aug. 14 on Zac Brown's Sacred Ground label. It's a solid collection that sounds great and could be the thing that helps catapult them to a wider audience and bigger stages.