Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$52.
Thirty years after it debuted on Broadway (and for those who need a more recent point of reference, 10 years after Jay-Z sampled “It's a Hard-Knock Life”), “Annie” concludes the last of its four shows in Little Rock. The musical's lyricist Martin Charmin returns to direct this 30th anniversary touring production. Surely you know the gist: Indefatigable ginger-haired Annie is an 11-year-old orphan prone to song. She's stuck in an orphanage run by Miss Hannigan, who bullies and abuses and sings creepy songs about little girls and wanting a man to nibble on her ear. Then there's Daddy Warbucks, a gruff industrialist with a heart of gold and a direct line to President Roosevelt. Oh yeah, and Sandy, Annie's trusted dog of indeterminate breed, who's special enough to warrant his own song. You'll never guess what happens when they all get together.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $15-$40.
Local event promoter Upscale Underground continues to carve out a reputation for bringing the best in urbane jazz/soul to Little Rock. After successful concerts featuring Nu-soul star Dwele and blues-soul throwback Keite Young, Upscale presents Frank McComb, a soul singer with an impressive resume. Early in his career, McComb toured with Atlantic Records' R&B group the Rude Boys, performed and recorded with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and worked as a musician for the songwriting duo Gamble and Huff. Record deals with MoJazz (the now defunct jazz imprint of Motown) and Columbia followed, with several years fronting Buckshot LeFonque, Branford Marsalis' genre-mix-up group. He's lately been recording and releasing material on independent labels. McComb performs on Thursday with local jazz heavyweights Rodney Block and the Real Music Lovers. Unlike most shows at Juanita's, the concert will be seated, with assigned places. A $40 “upscale upgrade” ticket includes a copy of McComb's “Love Stories” CD, dessert and champagne. A limited number of $15 “early bird” tickets are also available. Otherwise, admission is $20 adv., $30 d.o.s.
THE JONAS BROTHERS
7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $49.75.
Here we go again: another pop sensation adored and understood almost exclusively by tweens. The Jonas Brothers, seen last in Central Arkansas as the opener for Hannah Montana, return on Friday on the first leg of a 140-date worldwide tour (secured in a multi-million dollar deal with Live Nation). From a brief perusal of all things Jonas, here's a laundry list of guesses at why the group's so enormously popular: general dreaminess, hairspray, the enduring appeal of family bands, fresh faces, fancy sunglasses, skinny ties, a non-threatening sense of rebellion, the promotional juggernaut that is Disney and, from the band's MySpace bio, a combination of “Warped Tour-style punk with musical-theatre trimmings inspired by Nick [Jonas'] years on Broadway in Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast.” Parents: Alltel is providing a special parent holding tank of sorts for you to hang and eat popcorn in during the show. Check alltelarena.com for more information.
10 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.
Guitar Player magazine called him one of the “Top 50 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” He's the reigning seventh-year-in-a-row “Best Acoustic Guitar Player” at the Austin (Texas) Music Awards. He's been called, bafflingly, “The Evel Knievel of Guitar” and “The Answer to the Fermi Paradox.” Suffice it to say, Monte Montgomery plays the acoustic guitar acrobatically. He's also an angst-y voiced singer/songwriter, with rabid fans (“Montiacs”) traveling all around to see him play. Friday's show finds him supporting his latest album, “Monte Montgomery at Workplay.” Longtime local stage vet Luscious Spiller opens. Admission is open to 18 and older.
8:30 p.m., Revolution. $8.
Toss aside your resistance to engage a band with “boner” (heh, heh) prominently in its title. A bone is, after all, nothing more than a shorthand reference to a trombone, the central element of Bonerama. Formed by long-time members of Harry Connick's band, the group features four trombonists on its frontline, a Sousaphone player, a drummer and an electric guitarist. They're from New Orleans and they're brass heavy, but you'd have to stop short at calling them jazz. Their sound instead takes pieces of the funk, jazz and brass traditions of New Orleans and points them towards rock 'n' roll. Bonerama comes to town just days after a live performance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in support of its collaborative EP with Chicago pop-rock band OK Go. On Friday, anticipate instrumental takes on songs like Led Zeppelin's “Ocean” and the Beatles “Helter Skelter.”
REEL CIVIL RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
2 p.m., Market Street Cinema. Free.
As part of Black History month, the second annual Reel Civil Rights Film Festival features eight films centered on the civil rights struggles of 1950s and '60s. Presented by the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in partnership with Market Street, the festival includes “Mighty Times: The Children's March,” a film about the young people who faced fire hose and police dogs in Birmingham in 1963; Disney's “The Ernest Green Story”; “The Clinton 12,” a documentary about the 12 black students who integrated the all white high school in Clinton, Tenn., in 1956 (see review on page 51); “Ruby Bridges,” another Disney film about a 6-year-old enrolled in school in New Orleans under federal marshal escort; “Silas Hunt: A Documentary,” about the first black student at the University of Arkansas Law School; and “The Lost Year,” a documentary about the displaced Little Rock high school students in 1958-59 (for times and a complete list, see our calendar). Two shorts, “Watching the Waters Rise” and “The Apollos,” will also be featured. Admission is free and available on a first come first serve basis.
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $TBA.
Just on name alone, Coco Montoya earns blues cred. But Montoya makes his bones on his resume. The California-born guitarist got his start in Albert Collins' band in the 1970s. In the '80s, Montoya became one of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, staying with the band for a decade. More recently, and closer to home, the guitarist contributed to the Cate Brothers album “Radioland.” The W.C. Handy Award winner comes to town in support of his latest album, “Dirty Deal,” his sixth in just over a decade. The album finds him still pulling out fiery blues-rock riffs with his trademark “upside-down-right-handed” guitar (he's left handed, but learned on a right-handed guitar).
10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $3-$5 donations.
I challenge you to find a scarier looking person than Joe Buck who's not playing black metal. With hollow eyes, often augmented by scary contacts, Buck cuts an awkward figure — pale skin, sharp features, sharp teeth, a rooster plume of a Mohawk — that's not far from an emaciated Jon Voigt on meth. Former Legendary Shackshaker and current member of Assjack and Hank Williams III back-up band, Buck doesn't try to curb his aura. He goes by the full name Joe Buck Yourself, and he sings, nay, hollers of devils in him, being strung out on “hillbilly junk” and being an evil “motherf**cker.” Look for him to alternate between guitar and bass. Two Fayetteville-based groups on Robot Lake Records open: The aggressive four-piece the Counterlife and minimalist experimental act the Real Tigers.
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS
8:30 p.m., Revolution. $18 adv./$20 d.o.s.
Fresh off the release of their fifth studio album, “Hernando,” the North Mississippi Allstars return to Little Rock on Wednesday. This latest project finds the Dickinson boys, Luther and Cody, and bassist Chris Chew in a stripped down context. Still committed to surveying the roots music of Mississippi, the band uses the album (produced by Jim Dickinson, father and Little Rock native) to continue to explore blues-rock, with a touch of boogie piano and guitar shuffle thrown in for good measure. Chew sings, impressively, on Champion Jack Dupree's “I'd Love to Be a Hippy.” This will be a fairly rare chance to get the NMAs this year. After the tour wraps in March, Luther hits the road with the Black Crowes, which he recently joined. Fusionist bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart opens the show.