"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
6:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre. $10-$15.
Contemporary Christian rock has come a long way since the days of Petra. Goodbye cheesy riffage and terribly earnest lyrics. Hello ambiguous messages and modern rock as tuneful (or depending on your persuasion, tuneless) as the heathens'. Consider the title track from Memphis' Skillet, “Comatose”: “I hate feeling like this/I'm so tired of trying to fight this/I'm asleep and all I dream of/is waking to you/Tell me that you will listen/Your touch is what I'm missing.” See that slight of hand? Taken in the context of the band's Christian roots, it's clearly about yearning for Jesus' love. Without that background, to any old casual radio listener, it's another love-sick anthem. Either way, expect lots of young folks singing along. Dallas alt-metal band Fair to Midland opens with local act Kingsdown, which plays an epic brand of alt-rock. LM.
THE TED LUDWIG TRIO
8 p.m., Afterthought. $5.
Local jazz fans know Thursday night is always there if they need a fix. That's when 12-string phenom Ted Ludwig leads a jazz trio, which includes Joe Cripps on standing bass and Brian Brown on drums, that delivers the best of the genre Little Rock has to offer. But that kind of regularity can breed complacency — there's always next week. Don't make that mistake on Thursday. Shared roots bring two New Orleans standouts to town. Saxophonist Tony Dagradi has performed with just about everyone who's anyone in New Orleans — Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint — but he's most famous as the bandleader of the renowned improvisational jazz group Astral Project. Pianist and composer Michael Pellera is an instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and has performed with the likes of Chet Baker, Wynton Marsalis and Buddy Rich. Dagradi and Pellera are in town to record with Ludwig, who's currently at work on his sophomore release. LM.
‘1964 … THE TRIBUTE'
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $27-$42.
Complete with signature bowl cuts and matching suits, “1964 . . . The Tribute” returns to Little Rock for another highly anticipated show, with replica instruments, stage arrangements and a set list packed with hits from the Beatles' catalogue. The tribute act is known far and wide for its portrayal of the Fab Four, and its mission, simply put, is to recreate the Beatles' invasion of America. According to Lennon alter ego Mark Benson, the concept is to perform a show “that gives you an idea of what it was like to see the Beatles when they were touring.” In fact, only two distinguishing features of the show differ from what fans experienced during the band's heyday: sound quality and set length. “1964” (along with any other band that suffered from audience overload) has a sound system strong enough to compete with the ear-splitting shrieks that plagued the Beatles' live performances for both members and fans alike. They also perform two 45-minute sets instead of two half-hour sets. In theory, concertgoers get more bang for the buck than they would have 44 years ago. The band has earned the working title as “The Best Beatles Tribute on Earth” from Rolling Stone magazine. Also, George Harrison's sister, Louise, was apparently so moved after experiencing a “1964” show that she held a party at her home in their honor. PP.
‘THE FEMININE FREAKSHOW'
10 p.m., Public Theater. $12.
Nearly naked ladies! That's right, it's time again for Little Rock's Finest Assettes to present its take on burlesque, which is sure to mean plenty of corsets, bustiers, fishnets and heavy eye shadow. And if past installments are any predictor — this is the troupe's fourth production — look for a hearty dose of feminism informing the production. The only act I was able to confirm before press time involves everyone's favorite Whore of Babylon, Sophira N Brimstone, who reports she'll play some variation of the wild woman who can't be restrained. In the past, shows have sold out pretty quickly. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, when the show repeats. LM.