Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
‘THE RAT PACK IS BACK'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$34.
Sandy Hackett, son of world-renowned comic Buddy, serves as both writer and producer of this nightclub tribute to Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey, which recreates one of the famous “Summit at the Sands” gigs from the 1960s. Impersonators of the four hipster legends and favorite sons of Vegas, performing vocal recreations laced with free-wheeling gags, are backed by a swinging 12-piece big band certain to churn out numbers such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That's Amore” and “Mr. Bojangles.” The premise finds the voice of God (an actual recording of Buddy Hackett) urging the boys to split their digs in heaven for a groovy romp in the City of Lights, to do it “just one more time,” to which they oblige. On a side note, these boys smoked like freight trains, due to the staggering amounts of booze and Dexedrine they indulged in, so I have to wonder if this Pack will employ some sort of cig props, such as rolled bubble gum sticks with powdered sugar. Regardless, their three-night stay at Robinson Center should swing hard nonetheless. PP.
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $30-$35.
Rumor has it that at age 13, Poncho Sanchez' mother fled to the U.S. after hiding under the bed as revolutionary Pancho Villa stormed her village. For this I thank her, because rare are percussionists or drummers who front their own bands and rarer are those who embark and maintain successful careers spanning four decades. By fusing two of the most complex and beautiful rhythmic genres, world-famous conguero (conga player) Poncho Sanchez has become one of the most famous Latin jazz artists in music history. Raised on Afro-Cuban music such as mambo, cha-cha, rumba, and salsa, as well as on bebop jazz from greats such as Charlie Parker, Sanchez honed his skills as a percussionist and broke into the limelight at 23 when he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader's famed Latin jazz ensemble in 1975. Since then, he's released an impressive 27 recordings, which have earned him several Grammy nominations and the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Other styles woven into Sanchez' musical tapestry include R&B and, best of all, funk, which can be attributed to many collaborations and performances with iconic 1970s high-octane funk ensemble Tower of Power, with whom Sanchez shared the stage as part of an all-star band assembled for the eighth anniversary of “The Late Show with David Letterman.” PP.
SEC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
12 p.m., Alltel Arena. $10-$90.
For the first time in three years, the women's conference tourney returns to Alltel Arena. For fans of the Hogs women's team, that means a chance to coax the recently on-fire squad on a run. The team opens the tournament at noon Thursday against the No. 9-seeded Ole Miss Rebels. If they win, they'll face Auburn on Friday at noon. Start feigning sickness now, hoops fans. For out-of-towners here to support their team and looking for something to do, downtown North Little Rock's Argenta arts district is generally pretty jumping, with good food, cold beer, etc. Ditto for the River Market in Little Rock, just a trolley ride away (at last, a reason for someone to use it!). The Times is hosting a showcase of some of the finest music in Central Arkansas on Friday night at 8 p.m. at Revolution, which is at the west end of the River Market on President Clinton. We'd love to have you. LM.
AMERICAN PRINCES/ SMOKE UP JOHNNY/
10 p.m., White Water.
Wow. Dig this bill. In one corner, you've got Little Rock's biggest band on the national scene, newly bolstered by topping Magnet magazine's year-end album chart and by signing with the management team behind Bonaroo. Every time the Princes play, they bring a crowd. In another corner, there's Little Rock's most beloved bar-rockers, Smoke Up Johnny, who've never played a show that didn't inspire at least a few dozen people to wig the hell out — bouncing, fist-pumping, raising beers high. And in another, you've got the Subteens, Memphis' kings of three-chord hedonism. Like Smoke Up Johnny, they specialize in fist-pumping hard rock, full of sing-a-long hooks and lyrics about the fast life. You can get a healthy taste of the band at thesubteens.com, where the band's first album, “Burn Your Cardigan,” and latest single, “Never Gonna Happen,” are available for free download. LM.
7 p.m., Juanita's, $12.50 adv., $15 d.o.s.
This Bay Area quintet made quite a name for itself before and certainly after the release of its self-titled debut album in June 2008. The album reached No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Viewers familiar with VH1's rising artist showcase series, “You Oughta Know,” likely have seen and heard the video for the single “Angels on the Moon,” which, after six months, broke through into the U.S. Pop 100, reached No. 28, and sounds as timeless as a couples-skate number. Pianist and songwriter Scott Jason is the band's founding member and co-producer. He met and formed an immediate chemistry with charismatic lead singer Clayton Stroope at UC Santa Barbara. Stroope possesses a powerful set of pipes that afford him an impressive vocal range. The band claims to derive its energy from rock predecessors such as Queen, U2 and Elton John, but it has a modern rock edge that fans of Maroon 5 and Gavin DeGraw should gravitate toward. Their all-ages show is supported by Barcelona, an indie-rock outfit from Seattle that landed a deal with Universal in December, and Company of Thieves, a trio from Chicago. PP.
7:30 p.m., Studio Joe. $8.
Mark Taylor knows that a lot of grown folks need some prodding for them to step out for a concert. Or rather, as he says in his manifesto of sorts for the inaugural Little Rock Music Party, adults “have a lot of conditions.” They don't want it to be smoky. They want shows to start early. They don't want the music to be too loud, and they want to be able to dance. It'd be great if the music was familiar, too. Taylor is satisfying all those demands on Saturday at Studio Joe, the new West Little Rock venue near Barnes and Noble bookstore. He's hosting long-time local players Marc Turner, Steve Struthers and Charlie Macom, who'll be playing songs you know. If you ask them nice, they'll probably let you sing a song, too. The music starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m., but no one will look at you crossways if you head to the door at 9 p.m. More info at littlerockmusicparty.com. LM.
9 p.m., the Village. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.
You don't have to be an old hip-hop head to remember Black Sheep, a duo from Queens who rode the tail end of the Natives Tongues' wave (A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers) of '90s hip-hop domination. If you went to basketball games or high school dances or listened to rap radio in the '90s, surely you remember “The Choice Is Yours” (“you can get with this, or you can get with that”). That song, along with an earlier single, “Flavor of the Month,” propelled Black Sheep's debut album, “A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing,” to gold status. A follow-up, released in 1994, didn't fare so well, and the duo, Dres and Mista Lawnge, soon went their separate ways. They reunited, briefly, in 2000 and then again in 2006, but Wednesday's show will feature Dres alone representing the Black Sheep name. Local heavyweights open. 607, who's lately been laying low, is bound to debut some new, really strong remixes he's been churning out on stage. He's joined by Rockst*r, who's fresh from a promo tour and an impressive set at the Showcase. LM
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