BLACK STONE CHERRY
5:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheater. Free.
On their way to becoming Central Arkansas regulars, Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry return to play Music in the Park, the Riverfest Amphitheater free concert series that Chesapeake Energy, your friendly neighborhood natural gas driller, is bankrolling. Blending post-grunge sensibilities with big Southern rock riffs, BSC comes to town behind its new album, “Folklore and Superstition.” Louisiana-based post-grunge act 12 Stones opens with American Bang, a rock group whose song “Move to the Music” was recently selected as a theme song for WWE Wrestling.
9 p.m., Revolution. $10.
Keith Richards called “In Dis Ya Time,” the bright, swaying, signature song of the Itals, the “perfect reggae song.” And you know, Keif knows a thing or three about (appropriating) African-rooted music, so don’t take that endorsement lightly. For more than three decades, even when dancehall took over the airwaves, the Itals have represented for roots reggae in Jamaica. Named for a Rastafarian term for “natural” and “pure,” the group made their bones on three-part vocal harmonies, singing songs about Jah, dreads and other Rastafari tenets familiar, at least superficially, to anyone who’s been in a college dorm recently. Internationally known reggae acts don’t come this way often. If you rock steady, you’d be ill advised to miss this gig.
9 p.m., the Afterthought. $7.
The smoothest trumpeter in our neck of the woods, Rodney Block, returns to the Afterthought for a varied night of jazz, soul, funk, gospel, bebop and hip hop. An Arkansas native, Block honed his talent in Kansas City. Since he returned several years back, Block and his band the Real Music Lovers have been moving between the hip-hop and jazz scenes (Block calls his music “hip-hop jazz”), opening for the likes of Dwele, Frank McComb and Wynton Marsalis. Last year, the horn man was nominated for a regional Emmy for his performance on the AETN show “Front Row.” He’s sure to impress on Friday.
9 p.m., Juanita’s. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.
You might remember Saving Jane from a few years back. The Columbus, Ohio, band landed the single “Girl Next Door” on the Billboard charts, on MTV’s “TRL” and on one of those insipid “Now That’s What I Call Music” albums. The song, an anthem of unabashed jealousy (“She is the prom queen, I’m in the marching band … She’s Miss America and I’m just the girl next door”), helped the band get picked up by Universal Records, which co-released the group’s follow-up, “One Girl Revolution.” On the title track, lead singer and songwriter Marti Dodson seems to be railing against the pop-marketing machine that feeds on nearly naked ladies, with lyrics like “You don’t even stand a chance/I’m not taking off my pants.” The band brings its shiny pop-rock to Juanita’s for an all ages show. Junior opens the show.
REEL STORIES: ‘WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR’
7 p.m., Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Petit Jean Mountain. $10.
The Rockefeller Institute’s film series returns with a recent documentary that examines the origins and demise of the GM EV1, the first modern electric car. Beyond tracking the EV1, filmmaker Chris Payne also delves into consumers’ aversion to the car, the auto industry’s reluctance to adapt and the oil industry’s power in the equation. After the film, representatives from Electric Transportation of Arkansas will be on hand to discuss electric and solar vehicles today. ETA will have vehicles on display, too. Space is limited, so advance registration, via uawri.org or 501-727-5435, is recommended.
GRAND SERENADE/ THE NOBILITY/ ISAAC ALEXANDER
8:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $6.
Calling all local pop-rock fans. It doesn’t get much better than this. Grand Serenade, the young foursome that leapt onto the scene several years back from out of nowhere (or Heber Springs) and quickly attracted an adoring throng of female fans, will likely headline, performing songs from their sparkly debut album, “Lean Times,” and new ones from a follow-up they’re currently recording at Blue Chair Studios, where guitarist Jordan Trotter works. The Nobility is a power-pop band from Nashville that plays Arkansas often because the band’s lead singer, Sean Williams, is from Searcy. It’s still touring behind “The Mezzanine,” a punchy album released last year that picked up positive national press. Probably opening the show, Isaac Alexander performs songs from his debut solo album “See Thru Me.” Glooms never sounded better.
7:30 p.m., Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View. $37.50.
Arguably the greatest living flat-picker, Doc Watson brings his encyclopedic knowledge of folk music and warm voice to Mountain View for a special performance. From his star-making appearance at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, to singing Jimmy Driftwood’s “Tennessee Stud” on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken, to a steady and impressive run of solo albums, Watson’s been a force in bluegrass for nearly 50 years. He’s the recipient National Medal of Arts, National Heritage Fellowship and five Grammy Awards. David Holt, host of the public radio show “Riverwalk” and a five-time Grammy winner, will accompany Watson. Seating is limited and Watson is 85; if you’ve missed seeing him before, this could be your last chance.
EDDIE GRIFFIN 8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $37.50-$45. CANCELLED
You may know Eddie Griffin for his toothy, wisecracking roles in a string of terrible movies. “Undercover Brother,” anyone? How ’bout “Scary Movie 3” or “Date Movie” or a film that’s so bad it’s almost good, “Norbit,” in which Griffin played pimp Pope Sweet Jesus? And who could forget the “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” series, where Griffin again plays a pimp, though a different sort. We forgive him for taking roles in bad movies because he’s usually the only redeeming part in them. The Kansas City-born comic, who’s continued to grind it out on stages even as his film career has taken off, comes to Robinson with up-and-coming comedian Rude Jude. Expect a full crowd for the ribald show.
7 p.m., Revolution. $5-$10.
Guitar Shorty is nearly 70, so I’m not holding my breath for the somersaults, back-flips and headstands that were signature moves in his live shows in the past (years ago, he won “The Gong Show” by performing “They Call Me Guitar Shorty” while standing on his head). But by all accounts, the Texas bluesman still puts on a riveting live show. He comes pedigreed. According to his bio, when he was just 16, he joined Ray Charles’ band for a year. The following year he recorded a single under the direction of blues great Willie Dixon. Later, he played alongside Guitar Slim and moved to New Orleans, where he eventually led the house band at the Dew Drop Inn, performing with the likes of T Bone Walker and Little Richard. A job with Sam Cooke sent Shorty packing to the West Coast, L.A. and, later, Seattle. There, in 1961, he married Jimi Hendrix’s sister. The guitar great reportedly came to see Shorty perform often. In the long and decorated career that’s followed, he’s released nine albums, most recently recording for Alligator, and picked up several W.C. Handy Awards. The show starts early because of the 10 p.m. Sunday curfew on booze sales in clubs.