John Prine: Funny as Woody Guthrie, crafty as Bob Dylan, and with an eye for detail that rivals Bruce Springsteen's, John Prine is one of the four or five greatest singer/songwriters to emerge from the Seventies. Over the course of fourteen albums and a pair of compilations, the craggy-voiced Prine has mastered topical folk ("Sam Stone"), searing hard rock ("Saigon"), evocative storytelling ("Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone"), rockabilly ("No Name Girl"), burned-out country ("Sweet Revenge"), and mainstream rock and roll ("Picture Show"). The just-released Live on Tour covers as much ground, from the only-slightly-dated "Illegal Smile" to the stuff from his last two sets of new material (The Missing Years from 1991 and 1995's Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings), with a few fine studio tracks tacked on at the end. Prine is performing tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre (1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach). Tickets cost $21 and $25. Call 954-946-2402. (JF)
Bonnet House JazzFest on the Green: The historic Bonnet House (900 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale) and its beautiful 35-acre grounds become a garden of jazz delights this weekend as the Gold Coast Jazz Society hosts its fourth annual outdoor classical jazz festival. "Peanuts" Hucko and his All-Stars -- including vocalist Louise Tobin, vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, pianist Eddie Higgins, bassist Phil Flanagan, and drummer Bobby Rosengarden -- present a salute to Benny Goodman tonight at 7:00 p.m. Also performing tonight are the Phil Flanagan Quartet and the Eric Allison/Turk Mauro Quintet. The Grammy Award-winning Count Basie Orchestra, led by conductor Grover Mitchell, headlines the festival tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., with performances by the Eddie Higgins Trio, Simon Salz and the Gold Coast Jazz Society Repertory Orchestra, and the Western High Jazz Band beginning at 7:00 p.m. Both evenings at 5:00 p.m., the local duo of vocalist Julie Davis and guitarist Kelly Dow warms up the crowd. The festival runs both nights from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. Tickets cost $20 each night. Call 954-563-5393. (GC)
Unstrung: Puppets aren't just for kids any more. The Sideshow Marionette Theatre, a new performing arts organization, presents a theatrical program that'll change the way you look at contemporary American puppetry, tonight and tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). SMT combines puppetry with music, dance, and visual elements such as masks, found objects, and scenery to create a series of visually and intellectually stimulating theatrical vignettes that tackle complex contemporary issues. Mature audiences recommended. Admission is free. Call 954-987-1028. (GC)
U.K. Subs: Two decades ago four British lads made their way across the pond and launched a massive aural assault on American punk fans. They went on to open for the Ramones and the Police and had four hit singles and albums on the U.K. pop charts. The U.K. Subs have the distinction of influencing the likes of Henry Rollins, the Fastbacks, Hanoi Rocks, Guns N' Roses, and Dennis Rodman. U.K. Subs's original lineup celebrates twenty years of wreaking havoc tonight at 8:00 p.m. at Cheers (2490 SW Seventeenth Ave.). Up-and-coming Pittsburgh-based punks Anti-Flag and local bands Against All Authority and U.F.C. open the show. Admission is eight dollars. Call 857-0041. (GC)
Arturo Sandoval/FIU Jazz Festival: See Thursday.
Don't Stop the Carnival: The much-anticipated musical by Jimmy Buffett and Herman Wouk (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Caine Mutiny and Winds of War) opens tonight at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (3500 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove). Based on Wouk's 1965 novel of the same title about a New York publicist who leaves the big-city rat race for what he thinks will be the easy life of the Caribbean, this production is not your average theater experience: Buffett promises to serve jerk chicken in the lobby and unplug the air conditioning to engender a "real" Caribbean atmosphere. So leave your diamond tiara at home, put on that tacky Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat, and join the party. The show runs through May 11. Tickets cost $40. Call 442-4000. (JO)
L7: As the major labels continue to shove fake alternative bands down the collective throats of punk fans, it's nice to know that L7 -- whose 1992 hit "Pretend We're Dead" was one of the few genuinely great singles of the Nirvana era -- is still making some of the best punk records around. True, the new one (The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum) doesn't break much new ground. Nevertheless it's loaded with the kind of brutal, abrasive, but 100 percent catchy poppy-punk stuff that, in the face of all the generic angst-peddlers still moping around video sets and club stages, is all too rare these days. Go hear 'em tonight at Squeeze (2 S. New River Dr., Fort Lauderdale) with opening acts Plexi and local wailers Jack Off Jill. Tickets cost ten dollars. Doors open for this all-ages show at 7:00 p.m. Call 954-522-2068. (JF)