Music Picks: Johnny Hallyday, Hank Williams Jr. and More

Music Picks: Johnny Hallyday, Hank Williams Jr. and More
Courtesy of Eels
Thinking outside the box: Mark Oliver Everett cuts his own hair (we’re guessing).

Johnny Hallyday

9 p.m. Thursday, May 15, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $45-$78

Serge Gainsbourg may have been the "Dirtiest Man in Pop Music," but when it comes to pop longevity, Johnny Hallyday has always held a special place in the hearts of the French people. Known as the "French Elvis" to his fans — and there are many, as he's sold millions of records over a career that spans half a century — Hallyday had all the right pop star moves, including high-profile romances with movie stars, a taste for fast cars and an inimitable knack for fashion. Sure, he copied folks like the King and Jerry Lee Lewis, even singing their songs in his native tongue, which likely explains his lack of international fame. But now that he's returned from a brief retirement, catching Hallyday means experiencing an authentic piece of '60s pop culture that's lasted a lifetime. Jeff Gage

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Hank Williams Jr.

7 p.m. Friday, May 16, at Choctaw Event Center, 3735 Choctaw Road, Durant, Oklahoma, 888-652-4628 or choctawcasinos.com, $54-$157

Is it unfair to suggest that the average Hank Williams Jr. fan will probably miss the irony of Bocephus performing his popular pro-'Murican fight song, "Takin' Back the Country," at a casino owned by the Choctaw Nation — a tribe whose literal country was taken from it by the U.S. government in 1830? Well, hey, at least he's not playing for a Gambian dictator. (Sorry, too soon?) In any case, Williams and a band's-worth of his presumably rowdy friends will descend upon the Choctaw Event Center at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, about 90 minutes north of Dallas. While his most recent material is more or less incendiary Red State anthems/mad-at-the-media diatribes, Williams will probably still play "Family Tradition." The chutzpah alone should be worth the drive. Steve Steward

Joan Osborne

With Seth Walker, 7 p.m. Friday, May 16, at The Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org $20-$22.50

When Eric Bazilian wrote "One of Us," it was to impress a girl. What it ended up being was Joan Osborne's Grammy-nominated hit song. But unlike most pop songs about mushy gushy love, "One of Us" explores the idea that God could be walking among everyone. But recording mega pop hits isn't the only thing Osborne is capable of. She sings nearly all genres, everything from soul to blues to country, and had a stint fronting the Grateful Dead after they'd morphed into the Dead, post-Jerry Garcia. Osborne even recorded an album full of blues and R&B covers, including songs originated by Ray Charles and Otis Redding. Now 20 years removed from her big hit, she's forged a career far more diverse than any one song might suggest. Paige Skinner

Todd Edwards

With DJ Red Eye, 10 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at It'll Do Club, 4322 Elm St., 214-827-7236, $15

When he plays It'll Do this Saturday, dance music legend and Daft Punk collaborator Todd Edwards will be making his first visit to Dallas. Far from a household name in America, Edwards, who has spent most of his career based in New Jersey, has been a mainstay of popular dance music throughout the rest of the world since the mid-'90s. Taking his inspiration from house trailblazers like Todd Terry, MK and Master at Work, Edwards channels a deep love for house music to create a signature sound of his own — a sound that has had a huge influence on U.K. garage, house and even some of the more Eurocentric dubstep. In fact, amongst those scenes he is affectionately referred to as "Todd the God" for the enormous impact he has had on DJ culture over the past two decades. Wanz Dover

Foreigner

With Styx and Don Felder, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, 972-854-5050 or verizontheatre.com, $17.50-$87.50

Don't you hate it when good tunes are ruined by some kid trying to play it on a video game like Guitar Hero? In the case of Foreigner, their songs somehow seem tailor-made for such vicarious experiences. Songs like "I Want To Know What Love Is" and, of course, "Juke Box Hero" were rooted in starry-eyed themes of fame and romance. Now, nearly 40 years after those songs made them famous, Mick Jones (not to be confused with Joe Strummer's old bandmate) and his crew have managed to coast through the decades on a handful of bombastic hits that still enable them to fill arenas like the Verizon Theatre. Disdain it if you will, but it's hard to deny the widespread appeal of these would-be heroes especially when they're joined by fellow dad-rock celebs like Styx and the Eagles' Don Felder. Paige Skinner

Eels

With Chelsea Wolfe, 8 p.m. Monday, May 19, at Strauss Square, 2389 Flora St., 214-880-0202 or attpac.org, $33-$38

Similar to Bon Iver or even St. Vincent, Eels are one of those acts where folks refer to them as if they're fully-fledged bands. Sure, Justin Vernon and Annie Clark have people perform with them in studio and on stage, just as Mark Oliver Everett does when he plays under the Eels moniker. But the band is undeniably his, a fact highlighted by the title of this year's melodic and calmly quirky release, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. It's the work of an artist in full control of his own creation — like much of the adventurous and not-always-accessible work since his 1996 mainstream hit "Novocaine for the Soul." Oh, and don't sleep on the opening act. Chelsea Wolfe is an enchanting, sometimes dark performer who's as comfortable with an acoustic guitar as she is with goth-y synths. Kelly Dearmore

 
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