Submit to Gwar. If you feel like it.
Submit to Gwar. If you feel like it.
Ed Steele

The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Gwar, Jingle Ball, DOMA Showcase and More

November certainly goes out with a bang this year. Let's say sayonara to the month of giving thanks and a big hello to a month that sees us argue over Starbucks cups with some great music. The Dallas Observer Music Awards showcase features great local acts such as 88 Killa, Sudie, Cure For Paranoia, and many more at venues throughout Deep Ellum. Ja Rule and Ashanti team up Sunday for a wonderful night of nostalgic early '00s hip-hop love songs at The Bomb Factory. And you're sure to get a little blood on your shirt at Gwar's show Wednesday at Gas Monkey Live.

Jhene Aiko
With Willow Smith, St. Beauty and Kitty Cash, Nov. 27, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dfw, $35-$69.50

Since her brother’s death from cancer, R&B singer Jhene Aiko has been traveling to remote parts of the world to experiment with hallucinogens. The 30-year-old singer surprised fans this year with a body of work that documents that journey, called MAP, which stands for movie, album and poetry. The album portion is titled Trip and includes 22 highly personal and revealing songs featuring Aiko’s characteristic soothing vocals and ambient soundscapes. “Sativa (feat. Swae Lee)” and “While We’re Young” are AIko’s biggest hits to date. She’s touring with an impressive roster of up-and-coming talents: Willow Smith, St. Beauty and Kitty Cash. Mikel Galicia

106.1 KISS FM’s Jingle Ball
With Kesha, the Chainsmokers, Niall Horan, Hailee Steinfeld and more, Nov. 28, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., ticketmaster.com, $31-$181

The weather outside hasn’t quite gotten frightful, but the lineup for KISS-FM’s Jingle Ball is certainly delightful. This year’s ball won’t be as star studded as last year’s, but headliners the Chainsmokers — supporting their massive debut, Memories … Do Not Open — will help pick up the slack. Kesha, whose new album, Rainbow, recently debuted at No. 1 on the North American music charts also will do some heavy lifting. Rounding out the lineup are former One Direction-ers Niall Horan and Liam Payne (playing solo sets), former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, “See you Again” singer Charlie Puth and Logan Paul’s pals Why Don’t We. It’s a good early Christmas gift for the under-23 person in your life. Nicholas Bostick

Kishi Bashi
With Tall Tall Trees, 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $16

Last year, violinist and multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi released Sonderlust, a meditative album that examines a painful period in the artist’s life when he was struggling in his relationships and feeling irrelevant in the music world. Bashi, a cult favorite who has performed with Regina Spektor and Of Montreal, worked this time with Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor to create lush and experimental soundscapes far beyond those he had mastered. There are hints of free jazz, ’70s influence and soulful rhythms scattered throughout Sonderlust; it’s an entertaining listen and a challenging new direction for Bashi. His music may be a bit mournful, but at live shows Bashi works hard to connect with the audience. Arrive early Wednesday to catch a screening of his Project 9066 documentary, which focuses on his heritage and musical identity. Jeff Strowe

Tank & Leela James
Nov. 29 House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dfw, $35-$99

Tank and Leela James are on their Savage X The Soul Tour, which hits Dallas right after the Thanksgiving food coma wears off. James’ music is a testament to R&B’s timelessness; her voice carries raw human feeling. On her latest album, Did It for Love, released in March, James incorporates modern pop, too. It’s a perfect match for Tank’s music, which mixes ambient, R&B and hip-hop. This is how rhythm and blues evolves — by keeping the core the same but embracing other influences that keep it fresh. At House of Blues, Tank will play songs from his latest LP, Savage. Eric Grubbs

Gwar
With Ghoul, He Is Legend, U.S. Bastards, Nov. 29, Gas Monkey Live, 10110 Technology Blvd., 214-350-5483 or gasmonkeybarngrill.com, $20 and up

The members of American metal outfit Gwar represent themselves as alien warriors from outer space. They perform in elaborate costumes that place them somewhere between the Lord of the Rings’ orcs and something that slithered from the slimy depths of a David Cronenberg picture. Incorporating elements of punk and hardcore and every shade of metal, Gwar tears through sets with abandon, humor and a stone-faced theatricality that rank it as one of the most entertaining live acts going. Those who dare attend should prepare themselves for gore, controversy and a playful embrace of the macabre. Jonathan Patrick

Chevelle
With AEGES and 10 Years, Dec. 1, Southside Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., southsideballroomdallas.com, $30-$86

When Chevelle rolls through town in support of its latest album, The North Corridor, this week, the family trio may be a little more cautious than usual. 2017 marks 10 years since the alternative-metal band’s trailer was stolen outside a Fort Worth hotel with more than $200,000 worth of gear in it, including 14 guitars, amplifiers and studio monitors. The band was left with nothing, not even a drumstick for the rest of the tour, according to Robert Wilonsky, who reported on the incident. The band recovered and may be doing even better than in 2007. The North Corridor, the band’s eighth studio album, charted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 thanks to the band’s heavier, more aggressive approach on this album, which drew comparisons toTool and Queens of the Stone Age. The trio is playing its biggest venue as a headliner; past North Texas stops were at House of Blues and Ridglea Theater. MG

Dead & Company
Dec. 1, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $68

Last year, Dead & Company debuted as the modern reincarnation of one of the most influential jam bands of all time. Dead & Company comprises three of the Grateful Dead’s earliest members, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir, as well as John Mayer, who was integral to re-forming the surviving members during the Fare Thee Well tour. The band, which also includes keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and bassist Otel Burbridge, has yet to release anything but live recordings each concert since fall 2015. Since then, the band has gone on a nearly nonstop tour, taking three-month breaks as it crisscrosses America. Far more than a glorified cover band or a worse-for-wear nostalgia act, Dead & Company attempts to re-create the cavernous sense of psychedelia the Grateful Dead made famous more than half a century ago. NB

Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase
Dec. 2, various venues in Deep Ellum, $15/$44

The annual tradition continues in 2017 with the best North Texas has to offer appearing on nine stages in Deep Ellum for one epic night. Two stages will be set up at Club Dada; other participating venues are Three Links, Trees, the Door, the Prophet Bar, Off the Record, Reno's and the Green Room. Artists include Blue, the Misfit; Vandoliers; Sealion and 88 Killa. Where else in Dallas can you see all this music for one low price? EG

JaRule and Ashanti
Dec. 3, The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., thebombfactory.com, $34.40-$183.00

JaRule and Ashanti have a linked history, but then again many artists followed the path Ja paved in the late 1990s. But as his trajectory appears to be heading steadily downward, Ashanti's star is still in the sky. As a successful artist with the Murder Inc. label, part of the Def Jam empire, JaRule kept the light on as other artists, including Ashanti, made their marks. JaRule's best days are behind him, but Ashanti remains a media powerhouse. Ashanti's album Braveheart was released in 2014, and acting has kept her in the public eye. She was one of the leads on the television show Army Wives. That Lifetime show caps a solid acting career, onstage as well as on-screen. Ja turned down a recurring role in The Fast and the Furious sequel and did jail time for tax evasion. Ticket buyers and investors in the failed Fyre festival, of which he was a co-creator, are busy suing him. Joe Pappalardo 

Alter Bridge
Dec. 5, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $31-$90

If you are a fan of Orlando, Florida-based alternative band Alter Bridge, you will want to make time to attend this show. Out on the road in support of their fifth and most recent album, The Last Hero, the band members have indicated that 2018 will be a quiet year in terms of touring and recording. Frontman Myles Kennedy has revealed tour dates and release plans for his upcoming solo album, and the remaining members have moved into some individual and alternate projects, as well. It's not a permanent goodbye — they plan to get back together later to work on new material — but it will be a bit of a lengthy hiatus. In reality, Alter Bridge has always been just one item on many of the band members' resumes. It was formed in 2004 after Creed's disbandment. Kennedy has toured with Slash, and guitarist Mark Tremonti has fronted his own eponymous band that makes frequent room for bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips. When the four are together, though, Alter Bridge sizzles with focused intensity and healthy doses of frenetic rock-and-roll bluster. The band, always a spirited live act, could throw forth at Tuesday's show, considering the upcoming break in action. JS

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