The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Mary J Blige, Bryson Tiller, Lady Antebellum and More
Lady Antebellum plays Starplex with Kelsea Ballerini on Saturday night.
This week begins with a solar eclipse and plenty of watching parties around town. But if you packed up your telescopes and traveled to its path of totality because a partially eclipsed sun just isn't good enough, you're going to miss some seriously stellar shows this week.
Pop-punk alum Simple Plan plays House of Blues on Thursday night while hardcore screamo-turned-folk artist Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, plays the venue Friday night. Steven Tyler and Clint Black top the bills at WinStar World Casino and Choctaw Casino, and Mary J. Blige plays Music Hall at Fair Park on Saturday night.
The Funky Knuckles
10 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8305 or sundowndfw.com, free
The Funky Knuckles have been together for more than six years. The fusion jazz band released an album called Meta-Musica in 2014 that climbed to No. 1 on iTunes’ jazz charts on the first day of its release. Together, the Knuckles are a force to be reckoned with. That’s because, individually, they’re all seasoned players who’ve worked with superstars like Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michelle, Talib Kweli, Puff Daddy and the Polyphonic Spree. H. Drew Blackburn
6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com, $29.50-$39.50
Most 20- or 30-somethings had one or two Simple Plan CDs floating around in their CaseLogic CD holders during the early 2000s. At that time, they were the go-to "punk" rock band for any straight-laced kid who wanted something loud to get out frustrations while driving home from school. Simple Plan pretty much did that better than anyone else, and it's still up to the same antics. The band's latest album, Taking One For the Team, released last year, and its pop-punk sensibilities make for a delightful trip down memory lane. Diamond Victoria
With Metro Boomin and H.E.R., 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, $45-$128
Bryson Tiller is an amalgamation of contemporary R&B music. He’s often criticized for ripping off The Weeknd and Drake, and not bringing anything new to the table. But we’ll give him this: He rips them off really well. He has an ear for melodies, his voice is sultry and his lyrics are relatable. When he released TRAPSOUL in 2015, tracks like “Don’t” and “Exchange” became anthems for the brokenhearted and placed him in a class with Partynextdoor and Jeremih, other fresh faces of R&B. In support of his new album, True To Self, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, Tiller is playing Bomb Factory on Friday with up-and-coming singer H.E.R. and superstar producer Metro Boomin. Mikel Galicia
City and Colour
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com, $35-$55
Dallas Green isn't just the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for hardcore screamo outfit Alexisonfire; he also plays his hand at the other side of the multifaceted alternative genre with his country folk project, City and Colour. The Toronto-based musician uses his softer sound to release music he's written since age 14. Green has released five albums under his City and Color moniker. The latest was 2015's If I Should Go Before You, which he's promoting on his current tour. Diamond Victoria
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, WinStar World Casino, 777 Casino Ave., Thackerville, Oklahoma, $27-$125
Steven Tyler released his only solo album, We're All Somebody From Somewhere, a “country-tinged” record produced in Nashville with the help of T-Bone Burnett and a bunch of Music City songwriters, including Chris DeStefano (Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan), Hillary Lindsey (Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw) and the Warren Brothers (Faith Hill, Martina McBride). It’s sort of endearing that Steven Tyler pays lip service to concepts like “authenticity,” particularly because he’s a survivor of rock ’n’ roll’s gilded age, never mind that Aerosmith continues to rock arenas despite the fact that its members’ ages add up to something like a million years. Seeing how Tyler’s already dabbled in shoehorning rap into his music, he shouldn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks. Besides, “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which came out about 20 years ago, is pretty much a country song already. Tyler may yet get made fun of by Sturgill Simpson super fans (correction: probably already is), but really, so long as he isn’t rapping about tailgates or tractors, Tyler is most likely in the clear.
with Kelsea Ballerini, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Starplex Pavilion, 3839 S. Fitzhugh Ave., 214-421-1111 or ticketmaster.com, $24 and up
Starplex Pavilion's specialty is big-ticket country concerts. The wide stage design, ample lawn seating and big-screen video boards lend themselves well to warm summer nights spent under the stars with a beer or two in hand. Saturday night's bill of Lady Antebellum and Kelsea Ballerini should make for a particularly exciting country showcase. Back out on the road after the lengthiest break of their decadelong career, the three members of Lady Antebellum have been touring this summer with a renewed energy and vigor. They've added a horn section, punched up the volume on their amps a notch or two, and delved into their back catalog, out to prove that they’re more than "Need You Now" and "I Run To You." (Not to worry, those hits will still make it onto the evening's setlist.) Ballerini, a 2017 Grammy nominee for best new artist, works her Tennessee drawl to maximum effect on her sunny and charismatic pop-country tunes. She's a natural energizer who will get the crowd up and moving as the sun goes down and folks make their way to their seats and lawn spots. Jeff Strowe
Mary J. Blige
8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 214-565-1116 or ticketmaster.com, $50 and up
Forget all the men — Mary J. Blige is arguably the most influential and popular figure in R&B history. While her nine Grammys, 30 Grammy nominations and eight platinum records make her the most decorated artist in her field, Blige’s music tells the real story. At turns sensual and forceful, Blige’s richly detailed music covers ground as delicate and complex as addiction, love lost and prejudice. Threading together soul and hip hop, Blige’s songs laid the groundwork for the sounds modern listeners now associate with R&B and neo soul. Blige's greatest feat is finding confidence in suffering and flipping that into inspirational anthems that empower fans across the globe. Her legacy is showing countless artists how to perform the same miracle decades later. Jonathan Patrick
With Steve Wariner, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Choctaw Casino Resort, 4216 S. Highway 69/75, Durant, OK, $25-$45
Hailing from Long Beach, New Jersey, by way of Kirby, Texas, Clint Black is playing Choctaw Casino Resort for some boot-scootin’ fun. The silk-smooth baritone took his inspiration from the likes of Waylon Jennings, George Strait and Willie Nelson, so it comes as no surprise that Black was a fixture on the country music charts in the ’90s and early 2000s. Black’s style is a far cry from the bro-country pop that seems to be the choice du jour nowadays. He sings a more traditional brand of country filled with lonely nights, ruined relationships and the occasional beer. His last album, On Purpose, was a welcome surprise after a nearly decade between albums, and it lived up to Black’s legacy, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard U.S. top country albums chart. So if you’re looking to dust off your dancing boots, then this is a show guaranteed to get you and your friends two-stepping into the night. Nicholas Bostick
DJ Wanz Dover
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, Ships Lounge, 1613 Greenville Ave., 972-707-7234 or shipslounge.com, Free
Wanz Dover and a rotating guest list of some of the city's best soul DJs throw a retro party, touching on funk, soul, psyche rock, surf, protopunk, garage rock and other assorted old school jams, every Saturday night at Ships Lounge. With tunes from Velvet Underground to Otis Redding, this weekly Lower Greenville gig is a great alternative for those not wanting to brave Deep Ellum on its busier nights. It's truly a night dedicated to perfect dive bar jams for mods and rockers of all stripes. Diamond Victoria
9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8305 or sundowndfw.com, free
Berklee alumnus Nigel Newton and Dallas native Brianne Sargent met in 2011 during an impromptu show, which resulted in three original songs on the spot. They are now known as Skinny Cooks. They have an impressive horn section backing them up and a penchant for mixing jazz, 20th-century classical, funk and psychedelic rock. The result is a sound that defies genre norms. Diamond Victoria
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