It may be a slow time of year, but the musicians playing in town this week don't know that. They're here to bring you all the entertainment you'll need before Monday has you checking what time the bars open after a long day of loafing on the sofa.
Julien Baker plays The Kessler on Wednesday night, The Prince Experience wants to take you back to 1987 and local experimental outfit Asukubus plays an album release show at Texas Theatre on Thursday night. And don't miss Friday night's roundup of the best in locally bred rap as Trees hosts Power4TheLocals3.
10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8305 or sundowndfw.com, free
The Funky Knuckles have been together for almost a decade. In 2014, the band's second album, Meta-Musica, hit No. 1 on iTunes’ jazz chart the first day of its release. The band has played with major national and local acts such as Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michelle, Talib Kweli, Puff Daddy and the Polyphonic Spree. The band also incorporates elements of improv and thoughtful compositions into its sets. Last year's release, New Birth, has seen much critical acclaim within the jazz community. Diamond Victoria
7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, the Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $18
A palpable world-weariness is burned into Julien Baker's songs. It lives there much like time and wisdom live in the old, compacted dirt of churchyards and battlefields. You can see it in the young Southern songwriter’s eyes every time she performs — there’s not one thing that’s insincere about this artist. Her lyrics are lived. Baker's rock music is skeletal but not brittle, time-worn but modern, confessional but also universal. With its religious subtext and longing for human connection, Baker’s songwriting is saddening the way most great art is saddening: It makes the world seem beautiful and full of opportunity while showing you why the world so often feels anything but beautiful. Baker's roaring voice sounds like it belongs to someone 10 times her size, and there’s comfort in knowing others feel lonely and confused, too. Jonathan Patrick
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, AT&T Performing Arts Center, 2400 Flora St., attpac.org, $29
Lee Greenwood knows how to pull heartstrings. The singer-songwriter behind “God Bless the U.S.A.” hails from southern California and was discovered in Reno after a stint as a blackjack dealer. Greenwood released a few pop albums with his band, the Lee Greenwood Affair, and spent nearly 10 years working by day and singing by night in Nevada. By 1981, he signed with MCA and landed squarely in the top 20 of the Billboard U.S. country charts. With seven No. 1 songs, Greenwood has become somewhat synonymous with U.S. patriotism. George W. Bush appointed him to the National Council on the Arts for a six-year term. Hearing Greenwood belt out Christmas standards, on the longest night of the year, no less, is essentially July 4’s answer to Mannheim Steamroller — and an awesome way to end 2017. Nicholas Bostick
The Prince Experience
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com, $20
We still miss Prince, his infectious stage presence, his perfectly trimmed goatee and his iconic music. If you never had the opportunity to see the The Purple One firsthand, now's your chance to fill at least most of that void in your heart. The Prince Experience is one of the best tributes to Prince around. Since 2002, Gabriel Sanchez has embodied the life and energy of one of pop music's biggest icons. Diamond Victoria
With Lily Taylor, Francine Thirteen and George Quartz, 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., thetexastheatre.com, $6
Queer- and femme-fronted experimental performance art collective Asukubus features visual art as well as musical improvisation. It delivers a blow to the patriarchy with primal screams that are also quite therapeutic. Asukubus' upcoming album, Painful is Silence, features 15 musicians on vocals, strings, synths, electronics, guitar and drums. Tonight's record release show at Texas Theatre will be supported by Lily Taylor, Francine Thirteen and a DJ set by George Quartz. Diamond Victoria
3:30 and 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Avenue, 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $58-$79
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra turns the exhausted holiday song on its head and delivers a spectacular concert of arena-sized proportions. It gives you chills while getting you into the holiday spirit. So why not ditch the cheesy caroling this year for a two-show opportunity to experience the holidays rock 'n' roll style? Better act fast on the early tickets; the 8 p.m. show only has solo seats available and may sell out soon. Diamond Victoria
With PJ Morton, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., houseofblues.com/dallas, $25.00-$49.50
Lyfe Jennings’ signature gritty falsetto earned him a place in the R&B world, but his legal troubles have stymied his career. The multi-instrumentalist had hit singles in “Must Be Nice,” and “S.E.X.,” released top 10 albums through major record labels Columbia and Warner Brothers, and graced the pages of high-profile magazines, but in 2010 he announced his retirement because he was preparing to serve a three-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempting to elude an officer. Jennings returned to the music world with his 2013 album, Lucid, and has since been trying to re-establish himself in R&B. As always, Jennings' vocals, acoustic guitar and socially conscious lyrics carry his music. R&B singer PJ Morton, who plays keyboard in Maroon 5, opens the show. Mikel Galicia
10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, Stereo Live, 2711 Storey Lane, 214-358-6511 or eventbrite.com, $10
Chuckie is one of the leading lights of the "dirty house" DJ scene. His ambitious work typically features high-pitched lead synths drifting and looping over a chorus of Latin-infused beats. Piercing lights sync up with the music, and fun stage props enhance the party vibe. In the studio, Chuckie has remixed for folks such as David Guetta and produced for 50 Cent and Kesha. If you need a break from the holiday family cheer, Stereo Live is the place to be Friday night. Jeff Strowe
With Raw Elementz, Rikki Blu, Coach Tev, Nick Bryant, K Saint, Chas Corey, Jay Lose and DeeJay Mike B, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $16
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Back for the third year, Nick Whitener, aka Raw Elementz, presents a night of local talent on one stage. Power4TheLocals3 will feature some of the area's best rappers and embrace the season with its Christmas/Star Wars theme. A Raw Elementz pop-up shop will also be in tow, along with food trucks and the chance to snap a few photos with Santa. The show will be streamed live via Stream Music TV on Facebook, but we recommend a firsthand experience. Diamond Victoria
With Flaco Jimenez, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $32-$48
Los Texmaniacs are the long-running project of San Antonio's Max Baca. Since 1997, they've mixed conjunto Tejano with a variety of styles, including rock and jazz. They’re promoting a 2017 release, Carta Jugada, with Flaco Jimenez. The Kessler’s acoustics will suit the acoustic guitars and accordion, which feature prominently in their oeuvre. Eric Grubbs