Big Freedia plays Trees Friday.
Big Freedia plays Trees Friday.
Stephen Masker

The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Jason Isbell, Dezi 5, Big Freedia and More

If you weren't able, or willing, to face the crowds for any New Year's Eve shows, you're in luck. This week offers a soundtrack just as exciting, with lots of local favorites and mainstays in soul, dance, pop and synth.

Dezi 5
With 88 Killa, Party Static and Ursa Minor, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, free

Winner of the Best Live Act award at the 2016 Dallas Observer Music Awards, Dezman Lehman is a showman like no one else.  After gracing stages throughout Dallas, Lehamn, who performs as Dezi 5, moved to New York. But he's back this week for a post-New Year's show with other local favorites. Best EP winner 88 Killa joins the bill, as well as Party Static and Ursa Minor. Diamond Victoria

Tomar and the FCs
With Peterson Brothers Band, 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, Three Links, 2704 Elm St., threelinksdeepellum.com, $10-$12

Austin band Tomar and the FCs takes soul music to the next level. Since 2015, the band has been a mainstay in its genre with energy to spare. Lead singer Tomar Williams puts his blood, sweat and tears into each performance, making it almost impossible not to get up and dance along. Diamond Victoria

Happy Birthday, Joe Cripps! with Brave Combo
With Brent Best, El Nuevo Mi Son and Isaac Hoskins, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., 940-320-2000 or danssilverleaf.com, $10

For more than 35 years, Denton-based Brave Combo has been delighting us with its wonderfully original polka and off-kilter approaches to classics such as The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze," along with original salsa, cha-cha-cha, samba, cumbia and plenty of other musical styles. The Grammy Award-winning band has received plenty of national attention with numerous albums but is no stranger to the small venues of North Texas. And while the search is still on for missing member Joe Cripps, Brave Combo continues to play for those who love the music. Diamond Victoria

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
With James McMurtry, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5., the Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, $45

Put on your best pair of cowboy boots and get ready for a double dose of Americana. Jason Isbell and James McMurtry head to Dallas for the second show of their 2018 tour in support of Isbell’s latest album, The Nashville Sound. The record has been the former Drive-By Truckers guitarist’s most critically acclaimed to date, earning Isbell his first CMA Award nomination and a chance for a Grammy for best Americana album later this month. Isbell also was designated the 14th artist-in-residence of Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum last October. McMurtry, the son of Texas icon and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Larry McMurtry, hasn’t released an album since 2015’s Complicated Game, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart. Both artists are known for their deep and thoughtful lyricism, Isbell’s painted by characteristic softness that matches the melancholic self-reflections he explores. McMurtry evokes an almost Jim Carroll-esque sense of humor with his music. Nicholas Bostick

Big Freedia
With Boyfriend, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20

Big Freedia is a pioneer of the bounce hip-hop scene, a New-Orleans-born micro genre of rap that builds bangers out of chaos and glitchy beats. As one of the music’s most recognizable figures, Big Freedia has been spreading the gospel of bounce since the late ’90s, collaborating with artists across all genres to bring more exposure to a style mostly clustered throughout the South. Even amid sprays of future-shocked beat programming and looming bass, the emcee’s voice stands tall, a throaty and imposing delivery that finds a center between Danny Brown and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Since her earliest singles, Big Freedia has exuded ambition and originality. Some things never change. Jonathan Patrick

Josh Abbott Band
10:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, and Saturday, Jan. 6, Billy Bob’s Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, 817-624-7117 or billybobstexas.com, $20 and up

Josh Abbott and his band of fellow fraternity brothers have come a long way from their humble beginnings spent gigging for beer money in bars around Texas Tech University. The past several years have seen their star steadily rise as the drunken collegiate audiences have multiplied to include festival headlining slots, high-profile celebrity fans, and song placements in big-budget film and television soundtracks. Ever the Texans, though, the band members still tend to reserve a large portion of their touring schedule for shows in the Lone Star State. Friday night's performance at Billy Bob's will likely bring out the best in the band, with its raucous mix of bare-bones country, ruminative songwriting and sweet Texas soul serving as the perfect remedy for your post-holiday blues. Jeff Strowe

Matthew Logan Vasquez
With Daniel Creamer, 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, Three Links, 2704 Elm St., 214-653-8228 or ticketfly.com, $15

Matthew Logan Vasquez is the frontman of Delta Spirit and a founding member of alt-country supergroup Middle Brother. He pens buoyant, celebratory numbers that are catchy enough to be featured in hit television shows such as Friday Night Lights and Sons of Anarchy, as well as pensive, heartfelt ballads that can bring a tear to the eye. This dichotomy is on full display in his live shows, regardless of whether he's performing solo or with a backing band. Onstage, Vasquez gets a little wild; his show at Three Links on Saturday is likely to feature storytelling and audience singalongs. Jeff Strowe

Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd E., 214-350-1904 or gasmonkeybarngrill.com, $20/$22

David Lowery will work double duty as frontman of both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven on Saturday. The San Antonio native has toured the world with both of his bands for decades. Camper was a college rock staple in the 1980s, and Cracker had mainstream success in the ’90s thanks to singles such as "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" and "Low." Think of this show as killing two birds with one stone. Some people prefer one band over the other — and there are plenty of others who like both — so this should make longtime fans quite happy. Bundle up, though, as this show’s outside at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill. Eric Grubbs

Holodeck Records presents Kwaiton
With Troller, Samantha Glass, Curved Light and Jake Schrock, 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, Alamo Drafthouse Dallas, 1005 S. Lamar St., drafthouse.com, $15

Austin-based Holodeck Records is a vinyl and tape label that promotes and represents modern artists who contribute to the rebirth of synthwave. The style of music pairs perfectly with certain films, and that's exactly what Saturday night's show at Alamo Drafthouse Dallas offers. During a screening of the 1965 Japanese film Kwaidan, four of the label's most exciting artists, three from Austin and one from Dallas, explore the genre through experimental modular synths and vintage hardware electronics. They'll play a live rescore along with the film. Diamond Victoria

Caterpillars
With The Idle Kind, Home Above and Ghost Pilots, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, The Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., 214-887-6510 or double-wide.com, $10

Dallas band Caterpillars has become nationally recognized over the past few years thanks to its unique blend of acoustic and digital drums, melodic guitars and use of synth while creating a sound that salutes the early days of indie rock. Diamond Victoria

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