Let's Do This: Portugal. The Man, Grouplove, Jason Mraz, Juicy J
Jen Rosenstein, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center
8 p.m. Friday, August 29, at Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $25-$30
Fun fact about critically acclaimed neo-soul singer Bilal (born Bilal Sayeed Oliver): He was discovered in his teens by none other than the drummer of the Spin Doctors. Did you also know that the band that would become the Spin Doctors was also a side project for John Popper? Be careful of the Wikipedia rabbit hole when you have things to do, because it's probably fewer than six clicks between the man who wrote the "The Hook" and learning about proboscis worms. Anyway, over the course of 20 years, Bilal has collaborated with the Roots, Erykah Badu and practically anyone else you can imagine who would record songs with the Roots or Badu. He's also recorded four increasingly compelling R&B albums. The most recent, 2013's A Love Surreal, is a groovy journey of otherworldly funk, Rhodes-driven jazz and sweaty R&B that sounds like a Quiet Storm broadcast from 2075. Steve Steward
Grouplove and Portugal. the Man
With Starfucker, 7 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St., 214-421-2021 or southsidemusichall.com, $37.75-$39
I'm 99 percent sure that Portugal. the Man fans have formed some sort of cult around the band's music — which is not to say "cult favorites," but a literal cult with ceremonies, traditions, robes and chanting set to fuzzy indie rock. Such is the devotion to the Alaskan group that I have heard of fans pulling the Deadhead move and following the band around on multiple tour stops, trips that cover dozens of states and thousands of miles. That's dedication. Meanwhile, co-headliner Grouplove have conquered alt-rock radio and the festival circuit with inoffensive dance-pop that's driven neon-clad teens into a frenzy worldwide. On top of all that this show also features the insanely catchy Starfucker, the band responsible for the world's greatest Cyndi Lauper cover. So get there early, hydrate and dance your little heads off, kids. Jaime-Paul Falcon
8 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-624-7117 or billybobstexas.com, $15-$28
Since the early '90s, Travis Tritt's characteristic long hair and Southern-rock vocals have been a fixture on the airwaves. You probably remember him from "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," the honky-tonk hit that made him a country mainstay. In the later years of his career, Tritt has earned a reputation as a bit of an "outlaw" in country music, especially as his rough-around-the-edges, Southern-rock-and-blues-influenced tunes stood up against the slicked-up likes of George Strait. At Billy Bob's Texas on Saturday, Tritt will visit Texas in his natural habitat: the honky-tonk. Shine up your boots and get ready for a show that will assuredly be 100 percent country — even if country isn't so country anymore.
Pickin' for Preemies
3:30 p.m. Monday, September 1, Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-624-7117 or billybobstexas.com, $25
One would be hard-pressed to point out an annual benefit show in the past decade that's had as much impact as the annual Pickin' for Preemies show. This year marks the ninth edition and it will again benefit the Cook Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This star-studded acoustic affair, spearheaded by popular Texas country DJ Justin Frazell of KFWR-FM 95.9 The Ranch in Fort Worth, is a major event on multiple levels. Not only has this event raised an unbelievable amount of money for the care of prematurely born children, but the talent on hand each year has been impressive. In 2007 a scruffy cowboy with barely a single album out named Ryan Bingham sat on one of the song-swapping stools and wowed the PFP crowd long before he accepted any Oscars. And that was during the night's first set. This year, Pat Green, Zane Williams, William Clark Green and Jason Eady are included in the 21-artist lineup. Kelly Dearmore
With Raining Jane, 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 2, and Wednesday, September 3, at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 214-880-0202 or attpac.org, $25-$75
Jason Mraz continues his run of pop success with his latest album, Yes! Written with all-female folk group Raining Jane and recorded at home at his avocado ranch in San Diego, it's the perfect counterpart to his earthy summer vibe, clear, old-crooner enunciation and Hallmark-card-lovey lyrics. The completely acoustic album, laced with sitars and piano, takes him from the shouting-from-the-rooftops bold declarations of past hits such as "I'm Yours" and "I Won't Give Up" to whispering sweet, subtle nothings to his audience. Mraz ramped up the intimacy for this tour by bringing along Raining Jane as cohorts and choosing to play smaller venues like the Winspear Opera House. Hopefully that will also allow him to continue his eccentric new habit of throwing avocados from the stage.
With T$, 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 3, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $35
Juicy J won an Academy Award before Martin Scorsese. Why? Because he is perhaps the most talented rapper-producer in the history of Southern hip-hop whose name is not DJ Screw and who isn't a member of UGK. Ever since soloing on the first Three Six Mafia track, "Slob On My Nob," J has been considered the leader of Delta hip-hop, a title that's going to be hard to pull away from a man who, with a single verse, made a Katy Perry track one of the best songs of the year. So, yeah, get your ass to Trees, pop your collar and sip some sizzurp, because Juicy J is who runs it, and he's gonna tear the club up. Jaime-Paul Falcon
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