The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: City & Colour, Kacey Musgraves & More

Kacey Musgraves makes her first proper Dallas appearance since releasing her acclaimed Pageant Material.
Kacey Musgraves makes her first proper Dallas appearance since releasing her acclaimed Pageant Material.
Courtesy the artist

Ah, Texas. No matter how many times you've experienced it, there's nothing quite like braving 25-degree nights followed by a low of 65 the next day. And this week's shows are just as scattered and unpredictable: Screamo singer turned folk musician Dallas Green is coming to, well, Dallas, and Reel Big Fish are still going strong with their Californian ska-punk. Or if neither of those suit your fancy, you could always mind your own biscuits with Kacey Musgraves and avoid the risk of your life being anything but gravy.

Breaking Benjamin
8 p.m. Monday, January 18, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $35-50

For better or worse, Breaking Benjamin got a disproportionate size of its fanbase from writing a song for the Halo 2 soundtrack. The band's lead singer (named, you guessed it, Benjamin) has the kind of singing style that either delights or infuriates you. His strained vocals can come off as whiny and certain intonations feel like he's channeling Creed, but he's got a powerful delivery that meshes well with the alternative-metal band. Matt Wood

The Funky Knuckles
10 p.m. Monday, at The Free Man, 2626 Commerce St., Free

The Dallas-based Funky Knuckles are virtuosos, through and through. They seamlessly jump between jazz and funk while maintaining perfect rhythm throughout complex time signatures. Their arrangements are dense, but that doesn't exclude people who aren't technical musicians themselves. Even if they're playing in an almost made-up melodic key, there's still a huge amount of soul thrown into the mix. Matt Wood

Marianas Trench
8 p.m. Tuesday, January 19, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $25

Marianas Trench is a Vancouver-born quartet in the same vein as the pop-punk wave that overtook your local mall in the mid-2000s. The nasally vocal delivery combined with peppy, upbeat rhythms sounds like it came directly from a kid who wears a checkerboard tie with T-shirts. But since they're Canadians, you can’t get upset with them for wanting a slice of the genre — even if it had to be pop-punk. MW

Reel Big Fish
With Suburban Legends and the Maxies, 8 p.m. January 20, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $20

I was once a huge Reel Big Fish fan. I caught on to them from a couple ska punk comps, and then saw them five times between my senior year in high school and my sophomore year in college. I remember being drunk at some house party during my first semester at TCU, where “Sell Out” came up on a mix CD. After yelling along to the entire song in a kitchen with my friends, I explained to some girl waiting in line for the keg how that song was about the Aquabats, a band that was literally turned into a cartoon. Though not as drunk as I was, she was tipsy enough to make out with just about every dude at that party, provided they said anything, literally anything other than a sentence starting with, “That song’s about this band from Orange County called the Aquabats.” That kind of earnest dweebitude is less embarrassing years later, but I kind of feel like the guys in RBF would’ve made fun of me, certainly then, if not still now. For some reason, songs like “She Has a Girlfriend Now” and even “Beer” make them sound like mean-spirited dorks witlessly griping about being friend zoned, though I’m not sure if the icky connotations of that phrase had been articulated and/or disseminated when these guys were ruling alt-rock radio. Still, that “Beer” song has some hooks that are hard to escape. My brain is stuck on them right now. Steve Steward

City & Colour
8 p.m. Thursday, January 21,  at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $32-45

What do you do at the peak of your hardcore screamo career? Start your country folk side project, of course. Dallas Green, guitarist and vocalist for Alexisonfire, took on the moniker “City and Colour” to release acoustic songs he’d been writing since he was 14. Listening to his honest, vulnerable lyrics accompanied by a strong familiarity with blues and folk, you’d never guess that Green was moonlighting in a screamo band. Maybe all the yelling mellowed him out for this tranquil side project. MW

Kacey Musgraves
7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 21, at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., $35-$45

In the last year, there has been no brighter light in country music than Kacey Musgraves. With just two albums, the East Texas girl (she’s from Golden, just outside of Mineola) has been able to shake up the country music establishment and force her way into the mainstream. Now she’s riding high as one of the genre’s biggest stars. In support of her second release, Pageant Material, Musgraves’ “Rhinestone Revue” at Majestic Theatre will undoubtedly be one of the best country shows of the year. Last year, Musgraves made the jump from Granada Theater to the much larger WinStar World Casino up north in Oklahoma. Now that she's back visiting Dallas proper, it will be interesting to see how Musgraves transitions from indie sensation to bonafide superstar. Amy McCarthy

Railroad Earth
With Wood & Wire, 8 p.m. Friday, January 22, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com $24-$35

Known as the home of the Boss and Bon Jovi, New Jersey hasn't ever been much of a roots or bluegrass hotbed. But for 15 years, jammy bluegrass-flavored outfit Railroad Earth has done its fair share to turn that image around. Not that Railroad Earth is a traditional bluegrass act, mind you. Their albums feature drum, piano and jazz-elements embedded into progressive, predominantly acoustic arrangements. In a live setting, the six-piece is more String Cheese Incident-style jam than Ricky Skaggs-style trad, thanks to a keen ability for improvisational collaboration that's never stale and always evolving from show to show. From playing short, early slots at folk and bluegrass festivals, to headlining sold-out shows in Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre, this group of musical innovators show that roots music exists wherever they are at a given time. Kelly Dearmore

Futurebirds
With Susto, 8 p.m. Friday, January 22, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $12-$14

In the world of folk rock, there are many imitators. Wheel the dial on the genre for the past few years, and you’ll hear a lot — a lot — of whiskey-soaked, faded jean rock purporting to be real-deal heartache and true-blue American rock. Futurebirds is a genuine, always-underrated entry: Since their first album, Hampton’s Lullaby, in 2010, the Athens, Georgia group has released an ageless sound that ranges from early My Morning Jacket to that-70’s-band-you-have-on-vinyl-that-no-knows. Their September 2015 release, Hotel Parties, is less dreamy, less washed-out than their previous album (Baba Yaga, 2013), and all unpretentious American rock 'n' roll. One listen to “For You” and you’ll hear the sound of closing down a bar, solo, bourbon neat. Wheel the dial back to Hampton’s Lullaby, and you’ll hear something bigger: “Yur Not Dead,” big and bold harmonies and driving drums, was one of the best folk rock albums of that year. As a live act, the band is impressive, straight-forward American rock that you’re supposed to play loud. No doubt speakers will bulge at this can’t-miss Club Dada show. Nick Rallo

Trae Tha Truth
With Slim Gravy, Mike Caesar, Rizzo Blaze and Curtis Mayz, 8 p.m. Saturday, January, 23, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $16-$66

Trae Tha Truth is an understated Texas legend born from the streets of Houston. He's established a decades-long rap career while developing a loyal underground following by putting his harsh experiences on record and maintaining a tenacious, unwavering front that’s garnered respect in the rap game far and wide. Trae Tha Truth broke out of Houston’s iconic rap scene as a member of DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Click but has since transitioned to working with T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint, where he’s set to release Tha Truth Part Two in February, which boasts an impressive amount of features from Young Thug, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign and more. All of which demonstrates the respect Trae Tha Truth has earned over the course of his career as well as his evolution. Mikel Galicia

Asleep at the Wheel
4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 24, at The Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $20

Freewheeling and eclectic, Asleep at the Wheel have been one of the most important forces of Western swing since the 1970s. More or less picking up the torch left behind by the king himself, Bob Wills, they have played a huge role in keeping the genre alive. They have not only kept these sounds from disappearing in country music, but also updated the art form. Asleep at the Wheel’s live performances have received much critical acclaim and you can expect to see around 10 musicians on stage, a mere snapshot of a collective that has featured over 80 members over the years. But there is no mistaking frontman Ray Benson for anyone else. At 6’7” he has been towering over the band for over four decades. Benson grew up listening to a variety of music, particularly jazz, and covers of songs by Louis Jordan and Count Basie have been particularly memorable over the years. Jeremy Hallock


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