The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: Demi Lovato, Leon Bridges & More

Demi Lovato brings Nick Jonas to the American Airlines Center tonight, kicking off a busy week of Dallas concerts.
Rachel Parker

Anyone who's been perusing the Dallas Observer's extensive music calendar listings lately has likely noticed an influx of great artists stopping through town and local acts playing more gigs. There's something about this time of year that brings about so many good shows. This week only further proves the point with Demi Lovato inviting Nick Jonas on stage for something of a Super Tour at American Airlines Center, to Puff Daddy celebrating the success of his record label with the Bad Boys Family Reunion tour, and performances by Charley Crockett and Leon Bridges.

Demi Lovato
With Nick Jonas, 7 p.m. Monday, September 12, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $29.95-$99.95.

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have a lot more in common than you might think. Both former Disney stars, they were both born in Dallas, and these days their music careers can feel like a bit of an afterthought. All that training for overacting seems to have moved them further and further into the world of Hollywood cameo casting. Not that there's anything wrong with that, seeing Jonas was the fourth best part of Fox's Scream Queens. Lovato, meanwhile, has transitioned from Hollywood acclaim to activism, as she was one of the most high-profile celebrities to appear at the democratic National Convention this summer. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Crystal Castles
8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583, or houseofblues.com, $20 to $30

Crystal Castles have steadily gotten darker and more layered since their eponymous full-length debut in front of SXSW 2008 audiences. In the beginning their sound was sparse and jagged, with lead singer and millenial femme icon Alice Glass seeming to see Karen O and Trent Reznor as her spiritual mother and father. These days, Glass and partner Ethan Kath are making damaged electronic soundscapes that are nearly unrecognizable from their earlier work, and more akin to what Siouxsie Sioux began doing in the mid-'80s. The duo's live shows continue to be seizure-inducing workouts of sight and sound. Craig Hlavaty

Death Cab for Cutie
With Bully, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at The Bomb Factory,  2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, $39.50 to $55.

The last couple of times Death Cab for Cutie played the Dallas area, they were a part of major festivals, first KXT’s Summer Cut and then Edgefest. This year, they are playing a smaller venue (for them) with two touring musicians to fill the vacancy left by guitarist, keyboardist and founding member Chris Walla. And they're only playing with one other band (Bully). That means more time to play more songs, which is a good thing. They're still promoting Kintsugi, an excellent album released in 2015, and they're happy to play a lot of the older material people love to hear. Whether it's "Soul Meets Body," "Title and Registration" or "President of What?" the band has been playing a set on this tour that will make longtime fans happy. The core trio of vocalist and guitarist Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr keep walking the line between ragged indie rock and yearning emo, never being too much of either. You can expect The Bomb Factory to be packed as this will be an intimate show by the band's appeal these days. Eric Grubbs

Bad Boy Family Reunion
With Puff Daddy, Lil' Kim, MASE, Faith Evans, Mario Winans, 112, Total, Carl Thomas, The Lox, DMX and French Montana, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave, 214-222-3687, or americanairlinescenter.com, $60 to $150

Hip-hop can thank Sean "Diddy" Combs aka Puff Daddy for a lot of things — from creating the label that represented east coast rap throughout the '90s and '00s with Bad Boy Records to discovering Biggie Smalls. Twenty years in the making, the Bad Boy Family Reunion tour reflects the talent and friendship Puffy's label has created, cementing it as one of the industry's most influential in the hip-hop and R&B scene. The show pretty much features every urban radio hit spanning nine years, starting from when the label was young in '94, donning it a must-see event in hip hop history. Diamond Victoria

Beats and Eats with Charley Crockett
8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933, or granadatheater.com, $60.

Charley Crockett was destined to be an outsider. A mixed-race kid born into poverty in the Rio Grande Valley, he found refuge in the in-between spaces, first among the squatters of New Orleans and then as a busker in New York’s subways. He couldn’t have been anything but a blues musician. After a decade spent on the lam, waiting out a bad record contract in Los Angeles, Crockett is back home in Texas. His music is rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz. It’s the manifestation of a hard-lived life and it’s earned the attention of many in Dallas. Thursday, Granada Theater is hosting it's Beats and Eats night with Chef Graham Dodds of Wayward Sons serving up a four-course meal. Eva Raggio

Tegan and Sara
8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 214-880-0137, or liveatthemajestic.com, $30 to $35.

Writing blindingly sincere songs about insecurity and desire since 1995, Tegan and Sara Quin have transcended the limitations of twee heartbreak and grown into songwriters of impressive depth, clarity and style. The twin sisters were born in Alberta, Canada, and began writing songs together at the age of 15, recording demos in their high school's recording studio. Following tours opening for Neil Young and the Pretenders, Tegan and Sara have released a series of increasingly poignant and infectious albums over the years. Open about their sexuality, the Quin sisters have come to represent a new generation of LGBT musicians, artists whose naked humanity and love of indie rock eclipse the world of disco glitter and sweaty beats that once defined gay pop music. Josiah M. Hesse

Ryan Bingham
With Brian Fallon & The Crowes, 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S Lamar, 214-421-2021, or southsideballroomdallas.com, $25 to $55.

When you're in the business of selling records, it doesn't hurt to have a throaty, Tom Waits-like voice and pretty face. But Ryan Bingham is more than that. The rootsy, country-inspired musician surpasses traditional country music norms, especially with his latest album, Fear and Saturday Night, released last year and mostly recorded live with a brand new backing band. The epiphanic album follows his more melancholic release, Tomorrowland, written in the aftermath of his parents' deaths. After taking home an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe during his career, Bingham has remained original, compelling and hasn't let the country's agenda of making him a Nashville poster child mold his career. DV

Dinosaur Jr.
With Elisa Ambrogio, 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $39.

It’s been more than a decade since the proto-alternative, volcano-powered guitar-rock outfit Dinosaur Jr. reunited. In fact, they’ve been reunited for longer than they were together in the first place — reason enough that it should feel weird to even call their latest iteration a reunion. But what really makes it feel strange is that modern Dinosaur Jr. might be better than they ever were to begin with. They’re tighter than ever live, although the bar was pretty low if Chocomel Daze, their recently released recording of a 1987 concert, is anything to go by. They’re louder and more sprawling than ever in the studio, too (witness 2009’s Farm and 2012’s I Bet on Sky). Yet they still sound exactly like Dinosaur Jr. always did — especially on their latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, which could safely take You’re Living All Over Me’s place in 1987 without any significant disruption to the time-space continuum. Like Mission of Burma, they’ve pulled off the impossible: a revered rock band renewal with nary a whiff of legacy act stank. Elliot Wright

Upcoming Events

Scuba
With DJ Red Eye, 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at It’ll Do Club, 4322 Elm St., 214-827-7236 or facebook.com/itlldoclub, $15 to $20.

Scuba’s arc as a DJ and producer started as one of the original wave of dubstep producers to come out of the U.K. in the early 2000s. His music was always on the deeper sound design-driven side of dance music. By the time dubstep as a genre started leaning toward the ultra aggressive and got kidnapped into the EDM fold, Scuba was heading toward deeper techno pastures. His relocation to Berlin coincided with the rise in stature of the techno elite. Scuba’s label Hotflush Recordings transformed with him from its innovative bass music beginnings to a benchmark for modern techno and house. If Scuba’s headlining set at the world-famous Movement Festival in Detroit this past year is any indication, this gig promises to be one of the most cutting-edge and bombastic DJ sets It’ll Do has ever booked — equal parts underground street cred, big room techno and envelope-pushing experimental dance music. Wanz Dover

Leon Bridges
With Leanne La Havas, 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 214-565-1116 or liveatthemusichall.com, sold out.

Few names in music are as recognizable to DFW natives as Leon Bridges. Following the release of Coming Home in 2015, Bridges experienced rapid exposure to the larger musical landscape on the back of hit singles like “Coming Home” and “Smooth Sailin’.” His desire to revive soul and gospel and uncanny vocal similarity to the late Sam Cooke impressed even the most stalwart purists. It has earned him critical acclaim, a Grammy nomination, the opportunity to work with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and, most recently, a spot on President Obama’s summer playlist. Despite his recent ascension to stardom, Bridges has not lost touch with his Texas roots. He makes regular pilgrimages back home to play, including making unannounced appearances at his friends’ shows. This show marks his biggest yet in DFW, as he steps up from the Majestic Theatre (where he played last fall) to the Music Hall at Fair Park. Taylor Frantum


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