The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: Florence + the Machine, Elm St. Fest & More
Reverend Horton Heat flies the Elm St. Music and Tattoo Fest flag this weekend in Deep Ellum.
Springtime in North Texas means perpetually wondering when (and not if) Mother Nature is about to stop playing nice. Last weekend, the weather cooperated and didn't throw out any unpleasant surprises, much to the benefit of Homegrown Fest and JMBLYA. This week? Well, we'll see. One thing's for sure, though: Elm St. Music and Tattoo Fest and these many other great shows in Dallas should all be going ahead as planned, sunny skies or not.
7:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar, 214-421-2021 or southsideballroomdallas.com, $37
The manic energy and unrestrained emotion transform ballads into anxious, shout-along anthems fueled by insecurity, like the Wedding Present channeling Morrissey's self-doubt. And the live performances are somehow even better. Overall the Neighborhood's songs (from their one and only album, last year's I Love You) are pleasant and haunting, soothing enough to be good background music but hummable enough to make good singalongs too. But their real secret weapon is the soulful, puppy-dog voice of front man Jesse Rutherford, who's not above a little pouting if its suits his purposes. He is a walking swoon waiting to happen. Chris Gray
Florence + the Machine
With Grimes, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $30-$89.
Florence Welch's voice is unlike any other you'll hear on the radio. Her band, the Machine's, quaint musical arrangement is archetypal of a world-class indie band, but it's Welch's voice that will stick with you. In the band's 2008 hit single, "The Dog Days Are Over," they used the hell out of a steady tribal beat as Welch carried the song with her blues-inspired howl. And while they're still comparatively young in the decades-old indie rock music scene, the Florence + the Machine moniker has somehow crept up into the timeless name category. Since 2007, the English band has kept their ongoing world tour and continues to draw crowds to see them play their last few successive hits, especially "Shake It Out" and "What Kind of Man," which both made the U.S. charts over the past few years. They're still riding on their latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, with all its drama-filled glory. Pablo Arauz
8 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $22-$24
Glasgow's Scott Hutchison, an art school grad who tired of drawing, picked up a guitar five years ago and hasn't looked back. His shambling, jangling indie pop with Frightened Rabbit recalls the sweet, guileless, ramshackle charm of '80s Scottish twee poppers The Vaselines and The Pastels. Steeped in fragile honesty, Hutchison's songs are an unyielding ache expressed with unusual frankness. Lamenting his ex-lover's departure on "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms," he sings, "Armed with the past, and the will, and a brick/I might not want you back, but I want to kill him." The manic energy and unrestrained emotion transform ballads into anxious, shout-along anthems fueled by insecurity, like the Wedding Present channeling Morrissey's self-doubt. And the live performances are somehow even better. Chris Parker
7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., clubdada.com $15-$18
A young band can sound retro, look vintage and act super hip, but that doesn’t typically mean the group is any of those things. Since there’s a massive difference between being outdated and getting better with age, an older group can often come off as out of touch. None of this applies to the pioneering rockabilly group the Blasters, though. Led by Phil Alvin, the Los Angeles-based outfit has repped So-Cal and all that has long been celebrated as cool and boundary-pushing form the punk and roots scene that also birthed X, Los Lobos and the work of Phil’s visionary brother, Dave, a co-founder of the group that still performs with as a member on occasion. Go ahead and discuss the origins of alt-country or cowpunk (or whatever it is), without examining the merits of the Blasters' 1981 self-titled album. Leave that out of the equation and you will be exposed as a fraudulent poseur. The band has long described its sound as “American Music,” and indeed the blazing mix of punk, roots, blues, and R&B is an epic enough one to warrant such a sweeping moniker. The Blasters don’t simply sound American; they create and embody American music. Kelly Dearmore
Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival
With Reverend Horton Heat, the Bouncing Souls, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls and more, 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 20 to 21, in Deep Ellum, elmstreettattoomusicfest.com, $33-$53.
Deep Ellum's Elm Street Tattoo Festival usually happens every Friday the 13th, but not this time around. As a matter of fact, the last one happened just about six months ago with an abundance of choice acts, great tattoo artists, comedy appearances and that guy who inked up his whole body and has a weird lizard tongue. In comparison, this weekend's mini-fest is a little pared down with only two nights (down from three) and mostly just bands, but it still features some hard-hitting classic punk acts, including U.K. vets Angelic Upstarts, Midwest ogre-core Off With Their Heads and the Bouncing Souls from Jersey. The Scandals open up that show on Friday night, which is a rare occurred given that they've gone virtually unheard of for several years. Local rock 'n' roll luminary, and festival co-founder, Reverend Horton Heat headlines alongside Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls and the Dictators from New York. Of course, the festival's atmosphere still centers around the tattoos, which you can get for a deal at various neighborhood shops. Then the challenge is trying not to mess up a new tat in the pit — but that's up to you. Pablo Arauz
With the Doobie Brothers, 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or dallaspavilion.org, $36-$145.
Don’t stop believin’ that Journey will ever stop touring, because it's likely think they never will. This American rock band has been pumping out hits (read: playing “Don’t Stop Believing” to crowds) since 1973, as formed in San Francisco, California. Journey has 14 studio albums, with their latest, Eclipse, having been put out in 2011. The band reached peak stardom in the early-to-mid '80s, with their 1981 release Escape being their only album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Frontiers in 1983 was a close second, coming in at No. 2 for the year. In 1998, Journey replaced frontman Steve Perry with a new Steve, Steve Augeri, was then replaced by Arnel Pineda, the current lead singer, in 2007. But with all the reserve members filling out classic rock band lineups these days, 13 rotating members for a five-man band ain't too bad for a band that's been at it for 40 years. Sara Button
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, Arlington Music Hall, 224 N. Center St., Arlington, $20-$85
After nearly five decades of pumping out boisterous blues-boogie rock, the current and mostly-English iteration of Foghat comr through to remind Arlington that they really just want to make love to you. While most of the '90s kids might only remember Foghat from tapping brightly colored buttons in time to their mega “Slow Ride,” the band is still screeching out slide-guitar riffs and is set to release their 19th album, Under the Influence. Foghat crowd funded/curated the new album through a rather successful Pledge Music campaign hope to have the album out to backers and fans by late-June 2016, but in the meantime you can join the party live and in concert at the Arlington Music Hall. Original Foghat drummer, Roger Earl, will set the tempo against Charlie Huhn’s slightly harder vocal styling of Foghat tunes new and old, as he has since the death of “Lonesome” Dave Peverett in 2000. Long-time Foghat bassist Craig MacGregor and “Play That Funky Music” guitarist Bryan Bassett will round out the sound as part of one of the best line-ups in the band’s history. Nick Bostick
With Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or dallaspavilion.org, $32.50-$72.50.
Because life ain't fair and the world is mean, Jason Aldean somehow still has a thriving career. After more than a decade of warbling his particular brand of mediocre country, the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year is still riding high. No doubt, this week's show will be packed full of boot-wearing bro-country enthusiasts who paid good money to listen to such hits as "Back Road Anthem," in which they'll have the pleasure of hearing Aldean try to rap. It isn't going to be a good show by any stretch of the imagination, but there is surely some redeeming value. Perhaps you'll get a tan or something. Amy McCarthy
With Soak and Sleepwalkers, 8 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, Sold out.
The Lumineers' “Ho-Hey’d” itself into pop-culture stardom a few years ago on the heels of the folk-pop boom, instigated by fellow suspender-lovers Mumford and Sons. With tweed vests, kick-drums and precious lyrics in-hand, the trio went from obscurity to ubiquity relatively quickly. Grammy nods, national commercials and packed festival dates kept the stomping “Hey, Ho” shouts ringing in our heads for longer than most of us wanted it too. With the Denver-based trio’s latest record, Cleopatra, the indie-folk pedal remains politely pressed to the metal, and, wouldn’t ya know it, it really sounds fantastic. It might qualify as a guilty pleasure, but only if we felt any acutal guilt about digging the rustic strums and perfectly neat melodies. Overall, the record isn’t as poppy as the last one, but it's every bit as engaging. After a couple of tracks, it’s damn near impossible to keep from air popping your fake suspenders while playing air-banjo and air-kick drum. The Lumineers are fun and there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself when indulging your inner folk-popster. HEY! Kelly Dearmore
Eagles of Death Metal
With Thelmsa and the Sleaze, 8 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $25-$35.
The Eagles of Death Metal soldiered on for years as this under-the-radar band’s band, floating in the orbit of desert metal machine Queens of the Stone Age. The fact that the duo of Queens head Josh Homme and singer-guitarist Jesse Hughes were playing at the Bataclan in Paris when terrorists struck last November was a devastating experience, but if any band is equipped to overcome such tragedy the Eagles are it. Every band under the Homme brand is a guaranteed, electric blues-driven rocker guaranteed to kick up dust and sweat on listeners while they shake their asses singing Hosanna. 2015's “Zipper Down,” for isntance, is a plea for freedom, flooding with punchy, laser-like synths and demands for the listeners to loosen up and live in the moment. Homme and Hughes are what Paul Stanley would call rock ‘n’ roll preachers, galvanizing their fans into a self-actualizing frenzy. Come over to the House of Blues and have a good time, but mind your ears. Caleb Wossen
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