The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: Paul Simon, Ms. Lauryn Hill & More

Paul Simon is coming to Dallas. Rumor has it that afterward, he's going to Graceland.
Paul Simon is coming to Dallas. Rumor has it that afterward, he's going to Graceland.
Michael Ochs

The schizophrenic weather, and even more schizophrenic forecasts, have had us feeling more than a little all over the place in recent weeks. But with the April showers transitioning — theoretically, anyway — to May flowers, it may just as well that there's a bit of a break from the recently busy festival schedule in Dallas. This week, enjoy the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Sturgill Simpson and Paul Simon from the comforts of the great indoors, without having to worry about whether Mother Nature will be causing a ruckus.

San Fermin
8 p.m. Monday, May 12, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $13-15

On the surface, it'd be easy to see classical and pop music as polar opposites. But the world of baroque pop is proof that there's an unexpected harmony between pop melodies and classical arrangements. Ellis Ludwig-Leone (her own name is half classical, for God's sake) uses her flexible vocals to work around an arrangement of horns and pianos while singing about timeless topics like the perils of falling in love and the fear of growing older. In keeping her lyrics broad, it helps San Fermin connect the classical and modern by reminding us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Matt Wood

Tim "Ripper" Owens
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., $10

If you've decided to make your middle name "Ripper," you're essentially bound to be in metal forever. But for Tim Owens, former lead singer of Judas Priest, that shouldn't be an issue. Owens was actually in a Judas Priest cover band before being enlisted to sing for the actual Judas Priest in 1996. And even though he got pushed out due to the return of original lead singer Rob Halford, Owens had already made a name for himself and moved on to bands like Iced Earth, Beyond Fear and worked with Yngwie Malmsteen. If that doesn't solidify his qualifications as a metal singer, maybe remind yourself of his middle name. MW

Ms Lauryn Hill
7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or, $55

Ms. Lauryn Hill has graced the Billboard charts with hits like "Doo Wop (That Thing)” and "Ex Factor" since her start with the Fugees in the early ‘90s. It's her ability to elevate a typical song into a classic with her beautiful, soothing voice that has given her a special place among R&B and hip-hop worlds. While Hill hasn't officially released an album for two years, she contributed her talent to several songs on a soundtrack compilation for a documentary about Nina Simone. Although she was only supposed to record two songs for the soundtrack, she ended up recording six, much to the delight of critics who've called the release Hill's best work since her 1998 solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Over the years, she's also shown her support for various issues dealing with racial equality, such as her recent Diaspora Calling! show series to promote black artists from around the world. Both Hill’s music and her activism game is strong as she embarks on another world tour. Pablo Arauz

Flatbush Zombies
8 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at South Side Music Hall, 1135 S Lamar St, $25-30

Brooklyn rap group Flatbush Zombies separate themselves from the trend of most recent rap groups. Instead of squadding up like Migos with banging party anthems, Flatbush Zombies utilize clever wordplay and subtle production designed to highlight their lyrics. But the detail in their lyrics doesn't mean Flatbush Zombies make music you can't turn up to — it's the best of both worlds really. MW

The Gipsy Kings
7 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., $40-100

The Gipsy Kings, ironically, don't really make what you'd consider "gypsy" music, or at least not the idea of gypsy punk that Gogol Bordello has engrained in us. The Gipsy Kings are more rumba and flamenca oriented, with a bit of a pop twist. Their lyrics are not only in Spanish, but they heavily use an Andalusian accent due to their French origins. But their excited clapping, strumming and singing should transcend language and culture at The Bomb Factory and unite the audience with the lost art of the salsa. MW

8 p.m. Friday, May 6, at South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St., 214-421-2021 or, $30-$150
It’s pretty safe to assume this Atlanta rap trio has had the Dallas date of their tour circled for some time now, especially after this show was supposed to take place in February. This influential bunch who brought the Dab to prominence in pop culture and who are reshaping the American lexicon with their unique and ever-evolving lingo have an affinity for naming tracks after Dallas sports heroes. Emmitt Smith and, most recently, Dirk Nowitzki have been thusly honored—although no word yet on either making cameos. If that hometown connection isn’t enough to get you out to the show, the rare opportunity to see all three members together might do it. During their three years of monumental national success, legal troubles have made it a rarity for all three Migos to perform together on stage. Luckily for us, this will be the second time Quavo, Takeoff and Offset are all able to make it to a Dallas show. Now it’s just a matter of speculating which tracks they’ll choose to perform from their absurdly deep catalog, which includes one official studio album and over a dozen mixtapes. Mikel Galicia

Wild Belle
9 p.m. Friday, May 6, at House of Blues, 2200 N Lamar St., $15
Putting "Wild" as the first word in your band's name sounds like a gag from Portlandia, but Wild Belle avoids making themselves a cliche in any other way. Their psychedelic pop settles into funk and almost reggae grooves, staying far away from the straight rhythms of indie rock or the lithium-fueled bouncing of indie pop. Wild Belle's music slides through your inner ear, bending and oscillating around you in unexpected turns. MW

Sturgill Simpson
8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or, Sold out

2014's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music announced Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson to the world. His voice — deep, twangy and rooted in country as much as someone like Randy Travis or Waylon Jennings — boomed forth from the speakers with an authenticity made for Top 40 country radio. The subject matter of the songs, though, colored by hallucinogenic fever dreams and existential crises of doubt, proved that he was far too left of the dial for the mainstream charts. He's back with the follow-up, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, which illustrates just how much has changed. Simpson's profile has risen considerably with rave write-ups in the pages of GQ and The New York Times accompanying his appearances on  late-night TV. He's also discovered a love for Muscle Shoals soul and R&B, utilizing the Dap-Kings to bring a richer, more soulful sound to the proceedings. The new songs continue to bounce and swing, but burn with a subtle intensity worthy of Otis Redding or Van Morrison. Most importantly, Simpson has become a father, and that parental bond of love and affection shifts his lyrical focus away from the exploration of self-enlightenment towards advice and world-weary observation. As Simpson's venues have gotten bigger so has his band. A newly arranged seven-piece touring outfit should work well in filling the cavernous and sold-out Bomb Factory with this new musical direction. Jeff Strowe

Paul Simon
8 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, Sold Out.

Here comes Rhymin’ Simon, and for the first time in several years, he’s coming to Dallas all on his own. Singer-songwriter Paul Simon’s last visit to Dallas was a collaborative effort with Sting at the American Airlines Center in 2014. Unlike that star-studded arena tour, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer will be playing much smaller, more intimate venues for this upcoming tour, which should be much better suited to this mostjam-packed of storytellers. Simon makes two stops in the Dallas area this weekend, first with a show at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, followed by (I-35 construction provided, of course) Sunday's show at the Winspear Opera House. Mr. Edie Brickell (Simon married the Oak Cliff native in 1992) is touring in support of his newest release, Stranger to Stranger, which is due out June 3. Caroline Basille

With Chris Brokaw, 9 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St.,, $17-$20

Yes, Tortoise is still around, even it doesn’t make a big show about it. This year the band released its first album in seven years, The Catastrophist. While not well known to mainstream audiences, Tortoise was influential in the ‘90s. Instead of taking cues from punk, it incorporated all sorts of other interesting sounds into rock, like avant-garde jazz, classical minimalism, ambient and British electronica. The Chicago band is also made up of essential members of the Windy City’s music community, most notably drummer and producer John McEntire. Expect a seasoned ensemble playing several instruments and probably two drummers. But get this: Chris Brokaw is opening. He played drums for slowcore heavyweights Codeine and guitar for the blues-rock outfit Come, and both groups produced classic albums in the 9’0s. Since the early 2000s, Brokaw has focused on his own body of work, while undertaking countless collaborations along the way. In addition to his blues-rock solo albums, he has scored several soundtracks. You definitely want to go to this show. Jeremy Hallock

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