The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: Smashing Pumpkins, Duran Duran & More

Party like it's 1979 with Smashing Pumpkins this weekEXPAND
Party like it's 1979 with Smashing Pumpkins this week
Paul Elledge

Poor Billy Corgan. He can't seem to escape the press for too long. Whether he's spotted frowning on a rollercoaster or starting wrestling tournaments, it seems like most days aren't exactly the greatest for Corgan. But hopefully it can be one of your better days when you go see them at the Majestic this week. Alternatively, you could catch the alternative offerings of Say Anything or The Coathangers (opposite ends of the spectrum, but still). Or maybe go check out funk legend and recent Kendrick Lamar collaborator George Clinton at House of Blues. 

Lucinda Williams
With Buick 6, 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, April 18 and 19, at Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $34

Lucinda Williams has always sounded wise and weary, but never has she seemed as comfortable with that role as on last year's Blessed. Williams achieved an alt-country masterwork early in her career with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and wound up a household name somewhere around the considerably less-acclaimed West. These days she doesn't seem so concerned about the critics, the charts or her own hulking shadow, and this week we are the lucky host of a legend deep in the groove. For three straight nights, in fact: After playing at the Kessler on Sunday night, Williams is sticking around for two more nights, the first of which (tonight) is sold out. There are still tickets for Tuesday, though. Kiernan Maletsky

Smashing Pumpkins
With Liz Phair, 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, at Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 214-670-3687 or liveatthemajestic.com, $45-$65

Largely ruling with both an iron fist and an ironclad sense of purpose, Billy Corgan has pretty much turned the Smashing Pumpkins into a one-man band. Long gone are D'Arcy Wretzky and James Iha, two founding members and likely the most recognizable players from the group's mid-'90s heyday. While drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has returned to the fold for a third go at things, Corgan has otherwise blasted through a variety of session men and women throughout the past decade, while keeping the Pumpkins moving forward in fits and starts. While new material has continued to flow, it's those '90s stalwarts that keep the fans in the seats and the money in Corgan's pocket. While he can come across as abrasive, phobic and bitterly conspiratorial, Corgan keeps things interesting and fluid, musically. This tour finds him alternating between a solo acoustic set and pared down rock, light on the bombastic psychedelia and instead heavily focused on the moodiness and texture of the song craft. Recent reviews have noted positive energy and good vibes emanating from the Corgan camp; feelings that must have been on high display last month in L.A. when Iha joined Corgan onstage for the first time in close to two decades. While it's unlikely folks here at the Majestic will witness a repeat of that scene, it's hopefully not too much to hope for a couple spins around the current songs in Corgan's head and a searing rendition or two of "Today," "Disarm" or "1979." Jeff Strowe

Duran Duran
With Chic, 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $29.95-$144

'80s new wave hitmakers Duran Duran are finally coming back to Dallas, and boy has it been awhile. They were last scheduled to play a headlining gig in the area in 2008, but had to cancel the show due to an ear infection for keyboardist Nick Rhodes. Since then they opened for Kid Rock in 2011, but hey, that was with Kid Rock, which has Dallas fans feeling hungry...like the wolf. Before that, you'd have to go all the way back to 2005 to find the last time the band last Dallas, a whopping 11 years ago. So while that's been altogether too long, we are grateful they’ll be here, even if it is on a Tuesday night. The four-piece band released their latest album, Paper Goods, last September and they’ll supposedly be playing only about one-quarter worth of new music, with the remaining time spent on the classics – which, of course, is what everyone really wants to hear anyway. Sara Button

The Darkness
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $25-45

A girl once asked me, "Do you like the Darkness?" and without knowing she meant the name of this band, I became fairly concerned. Though they were formed in the 2000s, the Darkness refuses to let go of the glamour of '90s hair metal, with the wall of sound guitars and the piercing falsetto vocals. Most importantly, they made sure to continue the tradition of making space odyssey music videos with foil linde spacesuits. The music might not have been revolutionary, but that cleavage sure is. MW

Grace Potter
With OJR, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., houseofblues.com/dallas, $27.50-$45

Much of sultry pop-rock singer Grace Potter’s career has been about learning to balance her considerable vocal prowess with the kind of collaborative spirit capable of producing something greater than the sum of its parts. For many years, this meant weighing her outsized personality against the soul-tinged, 70’s-shadowed, Vermont-grown jam-rock vibe of her backing band, the Nocturnals. With 2015’s Midnight,
however, Potter has emerged a fully-fledged solo artist in her own right, directing the same collaborative energy which produced festival staples like “Stars” and “Paris (Ooh La La)” towards even more eclectic musical influences, all while retaining her soulful core. Only a sure-footed artist could go into the studio with Eric Valentine, a producer best known for his work with bands like Taking Back Sunday and the All-American Rejects, and end up with something that draws in soul-rock and Donna Summer, gospel and
MGMT. It’s a safe bet that this renewed energy will convert to the stage, as well. Elliot Wright

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
9 p.m. Friday, April 22, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., houseofblues.com/dallas, $29.50-$49.50

George Clinton and his traveling party know as Parliament Funkadelic are once again rolling through Dallas to bring the funk and the fury. Funkadelic has seen its shares of ups and downs over the years, but Clinton has persevered through it all and is still making relevant new music, collaborating with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Soul Clap. Clinton shows are still unpredictable, with so many musicians coming on and off stage throughout the show it’s hard to tell just how many people are are actually in the band. I counted 40 people on stage at the peak of the last show I saw. Funk, gospel, R&B, rock and soul all blend together into unified funky voice of controlled chaos. Clinton is one of the last of the original funk pioneers that is still making his rounds on the tour circuit, and there is still nothing else out there that is quite as grand in the realm of soul music. Wanz Dover

The Coathangers
8 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $12

Hailing from Atlanta, the Coathangers are a trio of pissed-off women who gleefully spew the kind of subject matter that most find repugnant. In other words, they are a pretty damn great punk band that doesn't give a shit whether or not you find them offensive or even like them at all. The Coathangers are at their best on stage where Crook Kid, Minnie and Rusty can strain the definition of unruly. This is ugly music that is unaffected by the pretense that can affect many all-female acts under the ironically misogynistic guidance of labels and promoters. Any fan of true punk rock needs to give this band its due. Darryl Smyers

Off the Rails Country Music Fest
With Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Sam Hunt and more, 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23, at Toyota Stadium, 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco, offtherailsfest.com, $55-$799

Tequila and Jesus—Blake Shelton is plenty drunk on both these days. Soused on spirits and spirituality alike, Shelton’s current immersion in booze and the Bible seems to have sprung from the same source: His divorce from fellow cosmopolitan country star Miranda Lambert, which has catalyzed enough heavy-breathing from supermarket tabloids to fog the windows of every Costco in Texas. Shelton’s two most recent singles, both taken from his forthcoming new album, If I’m Honest, due out May 20, can be read as a reflection of his recent marital tumult. First, there’s “Came Here to Forget,” a tempestuous slow-burner that opens with a skittering electronic beat, in which empty hearts are filled with Budweiser and barroom hook-ups. And then there’s “Savior’s Shadow,” a full-on gospel paean that could be seen as a call for repentance. These are the two poles of Shelton’s career: On one hand, he’s country’s smooth-talking, winking cad, a honey-voiced horndog with populist appeal. And yet Shelton also sees himself as a pious preservationist of traditional country values, a self-professed “front-porch sittin', guitar pickin', moonshine sippin', ‘backer juice spittin' country boy from the woods,” as sung on “Kiss My Country Ass.”
It’s a delicate tightrope to walk, and if Shelton occasionally does a face plant into a briar patch of cliches, well, there’s always Jose Cuervo to help soothe his scrapes. Jason Bracelin

Laura Stevenson
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $12

It's been a good year or two for female singer-songwriters who prefer to stay indoors, although Laura Stevenson might be more of a Waxahatchee than a Courtney Barnett. Her bedroom musing indie rock is refreshing, whether she's imagining life as a Jellyfish or writing a song for someone who's still holding a torch for her, she uses deft wordplay and metaphor to write songs with unexpected punchlines. And though her guitar style is fun and lighthearted, it's balanced out by her introspective lyrics and heavy self-awareness. Though she's already proven herself plenty, she's someone to keep an eye out for in the coming years. MW

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
With the Saratones, at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., treesdallas.com

Thao Nguyen is an endlessly creative and fiercely artistic songwriter. But her brand of indie pop is also an absolute blast; party music is a very fair way to describe it. We the Common was one of the best albums of 2013 and Dallas’ own John Congleton produced it. It also featured several guests, including Paul Alexander and McKenzie Smith from Midlake. Nguyen’s latest album, A Man Alive, was produced by Merrill Garbus from tUnE-yArDs. It expands on the hip-hop sounds of its predecessor and is driven by beats and bass, rather than guitar. After starting out with a folky sound, Nguyen seems to have found funk and a proclivity for manipulating sounds. This could easily be one of the best shows of the year. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down make unpredictable, joyous music and it would be no surprise if there are some special guests sitting in for this performance. Jeremy Hallock

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