The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week: Van Halen, Oaktopia and More

Sarah Jaffe joins the huge lineup of bands playing Oaktopia in Denton this weekend.
Sarah Jaffe joins the huge lineup of bands playing Oaktopia in Denton this weekend.
Mike Brooks

Garth Brooks has been having a hell of a busy week. Over the course of the past four nights, the Oklahoma native has played six concerts here in Dallas. (Simple math indicates that, yes, six is more than four, which means a lot.) And he's not done yet: While he takes a hard-earned breather tonight, Brooks will be back for one last show at American Airlines Center tomorrow night. But there will be plenty more happening in Dallas the rest of the week, including Denton's massive, three-day Oaktopia Festival and a visit from the David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen on Wednesday.

Garth Brooks
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 22, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $74.98

After a career hiatus, Garth Brooks is officially in the middle of his epic comeback. Whether or not Chris Gaines’ alter-ego will be able to produce any music that even touches the greatness of his 1990s contributions to the pop-country landscape remains to be seen, but you should still make it to at least one of the seven dates that Brooks will be playing in Dallas, if only to say that you did. If reports are to be believed, Brooks is pulling out all the stops on his resurrection tour, complete with epic pyrotechnics and swooping displays of his “for the people” aesthetic. Whatever you think about Garth Brooks or his impact on country music, everyone can still get down on “Friends in Low Places,” and you might even have a little soft spot for “The Dance,” the first song you slow-danced to in middle school. Break out those obnoxiously printed western shirts and get prepared to party ­— Garth hasn’t been to Dallas in a long, long time. But the last time he was here, he filmed a TV special and broke a world record, which he promptly smashed with this five-night, seven-show stand, which kicks off Thursday and continues through the following Tuesday. Amy McCarthy

Lil Durk
With Hypno Carlito, 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 22, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $18

Straight out of Chi-town, Lil Durk released his first studio album this year after stirring up some buzz with a few mixtapes. The most identifiable influence — and one of his former touring partners — is of course Chief Keef, from whom he borrows some of his biting flow and haunted house beats. But what keeps 2015's Remember My Name interesting is his varied use of melodic hooks where his contemporaries would've frowned on it. After all, this is the year for melodic rappers, and he's made a substantial contribution to that trend. Matt Wood

Van Halen
With Kenny Wayne Shepard, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 23, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $31-$150.50

Thanks to Van Halen, guitar shops across the world have never been the same. Since “Eruption” was unleashed on the airwaves, generations of teenagers have hunched over amps and attempted to mimic the noodling of the band’s legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen. And though he may have been responsible for many blistered fingers and snapped guitar strings, Van Halen’s forever changed how people approach the guitar. The generational influence is even evident within Van Halen’s own touring band — the bassist is Eddie’s son, as if his influence wasn’t significant enough already. Matt Wood

Destroyer
With Jennifer Castle, 8 p.m. Thursday, September 24, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $18

Dan Bejar’s personal ode to love and its folly (a favorite word of his) hits town to provide some solidly danceable beats and the soundtrack to your next make-out session. We’re 11 albums into this grand experiment, and Bejar’s musical output doesn’t seem ready to slow down anytime soon, whether it’s work with Destroyer or Swan Lake; Hello, Blue Roses; or the New Pornographers. The dude just keeps writing and putting things out, because that’s what you do when you’re considered a “creative genius.” Far be it from us to disagree; 11 albums is a lot, and that’s not counting his releases with other projects. Bejar knows how to build and keep an audience, which is a major accomplishment in the current music climate. So go get your make-out on; you won’t be the only one in a cardigan sipping a craft beer. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Oaktopia Fest
With Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Minus the Bear, Polyphonic Spree and more, 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday, September 25 to 27, downtown Denton, oaktopiafest.com, $65-$111

For the third year running, Oaktopia Fest offers three days of live music and art installations in downtown Denton. The annual fest has an impressive bill this year, featuring over 100 diverse North Texas artists, such as The Polyphonic Spree, Will Johnson and Sarah Jaffe. Opening night is headlined by Father and particularly stacked with great local talent, including Kaela Sinclair; Blue, the Misfit; Dome Dwellers; Bukkake Moms; Tidals; and Def Rain. Saturday features Thundercat, who’s known for his incredible live performances, and the third day of the festival will present another chance to catch Mineral, the long-lost emo band from Austin. Beyond music, Oaktopia Fest will feature skateboarding, yoga, street performers and food trucks. The festival has also stayed true to its hip-hop roots, offering performances by Allan Kingdom, -topic, Sikwitit and Buffalo Black, whose recent album is one of the best North Texas releases this year. Jeremy Hallock

Ratatat
8 p.m. Friday, September 25, at The Bomb Factory, 2719 Canton St., 214-932-6507 or thebombfactory.com,$24.99

Ratatat have been on a five-year hiatus, leaving fans slightly skeptical about the project’s future. The band finally put any lingering doubts to rest with a new album, Magnifique, and a huge fall tour. The long-awaited album has been extolled by critics and fans alike, and on Friday the Brooklyn-based instrumental duo will play it for us at The Bomb Factory, one of Dallas’ newest and most popular venues. With a career spanning 12 years and a seven-album-deep catalog, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast know what they are doing. Will Ratatat still be as badass as they were at the Palladium in 2010, when they kept us dancing all night? Here’s hoping. Sara Button

Ry Cooder
With Sharon White, Ricky Skaggs and Homer Henderson, 8 p.m. September 25 at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $40-$80

Ry Cooder gave us the album Buena Vista Social Club, and that’s enough on its own to elevate him to musical god status; no other album has had such a significant impact on Latin music over the last 20 years. But that’s not even what Cooder is best known for. The Californian guitar slinger has worked with literally all of your cool uncle’s favorite bands: the Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, the Doobie Brothers, the Chieftains and icons such as Neil Young, Randy Newman and Eric Clapton. The dude has legit skins on his wall and that’s why he can pack out the Granada Theater twice a year — people want to see the man Rolling Stone once named the No. 3 greatest guitar player of all time ply his trade, and they’ll show up for Cooder until he decides to call it quits. The good news? That doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. JPF

Zedd
With Medeon and Alex Metric, 5 p.m. Saturday, September 26, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., 214-421-2021 or southsideballroomdallas.com, $40

Despite his signature electronic sound, Zedd is better known for playing the supporting role than being the frontman. He seems to know this himself, doing brilliant business by seeking out partnerships with the likes of Selena Gomez, Haley Williams, Ariana Grande and Foxes (their song, "Clarity," is undeniably his biggest hit). He's lent a helping EDM hand to different female vocal talents, and for better or worse, his use of heavy repetition will carve catchy choruses into your skull until they're permanently etched there. MW

Rise Against
With Thrice, Glassjaw and more, 5 p.m. Saturday, September 26, Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, verizontheatre.com, $20-$125

At a time when bands making music in the emo, alternative or post-hardcore subgenres were a dime a dozen, Rise Against stood out. They differentiated themselves from the other bands competing for slots on Vans Warped Tour by writing emotionally charged anthems that reflected a social and political awareness. The band of advocates will headline the second edition of the Pegasus Music Festival at Verizon Theatre with support from emo stalwarts Thrice and Glassjaw, plus many more. It’s the perfect night out for those craving a return to their good old Warped Tour days and some fine craft beer. Mikel Galicia

Vacationer
With Great Good Fine Ok, 9 p.m. Sunday, September 27, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $15

Vacationer's indie pop has an elusive quality to it that suits its escapist name. Even more fittingly, the use of vibraphones and islander-influenced percussion creates the tropical "Nu-Hula" effect that's infectiously joyous. 2014's Relief is an easy go-to album if you're swimming or soaking in some sun. Knowing Texas, that'll probably still be an option until at least November. MW

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