The Best Concerts In Dallas This Week: Judas Priest, Nicki Minaj and More

Nicki Minaj headlines a stacked hip hop show at Gexa this Friday.
Nicki Minaj headlines a stacked hip hop show at Gexa this Friday.
image via the artist

This week is an especially packed one in the Dallas music circuit. Judas Priest has a show on Monday. Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson play together on Wednesday. Nicki Minaj has a show on Friday with Dej Loaf, Tinashe, Rae Sremmurd and her beau Meek Mill. Death Grips have a show on Sunday. Read on to see the other picks for the week.

Judas Priest
7 p.m. Monday, July 13, at Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Pl., Grand Prairie, 972-854-5050 or verizontheatre.com, $29.75-99.75

For the true-blue metal fans out there, seeing Judas Priest perform is a nigh-on-religious experience. This English speed metal band has been going since 1970, so they have figured out exactly how to put on a show. And this isn’t the so-called Beach Boys, touring with only one original member and a bunch of other guys propping him up. Rob Halford is not only still hitting those high notes, his voice actually sounds better than ever. On an international scale, Judas Priest are considered one of the biggest and best metal bands of all time. They have played shows with larger populations than Grand Prairie, where this performance takes place. After appearing on The Simpsons and releasing an album that showed up in Billboard’s top 10 in 2014, Judas Priest are as big as they’ve ever been here in the States. If you're not a hardcore fan, then the elaborate leather boy wardrobes and hellacious stage design should make you want to worship at the unholy temple of teh devil horns. Jeremy Hallock

K. Flay
With Creepoid and the Orange, 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $10-12

K. Flay is a rapper from Los Angeles, California. She’s not exactly of the ilk of the gritty West Coast MC’s we’re used to; Kendrick Lamar or YG this is not. But using her vocals and rapping as well, she makes for a versatile act. K. Flay’s bright production puts her squarely in the realm of indie pop. Her debut album, Life as a Dog, pairs well with Gym Class Heroes and Macklemore – someone that Lamar happens to be plenty familiar with. HDB

Smashing Pumpkins
With Marilyn Manson, 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 15 at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $25-95

It's been a long time since the Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson were at their peak, dominating alternative rock radio and making you hate your parents. (The former act is eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of fame next year believe it or not.) To put it in perspective: it's been nineteen years since “The Beautiful People” and twenty since “1979”; which means eighteen years since I was you were wearing JNCOs, double-hoop earrings and chain wallets. Times have changed. Nowadays, both Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan — he of Courtney Love and Tila Tequila fame, Twitter rants, professional wrestling buffoonery and furniture commercials — and Manson seem more like cultural signifiers (however clever) than musical artists. Both are figures who are now more than ever at one with their images, images that have long since hilariously curdled into social media memes. Still, under the right light and chemical influence, these two alterna-rock demigods can still rock, goddamn it. The excitement in this tour lies in the unknowing, in its all-but-assured bat shit awkward wildcard factor. One thing's for certain: it's gonna' get weird. Jonathan Patrick

The Griswolds
With Wild Party, 8 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 orhouseofblues.com/dallas, $14
John Hughes will live on forever and that's perfect because he was a genius. The Griswolds are making a return to the silver screen this summer for another family vacation, this time with the son Rusty, as portrayed by Ed Helms' family. Hughes' influence traces even further than Hollywood remakes though. An indie pop band from Australia decided to name themselves after the family from the classic '80s National Lampoon's movies. The Griswolds are a carefree band focused on fun and dance heavy tunes who aren't afraid to throw down a little bit with a quick tempo. The Griswolds are quirky and their '80s fascination plays well with an energy that shouts neon lights and dance floor dreams. HDB

Kehlani
8 p.m., Friday, July 17, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $15-20

Usually, getting a knee injury is the death knell for an athlete. I mean, have you ever seen the film version of Friday Night Lights? Boobe Miles was in shambles. Kehlani, the Oakland bred R&B songstress, had her ballerina career shuttered by such an injury, but it opened up a fruitful music career. She was once in a band that got to perform on America’s Got Talent, but she’s found her true calling as a solo artist who brings a wonderfully contemporary and honest feel to a genre that too often deals in innuendos. HDB

James McMurtry
Johnny Burke, 7 p.m., Friday, July 17, at Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., $24

James McMurtry's father, Larry, is one of the greatest writers to have ever come from North Texas. He's got a Pulitzer and an Oscar and has conceived some brilliant characters all with the help of his brain. James was conceived with a different muscle (sorry, we went there), but he's equally as wonderful as, say, a Danny Deck. McMurtry inherited the greater writer gene, and has been putting his gift to use as a country singer for decades. He's touring with his son, the 23-year-old Curtis. HDB

Nicki Minaj
With Meek Mill, Tinashe, Rae Sremmurd and Dej Loaf, 7 p.m. Friday, July 17, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1 Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavillion.net, $30-119.50

Queen Nicki has always existed just outside the bounds of reality. Her warring alter egos and alien-inspired attire made her a distant figure, almost inaccessible at points. And although her rap game has never been questioned (see: "Monster" verse; her absolutely fiery mixtapes), it wasn't until last year's The Pinkprint that Minaj shared a vulnerable side. As a female in the heavily male-dominated world of hip-hop, you can't blame her for keeping her guard up for so long. But this latest release features some of Minaj's strongest verses alongside honest confessions from her notoriously private personal life. Straying from her dance and pop-influenced records of the past could easily spell commercial suicide for most in her position, but no one doubts that Minaj will stay on her pivot. She's secured her place as an undeniable, dominating female force in the boy's club of hip hop. The genre might be full of underground kings, but just watch Queen Nicki conquer those before her. Matt Wood

Imagine Dragons
With Metric and Halsey, 6 p.m. Friday, July 17, at American Airlines Center, 214) 222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $29.50-69.50

Ladies and gentlemen direct from Las Vegas, Nevada it’s the current holder of the “Why is This Band Popular? This Music is Terrible” title. Previously this title was held by such acts as Creed, Limp Bizkit and the dreaded Nickelback, all of whom rode the wave of “alternative music” to stardom. Imagine Dragons did the same, but they went about it slightly differently. The aforementioned bands came to prominence through post grunge, when guitars were king; Imagine Dragons came around pot-EDM, which means the guitars have been switched with synths and beat drops. Man, do Imagine Dragons ever provide the most watered down version of that sound. But hey! If you’re being dragged to this show at least you get to see Metric, who are a legitimately innovative and compelling band. At least you'll have that going for you, and honestly they’re worth dropping $30 on to watch. Just make sure you remember how good their set was when McDragon starts boring you to tears. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Tanlines
Mas Ysa, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $10-12

Knob twiddling electronic artists are birthed in the hallowed land of Brooklyn. Tanlines is from the Mecca and they bring scriptures in song. Their latest album came by way of a big stunt, with their website being reupholstered to look like Netflix. The duo of Eric Emm and Jesse Cohen bring buoyant and radiant music to the table, stuff lit up like Christmas lights at a mid-aughts Williamsburg party in the dead of July. HDB

STRFKR
With Giraffage, Shy Boys and Roosevelt, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20

Despite Timescape Fest’s—ahem—untimely cancelation, this electro pop trio won’t forsake our fair city. They were on their way through the state rounding out a southwestern leg of their tour with Shy Boys anyway, so why not plug in at Tree’s? They continue to gain momentum after landing tunes in a Target pharmacy commercial and last year’s film full of feels, The Fault in Our Stars. STRFKR’s always electrifying performance is sure to incite the dark and the lighthearted to raise their drink and dance. Expect trippy light shows and fun in whatever form the energetic group sees fit—there could be wild costumes, crowdsurfers riding rafts overhead, beach balls, streamer guns, or all of the above and more. This show will be a destination for many fans, so make sure to get your tickets in advance; the Houston show later in the week has already sold out. Anita Riot

Death Grips
8 p.m. Sunday, July 19, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20

Death Grips couldn't have picked a more appropriate way to deliver their break up letter to their fans than by writing in on a napkin and posting it on Facebook. They also couldn't have picked a better follow-up move than to release two new albums and go back on tour less than a year after the supposed break up. The Sacramento trio has a tumultuous history of canceled shows and collaborations, leaving many to wonder just how many of their actions are put-ons. In fact, on the napkin that announced “Death Grips is over” in the run-up to their scheduled Fun Fun Fun Fest appearance, they acknowledged that the band had always been a “conceptual art exhibition,” but claimed they were at their peak and it was a good place to stop. A great deal of a confusion and some abandonment trauma later, the group is back with not one but two new albums, The Powers That B and Fashion Week. The former is another 18 tracks of their heavy industrial punk hip-hop formula, with Stefan Burnett a.k.a. MC Ride's slim lyricism and occasional deep rage riding over Zach "Flatlander" Hill's sharp, blasting drums and Andy Morin's calculated beats. In contrast, Fashion Week consists of only the instrumental side of the group but still contains the same elemental rawness. Now they're touring and out to prove all the to-do was worth the trouble. Pablo Arauz


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