It's the Friday before a three-day weekend! We apologize for the exclamation mark, but our excitement is something we're not capable of hiding at this point. Mondays suck, so getting to skip them is kind of great. (Besides, we've already chronicled our love for Sunday fun days.) This weekend is full of great shows, so go ahead and grab a pumpkin spice latte (Starbucks started selling them uncomfortably early this year) and see some of Dallas's best shows this Labor Day weekend.
Fun fact about critically acclaimed neo-soul singer Bilal (born Bilal Sayeed Oliver): He was discovered in his teens by none other than the drummer of the Spin Doctors. Did you also know that the band that would become the Spin Doctors was also a side-project for John Popper? Be careful of the Wikipedia rabbit hole when you have things to do, because it's probably fewer than six clicks between the man who wrote the "The Hook" and learning about proboscis worms. Anyway, over the course of 20 years, Bilal's collaborated with the Roots, Eryka Badu and practically anyone else you can imagine who would record songs with the Roots and Eryka Badu. He's also recorded four increasingly compelling R&B albums. The most recent, 2013's A Love Surreal, is a groovy journey of otherworldly funk, Rhodes-driven jazz and sweaty R&B that sounds like a Quiet Storm broadcast from 2075.Steve StewardChimaira With the Plot in You, Upon This Dawning, Allegeaon, Silence the Messenger, Deathstar and Design of Destiny, 8 p.m., Friday, August 29, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $16
Due to numerous lineup changes over the course of 16 years, vocalist Mark Hunter is the only original member of Cleveland's Chimaira. Incredibly, the heavy metal band's sound hasn't deviated that much from the 2001 debut Pass Out of Existence to last year's Crown of Phantoms. Fans have complained about the loss of guitarist Rob Arnold, but Chimaira's severe version of groove metal is as potent as ever. It seems that it doesn't really matter what players Hunter surrounds himself with; the results over the years have proven remarkably consistent.Darryl SmyersGroupelove and Portugal. the Man With Starfucker, 7 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at South Side Music Hall, 1135 S Lamar St, 214-421-2021 or southsidemusichall.com, $37.75-$39
I'm 99% sure that Portugal. the Man fans have formed some sort of cult around the band's music - which is not to say "cult favorites," but a literal cult with ceremonies, traditions, robes and chanting set to fuzzy indie rock. Such is the devotion to the Alaskan group that I have heard of fans pulling the Deadhead move and following the band around on multiple tour stops, trips that cover dozens of states and thousand of miles. That's dedication. Meanwhile, co-headliner Grouplove has conquered alt-rock radio and the festival circuit with their inoffensive dance-pop that's driven neon-clad teens into a frenzy worldwide. On top of all that this show also features the insanely catchy Starfucker, the band responsible for the world's greatest Cyndi Lauper cover. So get there early, hydrate and dance your little heads off, kids.Jaime-Paul FalconTravis Tritt 8 p.m. Saturday, August 30, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-624-7117 or billybobstexas.com, $15-$28
Since the early '90s, Travis Tritt's characteristic long hair and southern-rock vocals have been a common fixture on the airwaves. You probably remember him from "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," the honky tonk hit that made him a country mainstay. In the later years of his career, Tritt earned a reputation as a bit of an "outlaw" in country music, especially as his rough-around-the-edges, southern-rock-and-blues-influenced tunes stood up against the slicked-up likes of George Strait. At Billy Bob's Texas on August 30, Tritt will visit Texas in his natural habitat: the honky tonk. Shine up your boots and get ready for a show that will assuredly be 100 percent country -- even if country isn't so country anymore.Amy McCarthyREO Speedwagon With Chicago, 7 p.m., Sunday, August 21, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., Dallas, 214-421-1111
What's crazy about the REO Speedwagon's 1980 hit machine/Trans-Am heavy-petting mood-setter High Infidelity is that the band was nine albums and 13 years into its career when it scored this millions-selling monster. The Beatles may have made more records in a shorter period of time, but what would you rather hear in a roller rink arcade while pining away for some older girl as your pitifullysmall Icee leaks syrup onto the buttons of a Space Invaders? "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" or "Keep On Loving You?" I guess it matters most where your nostalgia comes from, but either way, nostalgia will be the driving force behind one's decision to see the band. Speaking of which, yes, Kevin Cronin is still singing, but no, he doesn't still have that perm. His hair looks like Ellen Degeneres' now.SS
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One will be hard-pressed to point out an annual benefit show in the past decade that's been as impactful as the annual Pickin' for Preemies show has been. This year marks the ninth edition and it will again benefit the Cook Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This star-studded acoustic affair, spearheaded by popular Texas Country DJ Justin Frazell of 95.9 The Ranch in Fort Worth, is a major event on multiple levels. Not only has this event raised an unbelievable amount of money for the care of prematurely born children, but the talent that is on hand each year has been impressive. In 2007 a scruffy cowboy with barely a single album out named Ryan Bingham sat on one of the song-swapping stools and wowed the PFP crowd long before he accepted any Oscars. And that was during the night's first set. This year, Pat Green, Zane Williams, William Clark Green and Jason Eady are included in the 21-artist line-up.Kelly Dearmore