August is officially here. This means we're one step closer to the kids being back in school and the Texas Rangers being put out of the misery they call the 2014 season. But before we get to all that, how about we indulge in a little weekend fun? These are the best shows Dallas has to offer this weekend.Ben Kweller
With Amy Cook, 8 p.m. Friday, August 1, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $24-$38 Ben Kweller has a long and storied past in North Texas. As one of the founding members of Radish, a Greenville band that sat just on the cusp of buzz-band status before fading into oblivion, Kweller and his bandmates did plenty of rocking around Dallas and greater North Texas. As a solo artist, he has enjoyed wide indie success and a few trips up the pop charts. "Wasted and Ready," the song that he's probably best known for, is also his highest-charting track to date and gave us "sex reminds her of meat and spaghetti," one of the most ridiculous song lyrics of all time. The 2000s have largely been filled with collaborative efforts with other musicians, like his "The Bens" tour through Australia with Ben Folds and Ben Lee. Friday night's show at the Granada promises to be a fun trip down memory lane, even if you missed out on the Radish days of yore.
7:30 p.m., August 1, at Courtyard Theater of Plano, 1509 H Ave., 972-941-5610, $10 They're a band that hails from our very own Fort Worth and while they typically don't stay in one box, dabbling in a little rock, pop rock and Texas country, they seem to have a pretty steady and supportive fanbase. In 2012, the fans solely funded the band's "Under Fire" album through a Kickstarter campaign. That album featured the songs "Dancing Shoes" and "Heart of Me." And if giving fans weren't enough, MTV also seems to think they're all right because several of its shows, including "The Hills" and "If You Really Knew Me," have featured a Green River Ordinance song at one time or another. We're not suggesting this is an indicator for longevity in the music world, but it certainly doesn't hurt the cause. Be sure to go and check out what MTV executives see in this five-member band.Paige SkinnerDa Mafia 6ix
With World Life, Tunk and the Outfit, TX, 8 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com $25 It's been an eventful year for the former members of prescient hip-hop crew Three 6 Mafia. Juicy J made it big with the dance-hop album Stay Trippy. Co-founder Lord Infamous passed away with a heart attack. And, triumphantly, DJ Paul reunited most of the group, renamed them (for legal reasons) Da Mafia 6ix, and then proceeded to release a true-to-form mixtape, 6ix Commandments. Fortunately, 6ix Commandments was a satisfying return to the graveyard moods and devilish productions of the crew's early days, which did a lot in the way of erasing the bad taste left by Three 6's late-period follies. The past year also proved to be a moment of redemption, as the proto-trap prophecies Three 6 pioneered two decades ago were firmly suffused into the mainstream; in so many ways, 2013 was the year trap finally went public. With a proper reunion album in the works and rumors that DJ Paul plans to bring Infamous' casket along for the tour, it might just be the right (and most macabre) time to finally catch the Mafia's circus live.Jonathan PatrickRay LaMontagne
With the Belle Brigade, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 214-565-1116 orliveatthemusichall.com $50-$65 Although he's often compared to such heavyweights as Otis Redding and Van Morrison, singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is much more akin to folks like Steven Stills and Tim Buckley. Such a distinction is crucial. Where Redding and Morrison made transcendent music that crossed genre lines with amazing ease, Stills and Buckley were talented but flawed artists who stumbled as much as they succeeded. LaMontagne does have an impressive voice and his songs have a sincerity missing from many like-minded tune smiths. He's really good -- but he's not great. That being said, LaMontagne's show at a drastically underused venue should provide a romantic date night for those couples who don't mind their folk-rock on the raspy side.Darryl SmyersSoulja Boy
8 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at The Prophet Bar, 2513 Main St., thedoordallas.com, $20-$30 2007 was a year when every race, gender and age was performing, or rather attempting to perform, the famous dance moves from Soulja Boy's "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" hit. Since then, the rapper has given us some more hits, including "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" and "Pretty Boy Swag" among others that are more lyrical-driven, like "Only God Knows" and "The World So Cold." While we enjoy those, we're really looking forward to the club hits. And we aren't promising a choreographed flash mob to happen when Soulja Boy does decide to perform "Crank That," but we're just going to put it out into the universe and hope dreams do come true.Paige Skinner
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8 p.m. Sunday, August 3, at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., 214-880-0202 or attpac.org, $79 Listen, you're going to see Sarah McLachan at the Winspear Opera House because you love puppies, '90s movies with Nicholas Cage, the Cinder Calhoun character from Weekend Update, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. All joking aside, McLachlan is a 26-year veteran of the music business and has used her fame for much more than personal gain. She's used it for social change through the creation of the Lilith Fair tour, the establishment of a music school and advocacy for the ASPCA. Her latest album, Shine On, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200, and by all reports her tour of North America's most prestigious venues has been an intimate affair akin to a victory lap. So gussie yourself up for a special occasion. Who knows, it might even benefit some puppies.Jaime-Paul Falcon