The Seven Best Concerts in Dallas This Week, September 12-18

Emmylou Harris plays Saturday at the Majestic.
Emmylou Harris plays Saturday at the Majestic.
David McClister

Seriously though, how excited are you Mumford & Sons fans? After canceling their show earlier in the summer due to health reasons, the boys are back in town. It's always nice to see a band make it up to the fans, and that's exactly what the indie folk/bluegrass darlings will do on Wednesday night. Show them some love, because everyone's favorite evangelical maniacs, Westboro Baptist Church, have announced plans to picket the band's Bonner Springs, Kansas, stop. Apparently, Mumford & Sons' unabashed support for gay rights is WBC's reasoning for planning to attend the show, but we're willing to bet they probably just really liked Babel.

fun., Tegan and Sara Thursday, September 12, at Gexa Energy Pavilion

When you name your band fun., there's a certain amount of pressure for your show to live up to the moniker. The New York-based indie-pop supergroup is made up of former members of The Format, Steel Train and Anathallo and has seen more mainstream success in the last few years than its members had in their entire careers. They have tapped a formula for high-energy and incredibly catchy anthems, which make for a very exciting and sing-along-heavy concert. Openers Tegan and Sara will provide a great start to the night with their guitar-strumming sister act. The duo has been consistently recording and touring since the twins graduated high school in 1998 and has built a substantial and well-deserved following.

Vanessa Quilantan
Dia De Los Toadies Friday, September 13 - Saturday, September 14, at Panther Island Pavilion

Since its inaugural weekend at Possum Kingdom Lake in 2008, Toadies' yearly festival has taken place in various Texas cities, including New Braunfels and Glen Rose. This year, the sixth annual Dia De Los Toadies will take place for the first time in the alt-rockers' hometown of Fort Worth. Friday will consist mainly of acoustic performances from Toadies, Pleasure Club's James Hall, Centro-matic's Will Johnson and an Eleven Hundred Springs side project, Matt the Cat Trio. Saturday will bring Gary Clark Jr., Eisley, The Dirty River Boys, Burning Hotels, The O's, Piñata Protest, Oil Boom, Baboon, The Cush, These Machines are Winning and School of Rock band -- Dean's List. Bring your swimsuit and be prepared for a uniquely Texas experience.

Elm Street Tattoo and Music Festival Friday, September 13 to Sunday, September 15 in Deep Ellum

Oliver Peck has generated a lot of goodwill in his time as the proprietor of Elm Street Tattoo. His annual festival, which brings in an array of world-class artists, is getting its most significant upgrade this year in the form of a three-day music festival at Trees, Wit's End and Three Links -- a venue he co-owns with Scott Beggs and Kris Youmans. The festival's lineup is a blue-collar dream of mostly Texas bands, including Reverend Horton Heat, Loco Gringos, Colorado's Drag the River and plenty more.

Tickets are on sale here.  
Zane Williams Friday, September 13, at Love and War in Texas (Plano)

Zane Williams has a big goofy grin and several identical dirty old hats. He's built an affable image over a steady career in Texas country, but it's an honest one. Which is important, because it takes a lot of goodwill from an audience to have a song based on "99 Bottles Of Beer" in your set list night after night and expect anyone to visit the merch table. But Williams does have such a song, and it is delightful -- he gets people singing along, he chugs a Shiner, he grins that goofy grin. His new album, Overnight Success, is so called because he has not, in fact, been an overnight success (again, seek subtlety elsewhere). By playing endlessly without betraying any weariness onstage, he's earned the kind of following that demands autographs and eagerly claws after that hat. And you can see him at least once a week in Texas this September. So consider this a more general reminder about a true showman and a songwriter who will keep you paying attention long after the gimmicks have run their course.

Kiernan Maletsky
Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Rhett Miller Saturday, September 14, at the Majestic Theatre

Emmylou Harris is as much a history project as she is a legendary folk and country singer/songwriter. From her liaison with the late Gram Parsons to her work with everyone from Dolly Parton to Bob Dylan to her political activism, Harris has been one of the most consistent and intriguing figures in music. Blessed with a perfect voice, Harris is also a seminal songwriter. Basically, she's unfairly talented, and she's been spreading that talent around for the better part of four decades. Whether it's her 1975 sophomore effort, Pieces of the Sky, or something as recent as 2011's Hard Bargain, the quality of Harris' material is staggering. Her recent collaboration with Rodney Crowell on this year's Old Yellow Moon brings the pair to the Majestic on Saturday to show why there's nothing better than country music done right. Rhett Miller brings some youthful spirit and pop sensibility to the proceedings.

Darryl Smyers
Mumford & Sons Wednesday, September 18, Gexa Energy Pavilion

Earlier this summer, the banjo-playing, suspender-wearing group of Brits who make up Mumford & Sons rescheduled their Dallas date when bassist Ted Dwane had to have emergency brain surgery. This was the one down note in a four-year barnstorm that the band's been on since signing to Island Records in 2009. Since then the band has taken over movie trailers, radio waves, music awards shows, festival stages and the Internet because of their amazing video for their single "Hopeless Wanderer." All of this makes Wednesday's show at Gexa Energy Pavilion feel a bit like a victory parade as the band's rather large audience has been waiting patiently to welcome them with open arms and loud cheers. Like it or not, the band has changed the style of music being delivered to the masses, and we should at least be thankful they saved us from Nickelback.

Jaime-Paul Falcon
Stardeath and White Dwarfs Wednesday, September 18, at Dan's Silverleaf, Denton

Stardeath and White Dwarfs are best known as constant touring companions of fellow Oklahomans the Flaming Lips. While the sonic similarities between the two have brought Stardeath a certain measure of underground notoriety, it hasn't hurt that lead singer Dennis Coyne is also the nephew of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. More than a mere hype band, Stardeath and White Dwarfs have an enchanting knack for imbuing chilly space-rock with warmth. But arguably their greatest skill lies in reworking other artists' material, a feature that is especially impressive when played out live. Having done song-for-song covers of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon and King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, the group has shown themselves oddly adept at using their love of psychedelic rock to honor the masterworks of their idols. Surprisingly, Stardeath and White Dwarfs' latest cover may be their most fascinating yet, having reshaped Kendrick Lamar's radio hit "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" into a squelchy prog-rock vision. Wednesday at Dan's Silverleaf, there are sure to be enough cascading neon lights and kaleidoscopic acid-fried effects to captivate even the most cynical of Dentonites.

Jonathan Patrick

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