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The Ten Best Shows of the Summer in Dallas

Yes, Erykah Badu again. Erykah Badu forever, in fact.
Yes, Erykah Badu again. Erykah Badu forever, in fact.
Mike Brooks

This summer Dallas brought the heat when it came to live music offerings. From Queen Bey's legendary turn at American Airlines Center to Greg Barrett's genre mashing Animal House party at Sandaga 813, there were plenty of shows we'll still be talking about this time next year. We've narrowed the field to the 10 that best represented the diversity and dexterity that Dallas is working hard to be known for.

This list is a good indication of the solid talent that rolls through this city on the regular and is mirroring the progressive challenges being put forth in our own local music scenes.

The Ten Best Shows of the Summer in Dallas
Mike Brooks

10. Chvrches at Granada June 6 Review To Chvrches frontwoman, Lauren Mayberry, I want to be your dog. These Scots make profusely powerful poppy jams, and the audience at the Granada that night was on her short leash, being pulled and kicked into whatever direction she barked from on-stage.

DEF RAIN "Enemy" from MLEER on Vimeo.

9. Vulgar Fashion, Def Rain, Jenny Robinson and -topic at Sandaga August 9

Mixing hip-hop and rock can be a dangerous experiment. Throw in "live art" and things can get even dicier. Animal House somehow avoided the tropes, and delivered one of the summer's most interesting concerts, featuring genre-pushing artists like Jenny Robinson, Vulgar Fashion, Def Rain and -topic.

The Ten Best Shows of the Summer in Dallas
Mike Brooks

8. The Sword at Granada Theater July 25

Web editor Gavin Cleaver's son already did a bang-up job breaking down these metalheads. These Austinites came to crush our skulls with their blistering guitar riffs and sweltering swill of metal salvation. For a hot night in July it was almost like the Apocalypse was upon us.  

Cyndi Lauper at House of Blues in 2011.
Cyndi Lauper at House of Blues in 2011.
Evan Clinton

7. Cyndi Lauper at House of Blues June 26

The baddest '80s pop star us with her presence this summer with a colorful and vibrant show, one that hasn't lost it's gleam after almost thirty years of celebration. Coming into town on the heels of the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions, the queen of all queens came and laid the smack down in the heart of the Bible Belt.

6. Lil B at Prophet BarAugust 1

Lil B made his first stop in the Big D a memorable one. A artist who relies heavily on performance and persona, Lil B was in full "happening" mode, bopping around the stage and preaching his doctrine of love, peace and "girltime."

Wonderland at the Kessler last year.5. Carolyn Wonderland at Kessler TheaterAugust 10

No one's programming is quite like the Kessler's. The kick-ass theater in Oak Cliff is choosy as hell with their programming, somewhere between lo-fi and grown and sexy. Carolyn Wonderland is the perfect example of the type of artist that graces the venue's stage. Wonderland kept things moody with her blend of blues and singer-songwriter stylings.

From the residency's second week, but you get the idea.
From the residency's second week, but you get the idea.
Roderick Pullum

4. Big Bang moves to the Travis Basement July 11 Recap

Many were stunned when they learned Sober would be leaving his post at Beauty Bar for the basement at The Travis, a venue with a varied history. At 10 p.m. on that first night, there were only a few people in the building. An hour later, the only free space to be found was at the center of the twerk circle.  

The Ten Best Shows of the Summer in Dallas
Mike Brooks

3. Red Bull Sound Select with Erykah Badu at Prophet Bar July 26 Review Red Bull is making a surprising amount of noise in the city's burgeoning art scene. Case in point, its inaugural Dallas Sound Select show with Erykah Badu as headliner and three of the city's best talents, Dustin Cavazos, Larry (g)EE and -topic.

2. The Nervebreakers at DadaJuly 27

Dallas punk prophets The Nervebreakers made a very rare reunion appearance in their hometown to play for a new generation of shit-kickers, 35 years after they opened for the Sex Pistols at the Longhorn Ballroom.

1. Beyonce at AAC

She came, she saw, she conquered. And then she got enchiladas as Mesa in Oak Cliff, outdoing Elvis as the neighborhoods most famous visitor.

See also: -The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List -The Ten Most Badass Band Names in DFW -The Best Bands in DFW: 2012 Edition -Photo Essay: The Tattoos of Dallas' Nightlife Scene

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