I'm not gonna lie, you guys, Robert Plant is one of my longtime idols, so anything below the blurb that Gavin Cleaver wrote below about him and his new band, The Sensational Space Shifters, is purely filler (KIDDING!). The important thing here is that Robert Plant is legend. He is coming to town. And if I didn't already have a family reunion planned for this weekend, I'd be there faster than a sensational space shifter.
OK, now that THAT is out of the way, go check out who else has must-see shows happening in your city this week.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Thursday, June 20, at The Palladium Ballroom, $50 While Mr. Plant's voice may not be the spellbinding force of nature it was many, many years ago, and while the continuing separation of a Page from his Plant might be a thorn in the side of classic rock lovers around the world, there is no denying that Plant's vocals color the music of a generation. In fact, the sound of that banshee wail tackling thorny subjects like Middle Earth has proven so timeless that it's never once drifted out of fashion since Page and Plant (with more than a little help from something of a rhythm section) began tearing up music as we knew it. Plant and his band the Sensational Space Shifters have chosen to open their U.S. tour at the Dallas Palladium. I am reliably informed (by reliable, I mean the Internet) that more than a few "classic" numbers will be included in the set list for the evening. So, if like me you are but a child who was unfairly denied the chance to ever see Robert Plant do anything live, here is your chance. Right now. And that is how you write a Robert Plant preview without using the words "Led" or "Zeppelin" once. Apart from just then. -- Gavin CleaverRyan Thomas Becker, Warren Jackson Hearne, Sydney Wright, Daniel Markham Thursday, June 20, at Hailey's Club, $5/$7
If you're looking for a primer on the new cream of the songwriting crop in Denton, this show is a damn fine place to start -- top to bottom, the bill is full of inventive, affecting talent. Check outDaniel Markham's freshly released album
for an idea of what to expect.--Kiernan MaletskyThe Flatlanders Friday, June 21, at The Kessler Theater, $20-$30
The country supergroup (and namesake of this blog) will play a sold-out show at the best-sounding room in the city that believes in its own lies.--KM
Slaid Cleaves Friday, June 21, at Dan's Silverleaf, $10 Austin musician and singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves wasn't always a Texas boy. He is originally from up North, but has been an Austin resident for the past couple of decades, so I guess that qualifies him as a Texan by this point. At least I hope so, because the New York Times wrote a few years back that Cleaves was one of the best singer-songwriters to come out of Texas in a while. Cleaves usually writes a bunch of sad folk songs, which is A-OK by his fan base, but he switched it up a bit for his latest release, Still Fighting the War, on which he actually does a bit of yodeling. Check it out, then see him in Denton, where he says he always has a good time. -- Rachel Watts
Old Warhorse Saturday, June 22, at Dan's Silverleaf, Free If you're in the Denton area on Saturday night, you best get yourself to one of the sexiest shows of the evening: Old Warhorse -- which doesn't sound like a sexy name, but has all of the blues, soul and rock 'n' roll that you could ask for. You'll probably get a little mention too, since the band, headed up by Chris Welch of Pinebox Serenade, is recording their live album at Dan's that night. Did I mention it's free? -- Rachel Watts
Best Little Brewfest In Texas Saturday, June 22, at Texas Motor Speedway, $30/$75 Nothing says Texas more than a beer festival at the Texas Motor Speedway in the middle of summer. The year's first-annual Best Little Brewfest in Texas promises all sorts of goods for the 21-and-up crowd, like more than 150 craft beers from more than 50 breweries, to the backdrop of Texas country, folk and roots music from these guys: Mockingbyrd Station, Chrome Headers, The Knocking, Rob Donnelly Band, Ashley Bradbury, Ryan Ready, Aaron Burton, Deanna Wendolyn, Clay Shelburn, Troy Murph, Rob Connely, Luke Holman, Zack Verner and Gary Norris. Food and swag are promised too, especially if you're one of the $75 VIP ticket types. Otherwise, it's $30 for general admission, and all proceeds go to Cloud 9 Charities, for their Alzheimer's caregivers support and teen suicide prevention programs. -- Rachel Watts
Eleanor Friedberger Saturday, June 22, at City Tavern, $13 It's not surprising that the 36-year-old female half of the Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger, went to great lengths (literally) to create the album art for her versatile, excellent and aptly entitled new album, Personal Record. A few weeks ago, the Illinois-born indie-pop songstress told our sister paper L.A. Weekly that she ended up trekking 2,800 miles with her photographer to Southern California's famed Laurel Canyon neighborhood for just the right aerial shot to adorn her follow-up to her stellar Last Summer. As is the case with her striking album art, Friedberger's songs as a solo artist are intricate portraits possessing more complexity than they seem to on first listen. Of course, the album's bare-bones title doesn't really hide much in terms of what you can expect, but a bleeding heart won't be heard here, just real stories from a real artist. -- Kelly DearmoreKe$ha and Pitbull Sunday, June 23, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, $63-$608
On Sunday, two incredibly strange pop stars unite Wonder Twin-style to take over Gexa Energy Pavilion. How did we get here? Well, after a few years working as a songwriter, Ke$ha was handed a mic and delivered "Tik Tok," which has sold more than 14 million copies. She followed that up by melting minds onSNL
with a performance that's really hard to describe, then there were collaborations with Juicy J and the Flaming Lips. Late last year she put out her sophomore album,Warrior
, and drank her own urine on MTV. Meanwhile, Pitbull was signed by Luther Campbell, made a guest appearance on a Lil Jon track and was sent to Alaska as part of an internet joke. He broke through into the mainstream with "I Know You Want Me," which is the song that taught you how to count to three in Spanish.-- Kelly Dearmore
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Metalachi Sunday, June 23, at Trees, $10 Metalachi is the world's first heavy metal mariachi band, and they're coming to Dallas to bring an Old Mexico feel to some of America's outlaws of rock's greatest hits. Following in the footsteps of KISS, GWAR and Spinal Tap, these classically trained mariachi rockers are bringing their own brand of metal to Trees on Sunday. Wearing a studded sombrero and Lennon-inspired sunglasses, lead vocalist "Vega De La Rockha," violinist Maximillian "Dirty" Sanchez, guitarron player "Poncho Rockafeller," guitarist Ramon Holiday and trumpeter "El Cucuy" barrage the audience with metal riffs empowered by Old Mexican folk leads. "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Crazy Train" and "Raining Blood" are just some of the altered hits that send fans' heads banging by the end of the evening. It's the perfect genre-bending combination, a culture clash years in the making. No one knows the true identity of the sombrero-wearing outlaws. The band's website bio reads like one of Cheech & Chong's horrid pipe dreams: five brothers racing their burro across the desert, in hopes of reaching the other side where Black Sabbath's Paranoid album waits to send them into mariachi hell. But wherever the brothers hail from, their "adults only" show will be a night to remember. -- Christian McPhate
Cyndi Lauper Wednesday, June 26, at House of Blues, $40-$75 We should thank the heavens that Cyndi Lauper exists. She's Our Lady of The Flowers, the original Riot Grrl, and she has survived because unlike her new-age contemporaries, there's substance beyond her style that resonates with fans, keeping her relevant all these years. Her resume is nothing to fuck with either. She's sung the themes to Pee-Wee's Playhouse (under the pseudonym Ellen Shaw) and The Goonies, won two Grammys (1985's "Best New Artist" and 1988's "Best Performance Music Video" for "Cyndi Lauper in Paris") and played one of my favorite characters ever, the ditzy psychic Sylvia, in one of my favorite films, 1988's Visions. At 59 she's as sexy and talented as ever. See her Wednesday at the House of Blues with Hunter Valentine. Go and worship accordingly. -- Lee Escobedo