When putting together this week's list of best concerts, it was hard to overlook the animal theme among the band names: Pedro the Lion, Escape From The Zoo, Psychedelic Panther, Hippo Campus and Wolf Alice all made the list this week, so if you're on the prowl for good music, there are plenty of tickets to get your paws on. Also this week, dance maniacs Electric Six return to North Texas Thursday night, while Grammy-winning folk artist Sarah Jarosz plays two nights at The Kessler. On Friday night, Vanilla Ice and Young MC headline a property-wide '90s party at The Statler downtown. Early next week, The Band of Heathens bring their brand of comfort-rock to Fort Worth and Dallas' favorite out-of-town band North By North makes a 4/20 stop in Denton. This is just a really fun list of shows to get us into the heart of the spring.
7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Tulips, 112 St. Louis Ave., $16 at prekindle.com
Do you like to dance? Seriously, do you really want to just absolutely let go on the dance floor to the sounds of hard rock, glam metal, surf and who-knows-what? Well, then get ready for a hot and sweaty night with Electric Six at Tulips in Fort Worth on Thursday. Over the course of about 20 years and just as many albums, Electric Six has kept the energy going with songs about fast food, fire, sex, dancing and masculinity (with tongue planted firmly in cheek). The band has claimed that most Electric Six songs are really about nothing, and honestly, we will grant them that. Lyrically, there isn't a whole lot to read into but there is much with which to laugh along. What makes Electric Six a band worth seeing is the absolute spectacle of it all. This is a band that wants each and every single member of their audience up, dancing and having the best of all possible times.
Pedro the Lion
7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $25+ at prekindle.com
Formed by multi-instrumentalist David Bazan in 1995, Pedro the Lion began as an entirely solo project with Bazan playing nearly every instrument on the band's first EP and following two full-length albums. For about 10 years, Bazan would play with a rotating cast of musicians to bring the project to life for another two albums and four EPs, but in January 2006, Bazan dissolved the Pedro the Lion project to pursue his solo work again. The project lay dormant until 2017 when Bazan announced that the project would return with drummer Sean Lane and guitarist Erik Walters. The band has released two albums as a trio, including the band's latest release, Havasu, which was released in January. The album is the second in a planned pentalogy, with each album representing a different town in which Bazan spent his childhood. Brooklyn singer-songwriter Oceanator opens the show.
Escape From The Zoo
8 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $15 at seetickets.us
Wrapping up its spring tour in support of its first release on Fat Wreck Chords, Houston-based thrash-punk band Escape From The Zoo plays Thursday night at Three Links in Deep Ellum with local support from punk bands Crucial Times and Turd Cutter. The band's new album, Countin' Cards, is a fast and loud album that is just as good for moshing as it is for thinking and feeling. It was created after months of intense self-reflection brought on by the pandemic. Those months of introspection, coinciding with singer Jesse Sendejas' decision to get sober right before the pandemic, lay the groundwork for deeply existential lyrics that question the political and social constructs that govern our lives. Rather than partaking in punk rock's long history of didacticism in political and social matters, Escape From The Zoo instead focuses on the personal struggle of simply existing in modern times.
5 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, April 15-17, at Main At South Side, 1002 S. Main St., $12+ at prekindle.com
The first festival of its kind in Fort Worth, Psychedelic Panther is a three-day event boasting 28 local psych bands playing on two stages at Main At South Side. The event kicks off on Friday with seven bands playing inside the venue and picks up on Saturday with bands playing inside and outside alongside artists and food vendors. Organized by Joe Guzman of psych-fusion band Flow State (which plays Friday at 8 p.m.), Psychedelic Panther will showcase just how many psych bands North Texas has and how diverse the psychedelic music can be: whether that be the sludgy garage-psych of Uncle Toasty, the aquatic indie-psych of Phantomelo, the spacey psych-opera of Helium Queens, the dark psych of SEVIT or the straight-up psych-rock of Maestro Maya. The artists who will be showing their works at the event were selected to bring an extra element of psychedelia to the atmosphere.
7 p.m. Friday, April 15, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $70 at livenation.com
Indie-pop band Hippo Campus amassed a giant collection of singles since breaking through with its first full-length album, Landmark, in 2017. Since then, the band has not let a year go by without introducing something new to independent radio stations. Last year, the band's "Bad Dream Baby" from its Good Dog, Bad Dream EP became a ubiquitous single. With the lines "I am worried about Britney Spears / It's pretty fucked up how her dad runs her life," "Bad Dream Baby" became inextricably linked to the pop singer's struggle to end her father's conservatorship. Hippo Campus released its third album in February. Titled LP3, the new album has been described as a return to form for the band, opting for lush instrumentals and emotional vulnerability over experimentation and dark humor. The band will have opening support from neo-soul band Ginger Root.
7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 15-16, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $28+ at prekindle.com
Boundary-pushing roots musician Sarah Jarosz plays two nights at The Kessler this weekend. On her first night, she will receive opening support from New Orleans country musician Ric Robertson and on the second night from Vancouver folk artist Taylor Ashton. Jarosz began playing mandolin at the age of 10 and later learned to play the guitar and clawhammer banjo. By her senior year of high school, Jarosz signed with Americana label Sugar Hill Records, releasing her first album, Song Up in Her Head, in the summer of 2009. That same year, the Recording Academy nominated the fourth track Jarosz's album, "Mansinneedof," for "Best Country Instrumental Performance." She didn't win, but Jarosz's accolades came when her fourth album, Undercurrent, took home the Grammy for "Best Folk Album." Jarosz's latest album, Blue Heron Suite, was nominated for the same award at the most recent Grammy Awards.
7 p.m. Friday, April 15, at The Echo Lounge & Music Hall,1323 N. Stemmons Fwy., $30 at livenation.com
London alt-rock band Wolf Alice started off as an acoustic duo in 2010, slowly developing their sound into a mixture of shoegaze and grunge over the course of two years and two band member replacements. The band's first album, My Love Is Cool, wowed English music critics who lauded the band's fresh take on indie-rock. The album sailed to the top of the U.K.'s independent album charts but barely cracked the top 100 in the U.S. The band is still more highly regarded in its home country, but with every passing release, Wolf Alice manages to climb just a little bit higher on the U.S. charts. The band's most recent album, Blue Weekend, was shortlisted for the U.K.'s Mercury Prize — an annual award for the best album released in the United Kingdom by a British or Irish act — last year, but only rose to No. 34 on Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart. Clearly, Americans are missing something.
8 p.m. Friday, April 15, at The Statler Ballroom, 1914 Commerce St., $39+ at eventbrite.com
Snicker all you like, but stop, collaborate and listen. How many other rappers do you know who prominently displayed the Dallas skyline in the background of the video for their biggest hit? Yes, Carrollton's own Rob Van Winkle is back in town and headlining a massive '90s party at The Statler Ballroom this Friday night with a little bit of help from Young MC (now age 54), who will be on site to prevent you from just standing there in lieu of busting a move. It's nice to see Vanilla Ice leaning into the tongue-in-cheek '90s nostalgia, whether headlining events like this or the worldwide "I Love the '90s Tour." Honestly, he seems to be having more fun in this role than he did trying to champion himself as a hardcore rapper or nu metal artist. The '90s party is a property-wide event, so attendees can look forward to '90s-themed everything from the hotel's bars and restaurants.
The Band of Heathens
7 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Tulips, 112 St. Louis Ave., $22 at prekindle.com
Austin Americana outfit The Band of Heathens was something of a supergroup when they first got together in 2005. Guitarists Ed Juri, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks were all established solo performers in Austin's bustling music scene. When the three musicians played together as separate acts at Momo's in Austin, they formed the group that we know today. Even after the band's formation, The Band of Heathens spent three years developing their sound as a live act before ever entering a studio. In that time, the band was voted "Best New Band" at the 2007 Austin Music Awards and caught the attention of Texas music legend Ray Wylie Hubbard, who produced the band's first, self-titled studio album. Brooks would only stay on for another few years and a couple albums before returning to his solo project, but Juri and Quist have kept the band going through its seventh release in 2020, Stranger.
North By North
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St., $10 at the door
Named "Best Out-of-Town Band That Calls Dallas a Second Home" in the 2019 edition of Dallas Observer's Best of Dallas issue, North By North returns to Denton with a show at Rubber Gloves on 4/20. The two-piece indie rock band from Chicago has been known to make frequent stops in DFW as guitarist and singer Nate Girard comes from around these parts, but North By North is a road band through and through and on tour for life, spreading their addictive and energetic music across the country with very little time in between shows and tours. The band's latest release Get Weird arrived shortly before the pandemic brought their tour to a halt in March 2020. A catchy album that is sure to get you dancing, Get Weird finally started to get the support it deserves when the band set back out on the road late last year. North By North will have local support from a host of Denton rock bands plus Fresh Ghosts, New Heroes and Glenda.