Best Of Dallas

The 15 Best Dallas Concerts of 2015, So Far

We've only made it halfway through 2015, but already it feels like we've had a full year of concerts in Dallas. The run has been just that good. The return of The Bomb Factory has certainly injected some new life into the concert calendar, but judging by the variety of shows that we've accumulated ticket stubs and bar tabs from,  just about everybody has been on top of their games. Which shows have been the best so far? These are our picks.

15. Stevie Wonder at American Airlines Center

Jumping from hit to hit, Stevie Wonder had the crowd in the palms of his considerably talented hands. Sections of the crowd never took a seat: those who never stopped dancing and those who were so overcome with euphoria they seemed emotionally drained by the end of the night's almost three-hour-long concert. Jaime-Paul Falcon

14. Tyler, the Creator at The Bomb Factory

It's not about aimless anarchistic temperament or just being a little shit for the hell of it. Tyler is a role model and mascot for disaffected youths. He's supposed to inspire and inspire he does. If Holden Caulfield listened to rap, this is what he'd listen to. And he'd love every second of it, because it ain't for phonies. H. Drew Blackburn

13. Miranda Lambert at American Airlines Center

Country acts coming to Dallas over the rest of the year will have difficult time trying to top what Miranda Lambert did [in March] at the American Airlines Center. If this is the future of country music, the genre is moving into a much better place. Fortunately, Lambert and the women she has inspired to jump into this occasionally unfriendly business will continue to help drive that change. Amy McCarthy
12. The Mountain Goats at Kessler Theater

A room full of sweaty people singing together about the untimely death of pro wrestler Bruiser Brody in Puerto Rico is impressive, especially when maybe eight people there (four of whom are the band) know who Brody was. JPF
11. Sarah Jaffe at Trees

[January's] show at Trees was not what anyone who was there was expecting, largely because no one involved told us what to expect. An announcement beforehand told us Sarah Jaffe would be debuting tracks from her new project with hip-hop producer S1, but apparently no one got the message. Also, no one expected that Sam Lao, Blue, the Misfit and Jaffe were going to be performing a hip-hop show. AM

10. Purity Ring at The Bomb Factory

When she wasn’t warping the fabric of reality itself, Megan James’ vocal performance was a stunning testament to her abilities. Matching up to Corin Roddick’s Goliath production could easily turn James into a meek David, but her gossamer delivery style never came at the expense of forgetting she was on stage. Matt Wood
9. Spillover Fest in Deep Ellum

It'd be easy to say Spillover is just hounding for the scraps of the South By feeding frenzy, but the festival stands alone as a reminder that Dallas can pull in more than enough talent with the right booking acumen. Which is apt: The reason Spillover thrives isn't for its diversity but because it knows itself so well. MW

8. Erykah Badu at The Bomb Factory

The sun was still up and a line of people wrapped all the way around an entire block near the corner of Canton and Crowdus. And several hours later, the line was still there, with more and more people flocking to see what all the fuss was about with Dallas' "newest" concert venue, and possibly its most exciting: The Bomb Factory. Jeff Gage
7. The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Bomb Factory

Playing full album sets can be a tricky prospect, but in the case of this show the perfect ebb and flow of Psychocandy as a complete album was on full display. Jim Reid's vocals were buried in a haze of chaos, which would normally be a huge negative for a band, but in this case it was an authentic representation of the lawlessness of Psychocandy. Wanz Dover

6. Father John Misty at Granada Theater

To say that the crowd's expectations were high might be an understatement. Energy pulsed through the venue as Joshua Tillman played through his set, making his way from one weird-ass love song to another. When you're distracted by his excellent band and his Prince-esque hip-shaking, it's easy to forget just how poetic these lyrics really are. AM
5. St. Vincent at Winspear Opera House

The centerpiece of [May's] concert wasn't just Annie Clark's mind-bogglingly impressive musical prowess, or her unusual and powerful stage presence, it was the collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. With orchestrations by David Campbell, and conducted by Karina Canellakis, the DSO proved an apt partner for St. Vincent. The symphony, dressed in white jumpsuits like they were manning a space ship, sent the already compelling concert to the moon and back. Lauren Smart

4. The Rolling Stones at AT&T Stadium

That shaky opening stretch was saved mostly by Mick Jagger, who just about carried the show on his back. While the rest of the band seemed sluggish and even sloppy, biffing the riff to opener "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and proceeding from there, the 71-year old was a marvel of energy, shimmying and twirling and prancing all around the enormous stage. JG
3. Courtney Barnett at Club Dada

Few artists can manage to be so unassuming and compelling at the same time, and Courtney Barnett is among the best. After quietly taking the stage, she launched into the boppy, high-energy “Elevator Operator.”  In the first few seconds of that song, Barnett clearly showed she's more than just a fly-by-night “buzz band.” She’s a goddamn punk rock hero. AM
2. D'Angelo at The Bomb Factory

D’Angelo is a consummate performer. Watching him must be damn close to the experience of seeing James Brown himself skitter across the stage in one of those hot and lively Chitlin’ Circuit venues. Over the course of his set, funk proved it was alive and well. D’Angelo and his 10-piece band, the Vanguard, generated warm, analog textures that are uncommon in contemporary music. HDB
1. Sleater-Kinney at Granada Theater

When "Modern Girl" began to play, it was clear that the crowd had been waiting for that one since they took the stage. Most encores feel like an afterthought; this was a flat-out massacre of the stage that felt like it would last forever. We all walked out to our cars in a daze, safe in the notion that Sleater-Kinney has only gotten better with time. AM