The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Cameron Matthew Ray, Rosegarden Funeral Party, Crown the Empire and More

Cameron Ray will perform at UTA Planetarium this Saturday.
Cameron Ray will perform at UTA Planetarium this Saturday. Cal Quinn

This weekend is jam-packed with good shows. [DARYL] will help you kick off your weekend at Double Wide this Friday. The heavy hitters Unfaded Brass Band, Le Cure, DaBaby and Cameron Matthew Ray will keep you up all night Saturday. Then you can cap your weekend off with some Rosegarden Funeral Party at Three Links on Sunday. You can also catch acts like the "Spontaneous Song Generator" Paul Slavens, The Free Loaders, Crown the Empire and more throughout the week.

Paul Slavens & Friends
9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton, free

Like on most Mondays, the spontaneous song generator, DJ and Ten Hands frontman Paul Slavens, will take the stage at Dan’s Silverleaf. Slavens writes and performs songs on the spot, improvising about whatever comes to mind. Song title suggestions get thrown at him from the crowd and he just runs with them. Attendees might hear songs about escaping the spiraling vortex of Ikea, robot children or whatever else they can think of. If this isn’t part of your Monday music routine by now, it should be. Jacob Vaughn

The Free Loaders
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge, 2626-2630 Commerce St., free

If a movie was made about The Free Man, a Deep Ellum Cajun restaurant and live music venue, the soundtrack would consist of songs by one band: The Free Loaders. Luckily, a three-piece variation of the band plays at the venue every Tuesday, so there, you don’t have to wait for the movie to come out to hear its killer soundtrack. Just hop over to The Free Man on a Tuesday evening, order a po' boy and listen to frontman and venue owner John Jay Myers slam on his drums and bark into the microphone with keys and stand-up bass behind him. Jacob Vaughn

Crown the Empire
11:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., $17-$19 at

What started as a high school band, composed of Colleyville Heritage High School students, turned into an empire — Crown the Empire, to be more specific. The four-piece Dallas metalcore act has been on the rise since they first started jamming in 2010. The band told the Observer it had garnered a sizable fan base in about a year before they even released their first EP. The day the band did put out their debut release was the same day they got their first record contract. Since then, Crown the Empire has toured with groups like Underoath, Dance Gavin Dance and The Used. Recently, the band released two singles “what I am” and “20/20,” but they haven't put out a full album in about three years since Retrograde. The band just wrapped up a 22-show tour that took them away from Dallas for about a month, so you won't want to miss them at Trees this Thursday. Jacob Vaughn

8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $10 at

The seven-piece, Austin-based, fuzz-gospel-soul-rock band Dr JOE just released its first two singles this year, and they're onto something. They kicked off 2019 with "Tell Your Mother," a heavy, foot-stomping track that'll knock the wind out of you. Frontman Joe Sparacino slams on his keyboard and belts every line of the song like they're the last words he'll ever sing. A few months later, in October, Dr JOE released their second single "Good Days." This song is more soothing than their first, but the contrast shows us the band's wide range. In total, the band sounds like a mashup of artists like Elton John, Ray Charles and Tom Waits to name a few, and what's not to like about that? Dr JOE will share the stage at Double Wide with local favorites Atlantis Aquarius. Jacob Vaughn

9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $15 at

"[DARYL] was always loud — a nightmare for sound guys," is one of the best quotes on the band that the Observer’s ever run. While not officially reunited (because the popular area band with a retro Pixies-meets-Police sound never really “broke up” after forming in 1999), the band’s members just morphed into other bands and projects. But [DARYL] reconvened onstage after a lengthy hiatus to play Homegrown in 2018, after first announcing “reunifying” for a show in 2011. Also splitting the bill are Dylan Silvers (of The Polyphonic Spree, Deathray Davies, The Crash That Took Me and, yeah, [DARYL]) and Co. in the ambitious super-group-meets-art-collective known as These Machines Are Winning — truly one of Dallas’ most ambitious audiovisual “comic/music/film projects.” The gig poster for the show also promises special performances by Black Tie Dynasty, The Crash That Took Me and Go Imperial. Daniel Rodrigue

Unfaded Brass Band
9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave., free

The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 forced many New Orleans residents to seek shelter in North Texas. While a good number of displaced persons returned home across the state lines, some decided to stay and set up their family base here in the region. This was the path chosen by many of the members in the Unfaded Brass Band, a 10-person outfit that has become DFW's preeminent native New Orleans-style brass band. You might have seen them in various places; they play birthday parties, corporate outings and free outdoor shindigs as often as they grace local concert stages. This upcoming show finds them serving as the house band at Revelers Hall's Ugly Sweater Jam, so dress up in your gaudiest attire and join the festive fun. Jeff Strowe

Le Cure
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd. E, free

The news hit a few months ago that legendary post-punk band The Cure is finishing recording their first album in 10 years. To get acquainted with or refresh your memory of the band's extensive musical catalog before the album's release (which has so far been reported as "soon"), check out Le Cure, the Dallas-based Cure tribute band that's, like, really, really good. They're playing at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, so if you throw back a couple of beers, it's sort of impossible not to assume it's the real Robert Smith and the gang. Diamond Rodrigue

8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St., $11 at

Jonathan Kirk, aka DaBaby, is having the year of his life. After dropping a music video for his single “Walker Texas Ranger” on New Years’ Day and getting signed by Interscope Records in February, the 27-year-old has already released two hit albums and has even more recently teased a possible collaboration with Drake in 2020 after a Dec. 10 appearance in Toronto. It’s no wonder DaBaby’s infectious smile is seemingly omnipresent. Getting his start in rap during a short stint at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, DaBaby’s first mixtape NonFiction dropped in 2015 and was quickly followed by a deluge of social media content that has since catapulted his career to the top. But on the first track off KIRK (DaBaby’s second album of 2019 and first to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200), the North Carolinian rapper opened up about the death of his father, which he learned about days before his tour. If anything, however, the loss has seemingly only further cemented his smile and his status as the biggest thing of 2019. Nicholas Bostick

Cameron Matthew Ray
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at UTA Planetarium, Chemistry Physics Building, 700 Planetarium Place, Arlington, $10 at

Galaxies will collide during singer-songwriter Cameron Ray’s “Behind the Stars” performance Saturday at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Planetarium. Ray says the show is somewhat of a folk opera featuring songs from his 2017 EP Love & Space. Attendees will view the show under a star-filled, galaxy-clustered visual arrangement created in collaboration with the planetarium. The show is a reiteration of his 2016 performance of the same name and concept. The performance was a precursor to his Love & Space EP. Ray says this all happened during a period of change in his life. He says he feels he is going through another season of change, and that it's time to revisit the event. Although Ray usually likes to perform solo, his friend Sean Brown will accompany him on electric guitar. The show will open with a performance by North Texas powerhouse singer-songwriter Bayleigh Cheek. All the stars have aligned to make this rare show happen, so make sure it aligns with your schedule this weekend. Jacob Vaughn

Rosegarden Funeral Party
7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $8 at

The members of Rosegarden Funeral Party reportedly won’t be in Texas too much longer, so you’ll want to catch them whenever you can. Rosegarden Funeral Party sounds like they were pulled out of the ’80s, but with every release they put out, and with every show played, they become bigger than the era itself. Rosegarden Funeral Party will share the stage at Three Links with punk bands Duell, upsetting and Whep. Jacob Vaughn
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn