The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Tool, Helium Queens, Elaina Kay Band and More

Helium Queens will be at Andy's Bar this weekend.
Helium Queens will be at Andy's Bar this weekend. Scott Fischer
This week brings many different live music experiences to North Texas. The progressive alt-rock gods of Tool will melt some faces at American Airlines Center on Wednesday. Just when you think you're recovering, punk-country acts The Yawpers and The Ghost Wolves might knock you into another universe at their Thursday Three Links performance. From there you'll have to choose between a solid lineup of shows all happening on Friday night, including Dale Watson & His Lone Stars at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill and Helium Queens at Andy's Bar. Then you can cap off the weekend by stuffing your face at Elaina Kay's 2nd Annual Cornbread and Country event on Saturday night, with performances featuring the Elaina Kay Band, Jenna Clark and others. If you have the energy for one last hurrah on Sunday, catch the Bioluminescence event at Industry Alley Bar or LockJohnson's Playground showcase at Louie Louie's.

Paul Slavens & Friends

9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton, free

This Tuesday, 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 weekly music routine by now, it should be. Jacob Vaughn


7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $65-$150 at

The progressive alt-rock giant, Tool, is on the last leg of its 2020 North American tour. When Tool released its album Fear Inoculum last year, it ended a long 13-year wait for many fans. The last album the band released, 10,000 Days, was put out in 2006. But so far, this hasn't been a rusty comeback for the band. Fear Inoculum, the band's fifth studio album, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's 200 chart and became the best-selling rock album of 2019. Tool's performance at AAC this week is sure to melt some faces. Jacob Vaughn

Shelley Carrol and Brad Leali
8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave., $5 at venue

Every Wednesday, a couple of the baddest jazz musicians in the business take over Revelers Hall when Shelley Carrol and Brad Leali take the stage. Carrol comes from a Houston family of gospel singers and musicians. At a young age, he found himself in the famous Boys Choir of Houston. Later, Carrol picked up the saxophone and began learning from the likes of Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson from The Texas Tenors. For college, Carrol attended the University of North Texas and landed a spot in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band ... and the rest is history. Leali is just as decorated. The Colorado native began mixing gospel, jazz and R&B into his playing from a very early age. The New York Times wrote that Leali is an exciting and soulful saxophonist. You won't want to miss these two at Revelers Hall on Wednesday. Jacob Vaughn

The Yawpers with The Ghost Wolves
9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $10 at

If you are a fan of Uncle Tupelo, The Minutemen or any of the spitfire punk-country acts that line the roster of Bloodshot Records, then you're also likely to be a fan of The Yawpers. Hailing from Denver, this gritty three-piece outfit has been tearing up stages across this country for the better part of a decade. That commitment to the road has led to a refined and raucous live show in which the guitars shred, the vocals roar and the thunder rolls. Down in the audience, onlookers will revel in the boozy sweat that signifies a well-delivered rock 'n' roll show. You'll head home in need of fresh laundry, a set of earplugs and a date marked in your calendar for their next local performance. Jeff Strowe

Dale Watson & His Lone Stars
8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd. E, $15 at

They don't make country music like they used to, but Dale Watson sure does, and the Texas-bred country western troubadour's brand of music is best listened to live in a honky-tonk dance hall. Watson's been hovering comfortably just under the mainstream radar for a couple of decades, amassing a very loyal following. He penned the genre "Ameripolitan," blending contemporary Western swing, honky-tonk, rockabilly and outlaw country, recalling the days of Johnny Cash and '50s and '60s Western. His latest album, last year's Call Me Lucky, is backed by his faithful backing band, The Lone Stars, and is filled with good old-fashioned sad drinkin' songs mixed with upbeat swing. Diamond Rodrigue

Babe Bash
8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 24-25, at Andy's Bar, 122 N. Locust St., Denton, $10-$15 at

Denton’s Babe Bash has grown from a single-night concert showcasing all female-fronted bands at a now shuttered venue (the great Hailey’s Club, R.I.P.) to an annual two-night stacked bill mini-fest at Andy's. Babe Bash dates back to early 2012 when Kitty Holt (lead singer of The Red Death) and friend Sydney Wright birthed the bash by creating an event dedicated to “the promotion of bands with leading females.” Now Erica Pipes keeps the annual bash alive and thriving at Andy’s on Denton’s picturesque historic Downtown Square. This year’s bash features some of North Texas' best acts, from Helium Queens — who just won a 2019 Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Live Act — to DOMA nominees for Best Electronic Act Felt & Fur, as well as Temptress, Hen and the Cocks, Mutha–Falcon, Thin Skin, Sydney Wright and The Red Death. Daniel Rodrigue

Rahim Quazi and The Supernaturals
7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 24-25, at Palo Santo Galactic HQ, 5339 Vickery Blvd., $20 at

The Fort Worth folk-rock act Rahim Quazi will be at Palo Santo Galactic Headquarters in Dallas for two nights of music and storytelling. Backing Rahim will be local music power couple Zach and Karyna Balch (a.k.a., The Supernaturals). The nights will also feature solo performances by violinist Dina Nesterenko and Thiago X. Nascimento on piano. You won't want to miss it. And while you're there, keep your eyes peeled for a secret special guest in the audience. Jacob Vaughn

Elaina Kay Band, with Jenna Clark and more
6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St., $45 at

If you're looking for dinner and a show, Sons of Hermann Hall has you covered Saturday night. A full-course dinner by Chef Graham Dodds will fill your stomach and live local music will fill your ears. Acts like Chuck Ligon, Frankie Leonie, Jenna Clark (who is not a jazz artist, as this writer has written before, but who instead creates eclectic music that she says is up for interpretation), the Elaina Kay Band and others will grace the venue for Elaina Kay's 2nd Annual Cornbread and Country event. The dinner and music will both be served at 7 p.m., but make sure to bring a designated driver in case you end up suffering from a food coma. You'll thank us later. Jacob Vaughn

8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at Industry Alley Bar, 1711 S. Lamar St., free

It seems that more and more local venues have been organizing curated nights of music loosely set around a central theme, and Dallas Ambient Music Nights’ Bioluminescence is both one of the latest to get started and also possibly your new favorite. The monthly showcase will feature an evening of experimental electronic music from DAMN founder DJ Akkad the Orphic Priest, a.k.a., Cody McPhail, and video art projected onto a wide variety of surfaces, produced by Dallas Distortion Music founder and generally cool dude, Cinema.av, a.k.a., Even Henry. Their combined efforts will meld for the second show of Bioluminescence’s hopefully long run as part of the local music program. But just in case it doesn’t stand the test time, it’d be wise to strike while the iron is hot and check out Dallas’ latest and greatest music showcase in its earliest days. That way you unironically scoff when the normies discover it and know you were there at the beginning. Nicholas Bostick

LockJohnson's Showcase
7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at Louie Louie's Piano Bar, 2605 Elm St., $15 at door

Every Sunday night acts like Shaun Martin, Cure for Paranoia and many others hop onstage for an artist showcase that has rocked Louie Louie's Piano Bar for the last two years. Even Alessia Cara joined in this year. Presented by local musician and promoter Gino “LockJohnson” Iglehart, the LockJohnson's Playground showcase has become a staple for many North Texans' Deep Ellum music experience. If you haven't already, stroll into Louie Louie's on a Sunday night. You'll like what you hear. Jacob Vaughn
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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