As the first month of 2020 comes to a close and some of us begin to bail on our resolutions, we should all be happy that we're still just in the early days of another badass year for live local music. There are plenty of places you can spend your Monday night at this week, but if you're trying to see Raphael Saadiq, you'll have to be at House of Blues around 7 p.m. The Portland folk-rock act Y La Bamba is coming back to Ruins this Wednesday. If you haven't already, check out album Mujeres before you see this act live. Then, Medicine Man Revival, Lloyd Cole, the tribute act Le Cure, Possessed by Paul James and Giant Dog are all on the menu for this weekend.
7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $15 at livenation.com
Coming off an eight-year break from releasing new music, the musician/producer Raphael Saadiq, aka Charles Ray Wiggins, is touring off his 2019 album Jimmy Lee. Just a couple of years before, the Tony! Toni! Toné! co-founder earned an Oscar nomination for the song he wrote with Mary J. Blige, "Mighty River," for the movie Mudbound. Saadiq embarked on a 27-date 2020 tour, kicking it off in San Diego just a few days ago. You won't want to miss him at House of Blues this Monday. Jacob Vaughn
The Free Loaders
7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 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
Y La Bamba
6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Ruins, 2653 Commerce St., $12-$14 at eventbrite.com
There's some disconnect between the soft, Mexican-influenced, acoustic, lo-fi debut release for Portland folk-rock act Y La Bamba, Alida St., and its 2019 album Mujeres. The latest release sounds more electric and more produced, bordering on poppy with songs like "Conocidos" or "Cuatro Crazy." Y La Bamba, driven by singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza, has transformed a lot since it debuted in 2008. That transformation is traceable through the different albums Y La Bamba has put out through the years. By the artist's second album, Lupon, the recordings sound cleaner and, structurally, more conventional. In 2011, Y La Bamba appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk concert series and has maintained the attention of the station ever since. Five years later, the artist's fifth release, Ojos Del Sol, ended up on NPR's Top 50 Albums of 2016. While Y La Bamba's music has changed, its roots still shine through with heavy Mexican influence, which Mendoza likely gets from her father, who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, on songs from the latest album like "Boca Llena" and "Bruja de Brujas." In Mujeres, Mendoza explores where women fit in the "American story." Jacob Vaughn
10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, at House of Blues Foundation Room, 2200 N. Lamar St., free
Throughout his career, multi-instrumentalist Stone Mecca has worked with the likes of Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Organized Noize. Last year, Stone Mecca told the Observer that his latest release, the funk-rock-soul EP Alienman, is a throwback to the kind of music he wrote when he first started playing guitar. He said that with the album, he was trying to create music without hesitation or consideration of predetermined boundaries of his sound. If you haven't heard the latest of Stone Mecca, you'll want to be at his show this Wednesday. Jacob Vaughn
Medicine Man Revival 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at Main at South Side, 1002 S. Main St., Fort Worth, $7 at prekindle.com
Keite Young and Jason Burt have asserted themselves as a powerful presence in the Dallas music scene. Producing a sound that's nearly impossible to classify, the duo bring their uplifting and passionate testimonials to impassioned fans in venues all across our region. If forced to categorize, Medicine Man Revival is an outfit that spins the funkiest elements of soul and R&B alongside choice smatterings of hip-hop and classic rock. When backed by a rotating cast of ace area musicians, Young and Burt's lyrical epiphanies become more forcefully expressed while also touching on the cosmic karma that keeps us all sewn together on common ground. See all this in action for yourself when they hit the Main at South Side stage this Friday with Son of Stan and Crystal Rippers. Jeff Strowe
8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at The Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., $20 at prekindle.com
The English singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole just recently put out his longest album, Guesswork. Cole first began gaining notoriety in the '80s through his work with his band Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. In the '90s, Cole went solo, releasing albums such as Don't Get Weird on Me Babe, Bad Vibes and more. In 2004, Cole celebrated the 20th anniversary of his band debut release Rattlesnakes. Cole's current tour, the From Rattlesnakes to Guesswork 2020 Tour, looks back on the musician's long career. Be sure to catch him at The Kessler this Friday. Jacob Vaughn
9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Bowlski's Lakewood Theater, 1825 Abrams Parkway, Suite 1, 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 Bowlski's Lakewood Theater, 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
Possessed by Paul James 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St., Denton, $12 at prekindle.com
For many who attended NX35 in Denton in 2009 (before the multiday, multistage music festival became 35 Conferette, then 35 Denton), one of the most memorable, truly unforgettable performances was the spirited performance by Possessed By Paul James at Rubber Gloves. As Konrad Wert leaned back on his chair above a well-worn Samsonite stompbox held together by duct tape, he paused for a second before grasping his fiddle and commencing to saw at it with his bow like a possessed lumberjack trying to set a record — converting many music critics in the room to fans. This one-man band may be a “solo act,” but Wert’s powder-keg explosive performances sound more “full” than some full bands, as he juggles duties as vocalist and percussionist while swapping between a guitar, fiddle and banjo. Reviewing that 2009 set, this critic wrote: “The ‘possessed’ part of his stage name makes perfect sense because Wert does (cliché alert!) play like a man possessed … possessed by roots musicians from the past, he threw everything from folk and blues to punk and bluegrass at that audience last night.” After a hiatus, Wert returns with a new album, As We Go Wandering, due Jan. 31. Daniel Rodrigue
A Giant Dog 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $15, seetickets.us
Get ready, Dallas, because A Giant Dog is about to come crashing back into Three Links for an all-ages show that is sure to get your whole body rocking. This female-lead punk band from Austin has been making crowds sweat since 2008. Vocalist Sabrina Ellis gives an absolutely breathtaking performance with a no-holds-barred, theatrical presentation from start to finish. Interaction with fans and onlookers alike is to be expected. Touring in support of their punk-infused, full-album cover of Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, A Giant Dog will share the stage with fellow Austin rockers, the female-lead GO FEVER, LA disco-death-rock act Sick Ride, with local support from Denton's equally theatrical garage rock act Hen and the Cocks (also with a female lead). This is sure to be a show full of energy, angst and in-your-face girl power. Get there early and stay late because there is nothing in this lineup that could possibly disappoint. David Fletcher
Revelers Hall Band 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, at Revelers Hall, 412 N. Bishop Ave., $5 at venue
Every Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., the Revelers Hall Band makes a not-so-subtle stop at their home venue. The six-piece brass band packs a punch that is near impossible to stand still against. The band embodies what Revelers Hall co-owner Jason Roberts and music director Kevin Butler want to get out of all the performers at the venue. It's acoustic, and they play real pianos and upright basses, instead of electric. Even if the power goes out, the Revelers Hall Band will keep the show going. The band can also be heard accompanying other acts booked at the venue throughout the week. 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.