After canceling his shows, Sir Elton is over his bout with COVID and playing two nights this week.Mike Brooks
This week's best concerts are all about nostalgia and activism. Your concert week kicks off with two of the biggest names in modern music gracing our local stages: Bob Dylan and Elton John. The week rounds out with concerts by black metal pioneers Mayhem and post-punk pioneers Gang of Four, who'll play on Lower Greenville. Three Links in Deep Ellum will also be taking a look back at its nine years in Dallas with an anniversary show headlined by Joshua Ray Walker. The good causes start on Saturday with a memorial show in Oak Cliff benefiting the family of Bastards of Soul singer Chadwick Murray and an all-star lineup of songwriters raising money for Ukraine in the Cedars. The good fight continues with trans woman singer Ezra Furman coming to Fort Worth in the midst of the Texas government's social war on parents of trans children. But if you're just looking to dance away all the social and political turmoil, we've got a couple of shows for that, too. Bob Dylan 8 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $49+ at livenation.com
To call Bob Dylan an influential songwriter would be a massive understatement. You'd be hard-pressed to find any songwriter on the planet today who has not been directly (or at least indirectly) influenced by Dylan's Nobel Prize-winning songwriting. You might say that The Beatles are just as influential, but do you know who influenced The Beatles? Bob Dylan. In January, Dylan inked a deal with Sony Music, giving them the rights to his entire recorded catalog along with the rights to future releases. The financial terms were undisclosed, but The New York Times estimated the deal was worth at least $300 million. Supporting his 39th studio album in his 60-year music career, Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan's Never Ending Tour makes its way through Irving Thursday night for a performance at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory. Elton John 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $101+ at ticketmaster.com
Coming back through North Texas on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, Elton John will play another two nights at Dallas' American Airlines Center. John was supposed to play AAC in January but postponed after testing positive for COVID-19. For this tour, John has maintained a consistent setlist for fans across the world to experience the show in similar ways no matter how many times they might be able to catch it. Long story short, he's going to play that song you want to hear from that part of his career that you love the most. And there were a lot of those parts, weren't there? From his '70s blues-rock origins to his '90s ballads and unlikely pop hits of the new millennium, John is the only solo artist to have top 10 singles in six different decades for a good reason. The Rocketman has been on this tour since 2018 with plans to extend it through 2023 with a full list of European dates, but this really might be the last time he plays Dallas (but he will be playing Globe Life Field in September). Tone Ranger 7 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St., $10+ at prekindle.com
Friday night, Afterlife Entertainment and the Denton Dance Directive present a night of electronic dance music on three stages at Rubber Gloves. The night will see performances by 13 electronic acts including EVRAFTR, Kalico Jak, Lady Vanity Roux and Tone Ranger. Born Alex Simon, Tone Ranger takes inspiration from the beauty of the American Southwest in creating an ambient music experience. Simon spent the last six years living and working in native nations across the Plains and the Southwest, drawing from the stories he heard during this time. In Standing Rock in 2017, Simon founded the Sovereign Sounds recording project, which brings recording materials and knowledge to indigenous communities in order to preserve their songs, stories and languages. It is sure to be a transcendent evening that doesn't stop when the venue closes. Ask about the BYOB house party that follows from 3 a.m. until dawn. Bastards of Soul & Friends: A Celebration of Chadwick Murray 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., $20 at prekindle.com
Last September, the North Texas music community mourned the loss of Bastards of Soul singer Chadwick Murray to an unexpected illness at the age of 45. Murray was known for his dynamic stage presence and his soulful voice. Bastards of Soul took off like a runaway train almost instantly after Murray was added to the group and played its first performance at Twilite Lounge. Murray died before the band's second album was completed, but come March 11, audiences will be blessed to hear the music Murray left behind. In remembrance and celebration of Murray's life and music, Josey Records has put together a one-of-a-kind concert at the Kessler Theater to mark the release of Bastards of Soul's new album Corners and to raise money for the Murray family. The evening will see a performance of the new record by Bastards of Soul & Friends followed by DJ sets by Luke Sardello and Leo J who will be spinning soul music. Benefit Show for Ukraine 6 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Opening Bell Coffee, 1409 Botham Jean Blvd., $20+ at openingbellcoffee.com
Answering the call to aid those in need, Opening Bell Coffee is hosting an early benefit show to aid the Ukrainian American Relief Committee, which is providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Russian invasion. An incredible lineup of 12 local artists from North Texas' leading bands will take to the stage performing short sets Saturday evening. Donors will be treated to sets by Levi & Jackson Scribner, Matt Hillyer of Eleven Hundred Springs, Nathan Mongol Wells and Billy Law of Ottoman Turks, John Dufilho and Jeff Ryan of The Deathray Davies, Frankie Leonie and many more. The performances are set to wrap up by 9 p.m., so there will be plenty of time after to do your Saturday night thing after supporting an important cause. Joshua Ray Walker 8 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $25 at seetickets.us
For the last several years, folks in the North Texas music community have been saying that the next big thing in country music is Dallas singer-songwriter, Joshua Ray Walker. On Feb. 1, the 1.5 million viewers of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon found out why. Walker has a voice like caramel — buttery rich and smoky-sweet — as familiar to fans of country music as it is refreshing to those who aren't. Walker's performance at Three Links' nine-year anniversary party marks the end of the tour that kicked off at Double Wide the night Walker's performance was aired on The Tonight Show, which took the singer all around the Midwest and Northeast. Walker is scheduled to play a few other shows around North Texas later this month before heading to Nashville to play the Grand Ole Opry on April 15. You really are not going to have many more opportunities to see Walker at a small venue. Dua Lipa 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $69+ at ticketmaster.com
English model-turned-singer Dua Lipa signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2014 on the strength of "Hotter Than Hell," which would eventually be the pop artist's fourth single from her eponymous debut album. Lipa's style of modern pop was praised by critics for its confidence, quality and emotive songwriting, earning her the Grammy Award for "Best New Artist" among dozens of other nominations and awards in England and America. Lipa released her second album, Future Nostalgia, in March 2020 after declaring a "new era" for her music and clearing her social media. Taking inspiration from dance music from the '70s and '80s, Lipa wanted the album to have the nostalgic feel of a jazzercise class while incorporating elements of dance music today. The album earned the No. 1 spot on People's "Top 10 Albums of 2020" and GQ's "Best Albums of 2020" list. Lipa will have opening support from Caroline Polachek and Lolo Zouaï. Ezra Furman 7 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Tulips, 112 St. Louis Ave., $15+ at prekindle.com
It's not that Ezra Furman's show Monday evening at Tulips in Fort Worth will be the first time the indie singer will play in North Texas, but it will be her first time performing a solo show in Texas that has nothing to do with SXSW. In January, Furman told the Dallas Observer that she would like activists to share her stage, and the time and place could not be better. A proud trans woman, Furman comes to Texas just weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services encouraging them to investigate the parents of gender-transitioning children. Though never overtly political in her music, Furman has become an underground icon for the downtrodden through her work on Netflix's Sex Education soundtrack and her deeply introspective and fearless songwriting. Furman's music varies wildly between aggressive punk rock vociferations and heartfelt ballads longing for understanding such as her latest single "Point Me Toward the Real." She also told the Observer that she would love it if fans threw flowers on her stage, so bring some tulips to tulips. Mayhem 7 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Amplified Live, 10261 Technology Blvd. E., $30+ at seetickets.us
The word "infamous" may get thrown around a little bit too much in the music world, but there are very few bands out there that can match the infamy of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. One of the founders of black metal's raw, brooding sound, Mayhem earned its infamy in part from its notorious live performances that included impaled animal heads and acts of self-mutilation by singer Per Yngve "Pelle" Ohlin (a.k.a. Dead). In 1991, Ohlin committed suicide, the image of which was used as the cover of Mayhem's bootleg live album The Dawn of the Black Hearts. Two years later, guitarist Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth was murdered by former member Varg Vikernes. Today, the band's lineup comprises original bassist Necrobutcher, longtime drummer Hellhammer, Dead's original replacement Attila Csihar on vocals, and guitarists Teloch and Ghul who have been with the band since the early 2010s. Gang of Four 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $29+ at prekindle.com
Formed in Leeds in 1976 by bassist Dave Allen, drummer Hugo Burnham, guitarist Andy Gill and singer Jon King, Gang of Four changed the face of punk music. When punk had been fiery and volatile, Gang of Four favored tense rhythms, percussive guitars and just a touch of humor. Andy Gill died in February 2020, prompting the living members to release the limited edition box set Gang Of Four: 77-81 and new reissues of the band's first albums Entertainment! and Solid Gold. For the current tour, King and Burnham have teamed up with returning bassist Sara Lee and a new guitarist, David Pajo of Slint and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The band’s performance will include songs from their releases between 1977-1983, the period in which Gang of Four released its most iconic albums. Garage-pop duo Gal Pals opens the show Wednesday night at the Granada Theater.
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.