North Texas have a lot to look forward to this week, but with seven of this week's concerts taking place at just three locations, music fans won't have quite as many travel decisions to make. Three shows will take place at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, spanning the genres of indie-pop, alt-rock and new wave. The Factory in Deep Ellum will host two of this week's shows with a folk rock act on Friday followed by a hip-hop concert Saturday night. The Winspear Opera House will see a performance from an R&B legend on Sunday and an iconic Icelandic band on Wednesday. If you're looking for something local, The Wildflower! Arts & Music festival returns to Richardson for three days this year starting on Friday, and a 10-band punk festival swings through the biggest little venue in Denton. Finally, Robert Earl Keen will be making his North Texas farewell performance this week in Fort Worth. Phoebe Bridgers 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $30 at livenation.com
Indie-pop artist Phoebe Bridgers has always had a penchant for the haunting and melancholy. She's known for performing in a skeleton onesie, and Bridgers' music is strikingly honest with just enough dry wit to break the tension in songs about death, trauma, depression and bad relationships. Bridgers began her musical journey in Los Angeles where she played for various bands including a short stint as bassist for Sloppy Jane, which will be opening Bridgers' show Thursday night in support of its album, Madison, that came out late last year on Bridgers' label, Saddest Factory Records. Bridgers' latest album, Punisher, was released in June 2020, but while the album earned her three Grammy nominations and soared to the tops of many critics' year-end, best-of lists, Bridgers was unable to tour in support of the album because of the pandemic. Event seating is sold out, but lawn seating is still plentiful. The Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 20-22, at Galatyn Park Urban Center, 2351 Performance Dr., $20+ at etix.com
Returning as a live festival this year, the annual Wildflower! Music & Arts Festival boasts a three-day lineup of local and international music acts appearing alongside a host of artists, performers and culinary delights. Festival attendees can look forward to hearing from bands paying tribute to The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Journey as well as local acts such as the Taylor Young Band, Jenna Clark, The Deathray Davies, Frankie Leonie and Remy Reilly. Headlining this year's event are local legends the Toadies, who will share the stage with pop rock act Neon Trees, reggae icon The Wailers and post-grunge radio favorites Collective Soul. This year's festival will look forward to the next generation of music with a battle of the bands starting Saturday morning in which three bands will compete for the chance to win a cash prize, studio time, a headlining show at Guitars & Growlers and an industry consultation. Bright Eyes 8 p.m. Friday, May 20, at The Factory in Deep Ellum, 2713 Canton St., $40+ at axs.com
Bright Eyes was the top act in the world of indie music following the wild success of 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. The album was bigger and broader than anything the band had put out before, which had been stripped-down, lo-fi recordings that showcased singer Conor Oberst's penchant for writing deeply emotional songs. Oberst's songwriting prowess didn't change, but the music sure did. After I'm Wide Awake, Bright Eyes got experimental with Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, which added a touch of electronica to the mix. On 2007's Cassadaga and 2011's People's Key, Bright Eyes solidified its symphonic sound but then disappeared into a decade-long hiatus. The band returned in 2020 with Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, in which the band picked up right where they left off. Americana act Hurray For The Riff Raff will be with Bright Eyes as the night's opener. DK Nick Punk Fest 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Killer's Tacos, 424 Bryan St., Free
Two years ago, the North Texas punk community mourned the passing of 24-year-old Noogy drummer "DK" Nick Helm. After many attempts to put together a memorial show that kept getting postponed or canceled due to the pandemic, Crucial Times TX's frontman Zach Abrego has put together a 10-band lineup set to play from the early evening until the wee hours of the morning at Killer's Tacos in Denton to celebrate the drummer's life on what would have been Helm's 27th birthday. While the event is free to all, festival T-shirts have been created to raise money for the Nick Helm Music Foundation, which aides disadvantaged people in their pursuit of music education. Along with Crucial Times TX, friends and fans can look forward to performances from Super Hero / Super Villain, Morocco, Shooting Tsars, Casual Relapse, Bullet Machine, Blood Letters and many more. Kodak Black 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at The Factory in Deep Ellum, 2713 Canton St., $67+ axs.com
Kodak Black began his hip-hop career with group called Brutal Youngnz in 2009 at the age of 12. Four years later, Black released his first mixtape, Project Baby, which was followed-up annually by the rapper's next two mixtapes. Kodak Black's big break came in October 2015 when Drake posted a video of himself dancing to Black's song "Skrt," which sent thousands of people rushing out in search of the song. The rapper has released four studio albums since then, and with every album, he has further established himself as a rapper to be taken seriously. Many critics noted that his most recent album, Back for Everything, is surprisingly devoid of features save for one song with Lil Durk. However, by placing himself in the center of his music, Kodak Black proves himself as a creative and nimble artist. Dallas hip-hop duo Wonder Gang is set to open the show. Robert Earl Keen 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Will Rogers Auditorium, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., $55.95+ at ticketmaster.com
Robert Earl Keen has always sang that "the road goes on forever and the party never ends," but he never promised to stay on that road. In January of this year, Texas music legend Keen surprised his legion of adoring fans by announcing his retirement from touring in September 2022. Keen assured fans that his decision to stop touring was from to illness or any kind of existential crisis. Rather, Keen's decision was based on his desire to leave the road while he still enjoyed it. While Keen plans to continue writing, recording and releasing music until his heart stops, his last scheduled appearance in North Texas will take place this Saturday night at the Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth. After that, his last live performances in Texas will be in West and South Texas, culminating in a sold-out, three-night residency at the Flores Country Store in Helotes, Sept. 2-4. Smokey Robinson 7 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., $69.25+ at attpac.org
82-year-old R&B and soul legend Smokey Robinson was only 17 when he and his band The Miracles met with Barry Gordy where the young singer impressed the future founder of Motown Records with his voice and his visionary songwriting. The Miracles was among the first acts signed to the burgeoning record label and was the first group on the label to have a million-selling hit record with "Shop Around" in 1960. Robinson would also go on to pen hits for others including "The Way You Do The Things You Do," "My Girl" and "Get Ready," which were all made famous by The Temptations. Six-and-a-half decades and 23 albums later, Robinson has accumulated a long list of awards and honors in recognition for his lifetime of contributions to the music world, including honorary doctor of music degrees from Howard University and the Berklee College of Music as well as an induction into the Kennedy Center, which he accepted alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dolly Parton and Steven Spielberg in 2006. Jack White 8 p.m. Monday, May 23, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $45+ at livenation.com
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record label co-founder Jack White has been an integral part of the indie and alt-rock music world since The White Stripes' White Blood Cells captured the nation's imagination in 2001. Building a solid reputation on being a skilled and crafty guitar player, White played his way through several bands before finally just releasing music on his own. Though The Raconteurs and Dead Weather are certainly places where White can stretch his creative muscles as a backing musician, his solo work is where he shines brightest. White released his fourth studio album, Fear of the Dawn, earlier this year. Supported by four singles, including "Hi-De-Ho," which features vocals from Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, Fear of the Dawn has worked its way up the charts in countries across the world. Knoxville singer-songwriter Briston Maroney opens the show Monday night. Tears for Fears 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $39.50+ at livenation.com
There is perhaps no more iconic band of the 1980s than Tears for Fears and definitely none that have withstood the test of time quite like it has. After the band's monumental 1985 release, Songs from the Big Chair, which gave us the hits, "Shout" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Tears for Fears released albums sporadically throughout the '90s and '00s but was never quite able to reach the pinnacle it saw in its prime. All of that changed earlier this year when the duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith got back together to release the first Tears for Fears album in 18 years, The Tipping Point. The band's first Top 10 album since the '80s, The Tipping Point was met with universal acclaim for the band's ability to recapture the magic that had eluded it for so long. For the band's current tour, '90s alt-rock band Garbage provides the opening support. Sigur Rós 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., $59.50+ at attpac.org
The Icelandic art-rock band Sigur Rós will be bringing its legendary live show to the Winspear Opera House for one night only. The band is expected to play new songs from their upcoming, as yet untitled album alongside songs from their incredible 25-year discography. Although the band has not released a new music since 2013, they did release Odin's Raven Magic in December 2020, which was based on an orchestral work they debuted live in 2002. Sigur Rós has recently reissued their early albums Agætis Byrjun, Takk, ( ), Með suð i eyrum við spilum endalaust and Valtari on their own label, Krunk. In years between albums, the band launched the Liminal multimedia project, which they describe as an endless playlist built around re-imaginings of moments from their catalog. The band plays Wednesday night without opening support.
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.
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.