10 Best Concerts of the Week: Modest Mouse, Joshua Ray Walker, J. Cole and More

Country music singer Joshua Ray Walker plays Friday night at Granada Theater with soul-pop artist Larry g(EE).
Country music singer Joshua Ray Walker plays Friday night at Granada Theater with soul-pop artist Larry g(EE). Chad Windham
This next concert week is packed wall-to-wall with great local bands and some exciting national acts coming through North Texas. Things start off with a bang as Modest Mouse and Future Islands play The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. Denton hosts yet another festival this weekend, this time shining the spotlight on local folk musicians. Phantomelo and Joshua Ray Walker are celebrating new releases tomorrow — a new video, and new album, respectively. The music really gets going early next week with some of the biggest names in rap, hardcore and indie-rock gracing the hottest and newly revamped local stages: J. Cole, Dance Gavin Dance and Beach Fossils. And that's not even the half of it.
Modest Mouse
7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $35+ at

After six years, Modest Mouse finally has a new album to tour. The group released The Golden Casket this past summer, the band's seventh studio album and fourth album since their breakout hit "Float On." The latest record has been met with mixed reviews, though generally positive. Critics seem split on whether the textured layers work to the band's detriment. Though cluttered, the band's sound is far from messy, and if it's pulled off well on stage, it should be an evening of sonic delights. Modest Mouse has always been somewhat of an enigmatic and unpredictable band, but fans can expect to hear songs spanning their 25-year career when they take the stage Thursday night at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory. North Carolina synth-pop band Future Islands will open the show, supporting its new album As Long As You Are.
Denton Folk Festival
4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 8-10, at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St., $20-$50 at

This weekend, the Denton Songwriter's Guild presents three full days of folk, Americana, bluegrass and world music. Rubber Gloves hosts the Denton Folk Festival with 22 performances on indoor and outdoor stages, and this weekend's weather forecast happens to be perfect for evenings sitting out on the venue's expansive patio listening to some folk music. Attendees can look forward to amazing performances each day of the festival, notably the Latin, pop, funk and soul fusion of the Vince Lujan Project on Friday, the powerful songwriting of the Matt Grigsby Fiasco on Saturday and the enthralling murder ballads of Pinbox Serenade on Sunday — and that is barely scratching the surface of what this festival has in store. Music fans with kids should show up early Saturday for a family-friendly show by Polly and the Pumpkineers starting at 2 p.m. Remember, Rubber Gloves now requires either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the show date, so come prepared.
James McMurtry
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $26 at

Born in Fort Worth, singer-songwriter James McMurtry has been a welcome sardonic voice in country music for over 30 years now with songs like "Levelland" and "We Can't Make It Here" standing as time-tested anthems of dissatisfaction with country life — told with wit, wisdom and wry humor. McMurtry released his 10th studio album The Horses and the Hounds in August. Met with universal acclaim, the album has been heralded for its three-dimensional characters and its thoroughly engaging storytelling. McMurtry writes lyrics that reward those who listen closely for the punchline, which shouldn't be difficult with the singer's crisp (albeit misanthropic) delivery. That's not to say that McMurtry is a misanthrope per se, but it's transparently clear which kind of people draw the singer's ire. Be aware that McMurtry has requested that attendees observe specific COVID-19 safety protocols Friday night at The Kessler.
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at Lola's Trailer Park, 2735 W. 5th St., $10 at

In celebration of the release of their latest single "Space Prom," indie rock band Phantomelo will throw a party with King Clam and Primo Danger Friday night at Lola's Trailer Park in Fort Worth. Promising a special surprise at the door for all who attend, Phantomelo wants this show to be epic. Phantomelo always puts on a great show with lots of lights and Will Rakkar's captivating guitar parts. The band's talent and humor can be clearly seen in the new "Space Prom" video. A Coffee Pot Films production, the darkly comedic video involves a serial killer, some puppets and dining on human flesh — the perfect complement to the band's almost cheery-sounding murder ballad. Be sure to show up early, though, because those opening acts are nothing to miss. King Clam and Primo Danger both have commanding front-persons with a lot of talent behind them.
Joshua Ray Walker
8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $15-$29 at

Wasting no time riding the worldwide accolades he received for his 2020 album Glad You Made It, Joshua Ray Walker is back with a new album, See You Next Time, the final installment of a trilogy that began with the release 2019's Wish You Were Here. In the trilogy, the characters Walker has concocted from his experiences in dive bars meet at a local honky-tonk that is on its last legs. On See You Next Time, they are meeting on the bar's last night in existence. The album is filled with emotional songs about loss and tragedy, but it also features the fun and danceable party track "Sexy After Dark," which finds the singer crooning over a horn section. For the album release show this Friday at Granada Theater, Walker has asked Dallas soul-pop artist Larry g(EE) to open the show, which is sure to get the party off to a great start.
Brave Little Howl and Cut Throat Finches
9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $10 at

Coming fresh off a set at The State Fair of Texas and the release of the studio version of last year's dreamy, acoustic single "Can't Say," Brave Little Howl plays Saturday night with Cut Throat Finches and Dan O'Connell at Double Wide in Deep Ellum. This is really just a winning combination all around. Along with an accomplished singer-songwriter like O'Connell, you not only get the powerful folk-rock of Brave Little Howl, but also get the giant, Southern, alt-rock of Cut Throat Finches. It's sure to be a night high in songwriting quality with both of the headliners earning tons of local awards and nominations through the years. As such, the night's co-headliners also come with a group of die-hard fans, so now is your chance to finally see what all the fuss has been about. Double Wide is just a stone's throw away from the fair, after all.
8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $50 at

Colombian singer-songwriter and former member of rock band Ekhymosis, Juanes is bringing his Origen Tour to The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory Sunday night. Winner of 20 Latin Grammy awards and five Grammy awards, Juanes' albums have gone multi-platinum throughout Latin America. Juanes is touring his ninth studio album Origen, which finds the singer covering 12 songs in English and in Spanish that inspired him before he became a solo singer. Among the Spanish tracks are "Volver," originally by Carlos Gardel, and Juan Gabriel's "No Tengo Dinero." He also does a Spanish cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" and an English cover of Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved." During the show, Juanes is expected to share the personal stories behind each song's influence on him as well as the stories behind his own greatest hits.
J. Cole with 21 Savage
8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $129+ at

Regarded as one of the most influential in the new generation of rappers, J. Cole brings his Off-Season tour with 21 Savage to American Airlines Center Monday night. Released in May, The Off-Season is the first release from what the rapper is calling his "Fall Off Era," which will conclude when he releases The Fall Off after this and potentially another album, It's a Boy. Critics have been quite favorable toward The Off-Season, praising the rapper's steadfast progression in his development as a producer and lyricist. The album's second single "m y . l i f e" features tourmates 21 Savage and Morray and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The same day the song was released, 21 Savage released the Spiral: From the Book of Saw soundtrack which the rapper both executive-produced and contributed to. The night will be hosted by hip-hop comedian Druski.
Dance Gavin Dance
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at The Factory, 2713 Canton St., $62+ at

Sacramento post-hardcore icons Dance Gavin Dance finally make their return to The Factory in Deep Ellum Tuesday night after having to reschedule the show twice. Promoting their latest album Afterburner, Dance Gavin Dance comes to town like they always do with a small festival's-worth of opening acts — fellow Sacramento post-hardcore band Wolf & Bear, Salt Lake City rock band Eidola, Chicago metalcore band VEIL OF MAYA and D.C. prog-metal band Animals As Leaders. The band's ninth album, Afterburner was praised as their most accomplished album for its consistency and complexity. The new album builds upon the band's post-hardcore past with influences from funk, pop, rap and Latin music. Dance Gavin Dance has always been known for putting on intense live shows that keep fans coming back for more, and Tuesday night's show is sure to be no different.
Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing
8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Amplified Live, 10261 Technology Blvd. E, $25 at

Last year, Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut albums, but due to the pandemic, both bands had to reschedule their co-headlining tour. Now, both groups are back out on the road and playing Amplified Live Wednesday night. Ten years ago, Wild Nothing’s Gemini and Beach Fossils' self-titled album were both met with rave reviews from Pitchfork, turning the bands into indie-rock royalty overnight. Over the course of the last decade, they've maintained their status in indie-rock circles by releasing consistently great albums that build upon their previous work without becoming stale or repetitive. Beach Fossils recently announced The Other Side of Life: Piano Ballads, an album due out Nov. 19, featuring piano covers of some of the band’s greatest hits.
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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.
Contact: David Fletcher

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