The concert week ahead in North Texas is something of a slow burn, leading up to a night of absolutely impossible decisions at the week's end. The Mars Volta leads off the week playing two shows in Deep Ellum, celebrating the band's reunion and new style. Roxy Music, too, plays a reunion concert in Victory park the following night. A new ZZ Top comes to town Saturday with Dusty Hill's bass tech playing in his stead. Collective Soul closes out the weekend, while the Wu-Tang Clan and company kick off the working week. You'll need that break on Tuesday, though, to make a decision about Wednesday, the night Slipknot, Metric, My Chemical Romance, Florence + the Machine and Andrew Bird all take to their own stage in Dallas, making sure that absolutely everyone has somewhere to be on Sept. 28. Welcome to Libra season, folks; it's time to get out those balance beams and weigh your options. The Mars Volta 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, and Friday, Sept. 23, The Factory in Deep Ellum, 2713 Canton St. $59+ at axs.com
Founded in the wake of post-hardcore band At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta started off in a pool of chaos with disorganized live shows, heavy drug use and a debut EP with mixed reviews. Undeterred by the band's rocky start, core members Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López turned up the conceptual aspect of their new band on the Rick Rubin-produced De-Loused in the Comatorium in 2003. Since then, all of The Mars Volta's albums centered around a unifying musical theme if not an all-encompassing lyrical narrative. All until 2012, that is. After the band released Noctourniquet, its core members disbanded for nearly a decade before coming back together to work on a new album. For the band's self-titled release that dropped Sept. 16, The Mars Volta declared a clean slate for the band, making a conscious effort to leave progressive rock in the past and make music with just a bit more pop. Roxy Music 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. $85.50+ at ticketmaster.com
Formed in 1970, Roxy Music helped shape the look and feel of the glam rock that would take over England in the early '70s. Over the course of 10 years and eight albums, Roxy Music often stood out from its contemporaries, reaching the top spots on U.K. charts at a time when classic rock and family pop bands dominated the music world. Building its music on romantic lyrics and synth-infused rock, Roxy Music's legacy reaches deep into the post-punk movement, inspiring new wave bands and particularly those of the New Romantic persuasion like The Smiths, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. The band went out with a bang in 1982, releasing its most widely recognized single "More Than This" before singer Bryan Ferry dissolved the band and its members went on to pursue other projects. The band has reunited for live shows several times in the past. Roxy Music is currently touring in celebration of its 50th anniversary with Dallas-raised art rocker St. Vincent. ZZ Top 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, Dos Equis Pavilion, 1818 First St. $29.50+ at livenation.com
From 1970 all the way up until last year, Texas boogie rock band ZZ Top included guitarist Billy Gibbons, drummer Frank Beard and bassist Dusty Hill. Hill died in his sleep at the age of 72 at home in Houston last July. He had been suffering from a number of health problems including a hip injury that forced him to leave the band's tour last year just five days before his death. Knowing that he would likely not be able to continue with the band for the rest of the tour, Hill handpicked his bass technician, Elwood Francis, to take his place. When it became clear that he would never return to the band, Hill indicated his wishes that Francis remain with the band. Before his death, Hill had already laid down the bass parts for a new ZZ Top album that is still in the works. Opening for ZZ Top are English guitar god Jeff Beck and Heart vocalist Ann Wilson. Collective Soul 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, The Factory in Deep Ellum, 2713 Canton St. $35+ at axs.com
Collective Soul got a raw deal in the '90s. The band had the great misfortune of forming in 1992, right when every record label in the country began searching near and far to find the next Nirvana. Grunge had always been something of a nebulous term to describe alternative music with a heavy feel to it, so when Collective Soul was signed to Atlantic in 1993 and its song "Shine" was released across the country in 1994, the band got pigeonholed into the look of grunge while never actually meeting the public's definition for whatever grunge was supposed to be. Alt-rockers might have been displeased with the marketing behind Collective Soul, but those who preferred mainstream rock loved it. The band has been going strong as a rock 'n' roll band since the mid-'90s and released its 11th album, Vibrating, in August. Making the Sunday night concert even more special, Christian rock band Switchfoot opens the show. Wu-Tang Clan 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, Dos Equis Pavilion, 1818 First St. $29.50+ at livenation.com
They really pulled out all the stops for this NY State of Mind Tour, so let's start at the top and move down. The Wu-Tang Clan is, without hesitation or question, the greatest hip-hop collective of all time. Comprising nine (10 before the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard in 2004) of the illest MCs to ever rock the mic, Wu-Tang Clan and its members' individual influence on hip-hop has shaped everything that we have come to love about the genre. Then there is Nas, hip-hop's single greatest poet and prophet. To this day, the 1994 release Illmatic is still seen as the gold standard to which all hip-hop albums aspire. Finally, there is the night's opener, none other than Busta Rhymes — the man who has the most recognizable and unduplicated flow in the entirety of rap history. This isn't a lineup of great hip-hop artists. This is truly a lineup of the greatest artists to ever rap. Slipknot 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, Dos Equis Pavilion, 1818 First Ave. $29.50+ at livenation.com
Metal band Slipknot's Knotfest Roadshow returns to Dos Equis Pavilion this weekend. The show will include opening acts Ice Nine Kills and Crown the Empire. For decades now, Slipknot has been known for putting on breathtaking stage shows that are every bit as big and ballistic as the band itself. Coming out of Iowa, Slipknot burst on to the metal scene in the late '90s with their self-titled debut album, catching the eyes and ears of listeners with terrifying masks and three percussionists. While metalheads will always debate just how "metal" any particular metal band may be, one thing that can't be denied about Slipknot is how much power there is behind the nine-piece band. Slipknot's most recent album, We Are Not Your Kind, came out in August 2019, but the band will release its new album, The End, So Far on Sept. 30, which percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan has described as "god music." Metric 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. $36+ at livenation.com
Walking a fine line between indie rock and synth pop, Metric has made quite a name for itself in the nearly 25 years it's been around. The band’s rise to fame really took off with the release of Fantasies in 2009, which included hits such as “Help, I’m Alive,” “Gold Guns Girls” and “Gimme Sympathy,” and by winning the 2010 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Fronted by the talented Emily Haines, the Toronto-based band recently released its eighth studio album, Formentera, garnering favorable reviews from critics. Now the band is coming back into town to headline House of Blues with Dallas-born alt-rock band Secret Machines as its opener. Metric has always been a charismatic band, with Haines' commanding stage presence bringing serious energy to the room. My Chemical Romance 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. $175+ at ticketmaster.com
All the way back in January of 2020, My Chemical Romance announced a reunion tour that would take the world by storm, but the world had other plans. In June 2020, the band postponed all North American events to September and October 2021, and these were later postponed to 2022. Now, it's finally here. High school students who got tickets to this show as freshmen will be able to see My Chemical Romance almost as seniors. The long-anticipated show has had its share of opening acts attached to the bill, but Wednesday night, fans will see New Jersey pop-punk band Midtown and Philadelphia metal band Devil Master warming up the crowd. While it's uncertain whether the new tour will also mean a new album for the band, My Chemical Romance did release at least one new song, "The Foundations of Decay," in May to the joy of fans and critics alike. Florence + the Machine 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving. 35.50+ at ticketmaster.com
English indie rock band Florence + the Machine has always had a reputation for releasing uplifting music that helps its listeners find peace in turmoil. In turn, Florence + the Machine's concerts have always been a place where fans feel safe and deeply connected with the music and lyrics of this now longstanding band. The band made its first impression back in 2007 with its ode to scorched earth endings, "Kiss With A Fist." Since then, Florence + the Machine has made it its business to defy oppressive forces — whether external or internal. Earlier this year, the band released its fifth studio album, Dance Fever, which was praised by critics for bringing an element of dance music to the band's time-tested formula. If Florence + the Machine's music has always been about catharsis and release, there is now a bit more rhythm to get it all out. Andrew Bird 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, Strauss Square, 2403 Flora St. $41.50+ at attpac.org
Indie rock multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has always been something of a musical outsider. Coming up in jazz combos The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Kevin O'Donnell's Quality Six, Bird has showcased his unique style of violin playing that is made more magical with his use of looping, effect pedals, whistling and voice. While the singer has developed a devoted following after nearly three decades doing music the way he wants to, Bird has always flown just under the radar of the mainstream. A true musical artist, Bird performs Wednesday night at Strauss Square in the Dallas Arts District. Bird will receive opening support from one of his indie-folk peers, Iron & Wine, who released his latest EP, Lori, earlier this month. Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada will kick things off with her jazz-inspired folk music. This is sure to be a mellow show made to be enjoyed in a downtown setting.
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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.