Concerts

10 Best Concerts of the Week: Blue October, The Polyphonic Spree, Soccer Mommy and More

The Polyphonic Spree hosts its 19th Annual Holiday Extravaganza this Saturday at the Majestic Theatre.
The Polyphonic Spree hosts its 19th Annual Holiday Extravaganza this Saturday at the Majestic Theatre. Mike Brooks
With the holidays right around the corner, it seems that many of North Texas' all-time favorite acts are making their way back to where it all got started. Sure, acts like Blue October and Jack Ingram may not really be from the area, but North Texas was instrumental in launching their careers, and it's always nice to see an old friend. The weekend will also see a concert from hometown heroes Reverend Horton Heat in Denton, a special Christmas show from The Polyphonic Spree downtown and let us get down to some country funk with Paul Cauthen in Deep Ellum. Sunday offers local music fans a night of metal with Ukrainian band Jinjer playing in Victory Park and classic metal band Machine Head playing on the outskirts of Dallas. Next week is all Christmas music, however, as pop favorites David Archuleta and Chris Isaak bring their Christmas tours to Arlington and Dallas. It's getting cold out there, North Texas, so let some music warm your spirit.
Blue October
7 p.m. Thursday & Friday, Dec. 15–16, Tannahill's Tavern and Music Hall, 122 E. Exchange Ave., No. 200, Fort Worth. $67+ at ticketmaster.com

Dallas music fans know that Houston's Blue October would have never gotten as far as they have without 102.1 the EDGE putting the band's 2003 single "Calling You" on its regular rotation. And while the band has yet to recapture the national success of their 2006 album Foiled, with mega hits "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean," in 2020, Blue October was the subject of the documentary, Get Back Up, which was shot over seven years while the band members dealt with the fallout from their various addictions. Now sober, the group members are back with a new album, Spinning the Truth Around, which is said to be the first of three albums to be released over the year. The second is due out in March 2023, and the third installment of remixes and alternate versions of songs from the first two parts is due out later in the year. Blue October is scheduled to play two nights at Tannahill's in Fort Worth, but the only tickets left are for the first night.
Jack Ingram
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St. $28+ at prekindle.com

Texas roots singer/songwriter Jack Ingram has been a favorite around these parts since the early '90s. As a musician, Ingram has been honored by the Academy of Country Music with awards for both Top New Male Artist and Song of the Year. Ingram is also the host of Texas Music Scene, the syndicated TV show featuring Texas-based artists in over 80 markets. Ingram's most recent project, The Marfa Tapes, was released in 2021 and saw the singer collaborating with fellow Texas songwriters Jon Randall and Miranda Lambert. That release was up for Best Country Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards but lost to Chris Stapleton's Starting Over. Ingram will receive opening support from another Texas songwriter, Ryan Culwell, who was born in Perryton, Texas, but has since found success in the Nashville country music scene.
Reverend Horton Heat
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Dan's Silverleaf, 103 N. Industrial St., Denton. $20 at prekindle.com

As far as North Texas music staples go, it really doesn't get much bigger than Reverend Horton Heat. Since 1986, the man, the band and the legend have represented North Texas with pride while recording for prominent indie labels such as Sub Pop and Victory Records and finding a way onto the Billboard charts with every release since 1994's Interscope Records release, Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Back. The principal members, guitarist Jim Heath and upright bassist Jimbo Wallace, have played together since 1989, keeping the Reverend Horton Heat name going with every new drummer. Most recently, the band has been on tour with the Toadies, who released Rubberneck on Interscope that same year. This Saturday, the band with 35 solid years of North Texas music history takes to the small stage in Denton for an intimate show at Dan's Silverleaf. The opening act has yet to be announced.
The Polyphonic Spree
6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St. $45+ at prekindle.com

Dallas collective The Polyphonic Spree has been making music fun and spectacular for over 20 years. Formed in the wake of singer Tim DeLaughter's previous band, Tripping Daisy, The Polyphonic Spree rose to national attention in the mid-'00s on the strength of a few high-profile appearances and endorsements.  The song "Light and Day" was famously featured in a Volkswagen Beetle/iPod crossover commercial in 2003. That launched the band's career, taking them to the set of the comedy series Scrubs, scoring the 2005 film Thumbsucker and recording for countless show and film soundtracks. This weekend, however, is all for the hometown crowd. On Saturday, the Spree will host its 19th Annual Holiday Extravaganza. Fans are encouraged to bring a canned good to benefit the North Texas Food Bank and a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots.
Soccer Mommy
6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, House of Blues Dallas, 2200 N. Lamar St. $25+ at livenation.com

Swiss-born singer-songwriter Sophia Regina Allison, better known by her stage name Soccer Mommy, established her music career in Nashville back in 2015. Allison independently released her first demo album, For Young Hearts, just weeks after her 19th birthday in 2016. The album caught the attention of prominent indie record label Fat Possum, which issued her first studio album, Clean, in 2018. Oddly enough, the album failed to make the charts like her demo album had. Soccer Mommy would release two more albums on Loma Vista records while touring the country and opening for acts such as Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Vampire Weekend and Wilco. The singer's most recent album, Sometimes, Forever, came out this past summer to universal acclaim and will likely be seen on many year-end best-of lists in the next month. Canadian indie rock band TOPS opens the show.
Paul Cauthen
7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, at The Studio at The Factory, 2727 Canton St. $35 at axs.com

Tyler's own Paul Cauthen has one of the best voices in country music, and we don't just mean here in North Texas. Known as Big Velvet for the same gritty baritone of his closest musical ancestor Waylon Jennings — whose "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)" Cauthen covered in 2017 — the singer garnered a national reputation for doing old school country ("Prayed for Rain") and being able to do it in a new school way ("Cocaine Country Dancing") with his 2019 release Room 41. Cauthen's follow-up album, Country Coming Down, came out this past spring to many positive reviews with its lead single, "Country As Fuck." That song, like many on the album, shows that the singer still knows how to have a good time, but those good times are not without their moments of reflection as seen in the last three songs of the album. No opening act has yet been announced.
JINJER
6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. $37+ at livenation.com

Ukrainian metalcore band JINJER is a band with two origin stories. It was formed in 2009, but none of the original members who recorded on JINJER's first EP that year remain in the band today. Instead, the current lineup considers the band's formation as starting in 2010, when vocalist Tati Shmailyuk replaced the original singer and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov joined as the band's second guitarist. Though they've had something of a revolving door in terms of members, JINJER's 2018 tour opening for Cradle of Filth solidified its lineup and its place at the metalcore table. The band's 2019 release following the tour Macro was met with much acclaim from the metal community and was recognized by Loudwire as one of the 50 best metal albums of the year. JINJER's fourth album, Wallflowers, was released in August 2021 and earned praised for its avant-garde approach to progressive metal. English metal band Malevolence and Ukrainian rock band Space of Variations open the show, as does Christian nü metal band P.O.D.
Machine Head
7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, Amplified Live, 10261 Technology Blvd. E. $29.50+ at seetickets.us.

Since 1991, Machine Head has been blasting out riffs both groovy and menacing, making it one of the most influential acts in metal. The band has carved its path across the globe for over three decades on the strength of its genre-expanding 1994 debut Burn My Eyes and metal classics such as 1999’s The Burning Red and 2007’s The Blackening and with new life injected by 2014’s Bloodstone and Diamonds. In 2022, Machine Head came back back with its most critically acclaimed effort yet. The band's 10th album, ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN, is an hour-long concept album set in a futuristic wasteland with a blood-red sky and tells the story of two characters connected by trauma and violence. The album really shows how a band like Machine Head can continue evolving without losing its old school spirit and underground roots. Known for its 3-hour marathon performances, Machine Head will play Sunday night without an opener.
David Archuleta
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, Arlington Music Hall, 224 N. Center St. $14+ at eventbrite.com

At only 16 years of age, David Archuleta became a star in 2008 when more than 30 million viewers made him runner-up in Season 7 of American Idol and helped his first single “Crush” rise to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Archuleta would see more success with a few more albums, but as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the singer would eventually put his singing career on hiatus to serve a 2-year stint as a missionary outside of Santiago, Chile. Archuleta returned to music in 2014, launching his own indie label, Archie Music. Now with nine studio albums under his belt, Archuleta's most recent album, Therapy Sessions, deals with the singer's lifelong mental health struggles. However, this Tuesday night, Archuleta will be singing songs from his two Christmas albums and more as The More the Merrier Christmas Tour makes its way to Arlington.
Chris Isaak
6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, House of Blues Dallas, 2200 N. Lamar St. $39.50+ at livenation.com

It may have been a while since you thought about Chris Isaak, but this season of year is a great time to remember. Isaak's best known song, "Wicked Game," dominated airwaves and film scores in the late '90s, but his heyday came in the mid-'90s with a string of hits from his 1995 album, Forever Blue. That album would give the world the songs "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" and "Somebody's Crying," both of which found their way on alternative and adult contemporary radio stations. Isaak has since become just as well-known for his acting as for his music, having played Phoebe's love interest on Friends in a 1996 episode and appearing in the shows American Dreams and Hot in Cleveland. Most recently, Isaak recorded an album of Christmas standards, Everybody Knows It's Christmas, which is what brings him to town for an evening of Christmas songs along with his greatest hits and favorite covers.
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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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