This week brings a chance to hear a few Dallas Observer Music Award nominees, such as Mothership and From Parts Unknown. It's also Denton-born Oaktopia's premiere in Dallas; it'll feature 21 Savage, Phantogram, Lil Yachty and others.
7:40 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $29.50 and up
Imagine Dragons' members couldn't have imagined the careers they have today. The band has won or been nominated for nearly 100 major awards. It's a pretty big feat considering the band has only released three albums since its conception in 2008 and took a year off in 2016 to focus on personal matters. Of course, it's not all about the awards. Imagine Dragons' unique and progressive approach to modern alternative rock, especially this year's Evolve, keeps it at the forefront of the game. Diamond Victoria
Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions
10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, RBC, 2617 Commerce St., 469-487-6149 or rbcdeepellum.com, free
We actually look forward to Mondays now, thanks to the work of Stefan Gonzalez. The lineup he curates on that day every week at RBC is one of the best places in the city to discover new music. Outward Bound Mixtape began a few years ago at Crown and Harp on Lower Greenville before it moved to Deep Ellum, but in its new home it offers the same opportunity for local and touring acts to try out something new in front of an enthusiastic and openminded crowd of regulars, whether that means a first show, new songs or a sound that defies genre labels. If you ask the act du jour in Dallas noise, punk, goth or free jazz where it played some of its first shows, you'll likely be told Outward Bound, so attend Mondays and stay ahead of the curve. Caroline North
The Funky Knuckles
10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, Sundown at Granada, 3520 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8305 or , free
The Funky Knuckles have been together for more than six years. The fusion jazz band released an album calledin 2014 that climbed to No. 1 on iTunes’ jazz charts the first day of its release. Together, the Knuckles are a force to be reckoned with. That’s because, individually, they’re all seasoned players who’ve worked with superstars such as Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michelle, Talib Kweli, Puff Daddy and the Polyphonic Spree.
8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $49.50-$59.50
For five years, English band alt-J found success by blending into the middle ground of alternative rock with albums that embraced soft, muted lyrics and tones. But these days, alt-J is restitching the pieces of its usual musical pattern, and with it comes the less polite, more experimental critical toss-up, Relaxer, the band's third studio album, released in June. DV
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 316 W. Las Colinas Blvd., 972-810-1499 or musicfactory.com, $39-$50
Pianist-songwriter Tori Amos hasn’t visited Dallas in a while, but she’ll appear Friday at Toyota Music Factory to play songs from her latest album, Native Invader. The new album addresses a mix of universal and personal subjects, from American politics to her mother’s stroke. More so than Amos’ past work, Native Invader whispers with quiet meditation. On this tour, she’s onstage solo, which befits the stripped-down nature of her new material. It’s just Amos singing behind a piano, with minimal backing tracks serving as accompaniment. Her new music pairs well with classic material such as “Crucify,” “Silent All These Years” and “Cornflake Girl.” Amos is known to dive deep into her catalog and rearrange familiar tunes during live performances. Even if you’ve seen her before, you’re guaranteed to see a completely different show this time. Jeff Strowe
With MILCK, 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $42-$58
If you’re curious how an independent musician garners a large audience without compromising her music, look no further than Ani DiFranco for an example. DiFranco makes folk music with a DIY, punk ethos. She is touring off her 20th studio album, a collaboration with MILCK called Binary, and she continues to draw engaged audiences night after night. DiFranco, who also runs her record label, puts on shows that feel intimate, and each city hears a slightly different set list. MILCK opens the show. Eric Grubbs
With 21 Savage, Phantogram, Lil Yachty, STRFKR, A-Trak and More, Multiple Deep Ellum Venues, Friday and Saturday, oaktopia.com, $15-$175
Oaktopia has delivered another stellar lineup, as versatile as it is fresh. From the cold, hardened storytelling of Atlanta rapper 21 Savage to the candied trap of Lil Yachty to the raunchy electronic music of Tobacco, this year’s festival promises a lot. Notable local talents include Blue, the Misfit and The John Stewart, two of our city’s principal hip-hop figures. Spanning two days and featuring 31 other artists, Oaktopia 2017 offers adventurous listeners plenty of sounds to explore this year. Jonathan Patrick
With From Parts Unknown and Wo Fat, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, Curtain Club, 2800 Main St., 214-742-6207 or curtainclub.com, $10-$15
Dallas-based trio Mothership has the market on local metal and heavy rock 'n' roll cornered. Best Metal Act winner of last year's Dallas Observer Music Awards and nominee for the same title this year, Mothership is playing hot on the heels of a cross-country tour. The band will release its latest album at Curtain Club on Saturday night with local punk trio From Parts Unknown (also on this year's ballot for Best Punk Act) and stoner rock band Wo Fat in tow. DV
Soul Bounce with DJ Wanz Dover
9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, Ships Lounge, 1613 Greenville Ave., 972-707-7234 or shipslounge.com, free
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Wanz Dover and a rotating guest list of some of the city's best soul DJs throw a retro party, touching on funk, soul, psyche rock, surf, protopunk, garage rock and other assorted old-school jams, every Saturday night at Ships Lounge. With tunes from Velvet Underground to Otis Redding, this weekly Lower Greenville gig is a great alternative for those not wanting to brave Deep Ellum on its busier nights. It's truly a night dedicated to perfect dive-bar jams for mods and rockers of all stripes. DV
8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., 214-565-1116 or liveatthemusichall.com, $49-$100
American Idol’s winners have been hit or miss, but Fantasia Barrino was one of the hits. She won the reality TV competition in 2004 and has since been performing on stages from Broadway to the Music Hall at Fair Park. It’s been 12 years since 33-year-old Barrino released her first studio album, Free Yourself, and in that time, she has won a Grammy and seen her debut go platinum. In October, she released her sixth studio album, Christmas After Midnight. Fantasia livens up Christmas standards such as “This Christmas” and James Brown’s “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” with her soulful rasp, and she’ll play songs from the album Sunday in Dallas. Even first-time listeners who just want a fun way to kick off the holiday season will get a kick out of her powerful voice and upbeat arrangements. Nicholas Bostick