For 17 Days, Dallas is Metal Heaven: Five Must-See Shows

Consider this your advance warning, Dallas. Amplified rock and roll is coming, and it's not only coming hard, it's coming at times that are mainly not weeknights, meaning you can combine two pursuits, metal concerts and binge drinking, that go hand in hand like butter on toast or rabbits and doing it. Over the end of July and early August, there is enough world-class loud music coming through Dallas to power a small city, and I've created a guide for you, in the hope you can throw together your own elongated metal festival of sorts. You can even call it what you want, I don't mind, but if you're stuck for a name just call it "GavinFest," OK? Fold this guide into your back pocket, or, should your computer monitor not fold, then simply write it down, making sure to include all the vital notes accompanying each entry.

  • The Sword, July 25, Granada Theater, $19/$21

    The Sword are fucking awesome. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. If someone prefers anything with an acoustic guitar over the city-flattening pounding of Austin's favorite sons, then they are a liar who cannot be trusted. Apparently The Sword will be supplying their own beer, made by Real Ale Brewing, at this show. That, apart from a penchant for long hair, is the only thing The Sword and Hanson have in common.

  • Dillinger Escape Plan, July 26, House of Blues, $28.50/$32

    This is the "Summer Slaughter Tour," it says here, which means a bunch of other bands, such as Periphery and The Ocean, will be attempting to tear up the main stage, but none of them will be able to hold a candle to the must-see insane unstoppable live show that Dillinger put on. When they came through Dallas in 2011, at the Prophet Bar, a drunk man got on stage so the guitarist ripped his shirt clean off his body and threw him back into the crowd. This band does not fuck around, and I'm about 98 percent sure that they would kill you given just half the chance. Unmissable, and a Friday night too.

  • Zorch/BLACKIE, August 1, Canton Co-Op, No Idea

    Alien kings of synth-metal Zorch return to Dallas on the Thursday after The Sword and Dillinger (or Friday in Denton, if you prefer weekends, at Macaroni Island). They're playing a house show, which as far as I can discern, is entirely free and features free alcohol provided by a sponsor. Houston one-man noise violation BLACKIE is the support, making this gig (WHICH IS PROBABLY FREE, PEOPLE, AS FAR AS I CAN MAKE OUT) just as unmissable as the last two I mentioned. Surely, you think, there can't be more ear-bleedingly loud music?

  • Mastodon, Machinehead, Rob Zombie, August 4, Gexa Energy Pavilion, $40-ish

    Another stacked multi-band tour, but this one with so much metal I have no idea how they tour it between cities. Is there a fleet of tour buses? Do all the bands have a huge metal plane, like the one Iron Maiden fly between cities (I saw it in Iceland once, while jet-lagged, although I may have hallucinated that)? Mastodon is worth the price of admission alone, so frankly Machine Head and Rob Zombie are bonuses. That's a proper bonus. None of this "buy six, get one free" nonsense here. Buy one, get 14 free. Not all of them good, admittedly, but good enough to make this worth your while. On a Sunday, which is a rarity for this festival, as the last two times it's come through Dallas it's been starting at 1 p.m. on a weekday, which makes getting there sort of a challenge. If you're unemployed, how could you possibly afford Live Nation's ticket fees? The $40 lawn ticket is $28 + $12 of fees. For goodness' sakes.

  • Melvins, August 10, Trees, $17/$20

    Guys. Guys, guys, guys. I might be biased here, but the Melvins are essentially one of the best things to ever happen to loud rock music, and if you don't go and see them, on their 30th anniversary tour, playing a career-spanning setlist heavy on '90s classics, then you deserve to be put down or something. That was probably harsh, but ask anyone I know how much I like the Melvins and they will confirm that, should they miss this gig, I will almost certainly punch them. It's on a Saturday. It's not prohibitively expensive. There is literally no excuse.

So, there you have it. Three weeks or so, five concerts with at least seven must-see bands, $110-ish. Curate your own mini-festival, Dallas. Have it spread out and have it convenient. Go to these shows, drink outrageously, and I will see you there.

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