With the coming and going of Oaktopia and the beginning of Austin City Limits, it's busy season for music festivals. But you don't have to pack up and drive the hours-long journey to Austin for good live music. Rap-ravers Die Antwoord and hard rock alums Thrice are stopping through town this week, alongside some of Texas's own best and brightest, like former candidate for governor Kinky Friedman and East Texas country starlet Kacey Musgraves.
Kinky Friedman 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at Dan's Silverleaf, 103 N. Industrial St., Denton, Texas, 940-320-2000, or danssilverleaf.com, $12 to $30. Austin's own lunatic laureate, Kinky Friedman, has been a fly in the ointment for four decades, working over country and honky-tonk with satire sharp as Michael Madsen's straight razor in Reservoir Dogs. The Jewish son of a UT professor, Friedman possesses the imperturbably lighthearted manner of a confirmed wiseacre. It's in full regalia on his mock-sympathetic "Ballad of Charles Whitman," along with a well of irreverence filled with songs like "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore" or "Wild Man From Borneo," inspired by his time during the '60s in the Peace Corps. His reedy, easygoing baritone and poker-faced delivery imbue the music with wry charm. Chris Parker
With Landlady, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at The Kessler Theatre, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346, or thekessler.org, $22 to $44. Okkervil River's frontman Will Sheff blends dry humor, fragility and intelligence to create his lyrics, easily putting them into the ring of Texas's best indie rock bands. Hailing from Austin, Okkervil River has been making music since 1998 and has seen plenty of lineup changes along the way. Their latest album, Away, released Sept. 9, was recorded with an all-new cast and crew and Sheff says it's "not an Okkervil River album, and it's my favorite Okkervil River album." The shift in mood on the latest album and the introduction of a fingerpicking folk guitarist and an upright jazz bassist are surely an indication of good things to come. Diamond Victoria
Andrew Bird With Sinkane, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at The Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St., 214-880-0137. Andrew Bird was one of the earlier pioneers of modern chamber pop. Growing up in Chicago, Bird — a classical violinist in training at age 4 — worked with alterna-swing band Squirrel Nut Zippers before firmly establishing a name for himself as a songwriter far beyond the Windy City with the release of his 1997 album Thrills. Since then, Bird has slowly but steadily explored various musical styles and eras, adopting ideas and creating a body of work that's had a clear impact on anyone who makes pop music that fuses classical instruments and older musical styles with a modern sensibility. Tom Murphy
Band of Skulls With Mothers, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122, or treesdallas.com, $20. It's tempting to say Band of Skulls could be the biggest thing launched out of Southampton, England, since the Titanic but surely they're hoping their career goes better than that. So far, so good: The U.K. press became enamored of the two boys and one girl upon 2009 XL debut Baby Darling Doll Face Honey before the trio impressed American audiences on tour with bands like Metric. Like the White Stripes and many others before them, if Band of Skulls are not attacking their instruments at eardrum-rupturing levels, they're relaxing in soothing acoustic interludes. Chris Gray
Tycho With Big Wild and Heathered Pearls, 8 p.m., Friday, September 30, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501, or thebombfactory.com, $25.
Tycho makes the type of music you might hear in a Zach Braff movie. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl twirls her hand outside of a car while it's buzzing down the freeway; Braff smiles and says something like "you're as beautiful as the limitlessness of life." Scott Hansen's project — now a three piece band — is bright, ambient, and uniquely fecund. It's no wonder: He's also a graphic designer, photographer and visual artist as well. The florescent scenery you see here is no mistake, it's a carefully constructed tableau. H. Drew Blackburn
Two Door Cinema Club
With Jack Garrat, 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S Lamar, 214-421-2021, or southsideballroomdallas.com, $32.50. Contagious choruses are hardly anything new to the music industry; they're almost the heart of it. Three-piece band Two Door Cinema Club makes climbing the charts look crazy easy even without straight pop hooks. Its genre-bending fusion of pop, indie rock and dance makes it stand out from the rest of the radio stuff. Christine Borges
With Too White Crew, 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $15. The years haven’t been too kind to Marcel Theo Hall. The rapper known as Biz Markie has steadily survived off of the incredible success of his irreverent 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” after a landmark court case led to Biz’s third album being pulled off shelves and forcing all rappers to get their samples cleared by the original artist. A victim of the times, the Clown Prince of Hip Hop is still chugging along, showing up in Sharknado 2: The Second One in 2014 and getting his iconic single played on the Netflix Original Series Love in 2016. Markie has eschewed the cliché of the sad one-hit wonder by being a pretty funny dude, and that’s only reinforced by the line up for his show at the House of Blues. He’ll be joined by Too White Crew, a tribute band to the golden era of hip-hop whose main claim to fame is being “the only band in the past decade to perform at the Playboy Mansion.” It’ll be a fun, easy time, and with any luck Markie will give fans a taste of some of the less mainstream rap he’s produced over the years, like “Vapors” and “No Body Beats the Biz.” Nicholas Bostick
Kacey Musgraves 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at State Fair of Texas, 3921 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, 214-565-9931 or bigtex.com, Free with State Fair admission. Mineola native Kacey Musgraves returns home for what will undoubtedly be a special performance. The traditional goings-on of the classic State Fair of Texas should provide the perfect backdrop for Musgraves’ tongue-in-cheek throwback aesthetic that she’s employed for her acclaimed Rhinestone Revue Tour this past year in support of her equally acclaimed album, Pageant Material. Musgraves’ reputation for delivering a classic country sound rife with progressive lyrics has made her a star in the country scene and beyond. Her music has been lauded by publications such as Pitchfork, The Fader and others that traditionally bypass country music altogether. Musgraves’ wide-ranging appeal has made her a regular at the CMT Awards, South By Southwest and Bonnaroo. This will be a rare opportunity to catch such a talented artist in her prime for the simple price of admission to the fair. Mikel Galicia Die Antwoord
9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $49.50. The end is nigh for South African rave rappers Die Antwood. Or so they say. Sometime in 2017, maybe. While they won’t be splitting up any time soon, DJ Hi-Tek (now known as God), Watkin “Ninja” Jones and Yolandi Visser have stated that by this time next year, Die Antwoord will be no more. For now, however, Dallas gets to bask in the brown acid trance of dick jokes and “real gangster shit” that is Die Antwoord’s penultimate album, Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid. Featuring the likes of Dita Von Teese, DJ Muggs and Lil Tommy Terror, the album has so far garnered a mixed response from critics. However, with track titles like “U Like Boobies?” “Wings on My Penis” and “Gucci Coochie,” it’s easy to understand how people might not understand what the group is really getting at here. Then again, sometimes it seems like the members themselves are still searching for the ever-elusive “answer.” It’s best not to think about it, and instead enjoy the show one more time, before the book is finally closed on this once-in-a-lifetime group. (Probably.) Nicholas Bostick
With La Dispute, Nothing and Nowhere, 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at Gas Monkey Live!, 10110 Technology Blvd. E., 214-350-1904 or gasmonkeybarngrill.com, $21 to $600. Thrice never fell into a trap of being one style when they were initially around between 2000 and 2011. They appealed to fans of Refused, Radiohead, Thursday and Coheed and Cambria while not sounding like a copycat of any of those bands. Now back as a full-time operation, the four-piece from Irvine, California is promoting a new record, To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere, and trekking through the States all fall. The band is used to playing large venues around here, even though you're not going to hear their music on the radio. They've cultivated a sound and presentation that doesn't try to be trendy or popular. Thrice just does what they want, whether it's sounding like proggy post-hardcore, electronic-tinged tripping or acoustic-driven mellowness. Eric Grubbs
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