The 10 Best Concerts in Dallas this Week: Ludacris, Sarah Jaffe & More

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What's that? Constant rain and 50-degree weather? That sounds like the Texas spring we all know and, uh, tolerate. But as Texans, it's our duty to endure. So go dig out your heavy jacket and get ready to stand in line at Trees for Daughter's sold out show, or maybe catch Sarah Jaffe at the Granada. If you must, you could always watch Silento attempt to whip, whip and nae nae his way into maintaining cultural relevance at Southside.

The Funky Knuckles
10 p.m. Monday, March 28, at The Free Man, 2626 Commerce St., Free

The Dallas-based Funky Knuckles are virtuosos, through and through. They seamlessly jump between jazz and funk while maintaining perfect rhythm throughout complex time signatures. Their arrangements are dense, but that doesn't exclude people who aren't technical musicians themselves. Even if they're playing in an almost made-up melodic key, there's still a huge amount of soul thrown into the mix. Matt Wood

8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebomfactory.com, $35-$68

Atlanta native Chris Bridges, better known as Ludacris, made his way through Texas three times last year, and it’s perfectly fine with us if he keeps Dallas in his rotation. Ludacris is not only a rapper but also an actor and entrepreneur. The 38-year-old hustler will have appeared in 20 feature films — that means he has more films than albums — after the 2017 Fast & Furious installment, Fast 8, comes out. He has also made several TV appearances, including a small spot on last season’s Empire. His last record, Ludaversal, came out a year ago, nearly five years after his previous album. In an interview with Vibe, he promised there won’t be another half-decade wait for the next album. This concert is the first presented by Another Mavericks Production, which means you should be on the lookout for Mark Cuban sightings as well. Sara Button

With Wilson, 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, Sold out

More often than not, descriptions of indie-folk group Daughter rely on words like “gloom,” “moody” and “devastating.” So much so that the band’s lead singer Elena Tonra said in an interview that she’s been surprised by their reception considering their songs aren’t exactly feel-good jams. But on their 2016 release, Not to Disappear, the band took a calculated risk and abandoned their affinity for the morose. Instead, Tonra explores the brighter primary colors of her voice and the band follow suit by pushing the songs to be faster and more energetic. Tonra doesn’t lose the moodiness that defines the band, but she reinvents what Daughter are capable of. For a band that so heavily leaned on one sound for their debut record, this year’s album could’ve been an identity crisis wallowing in uncertainty. But Tonra and her bandmates command their new sound like they’ve been waiting for this transformation this whole time. With a clearer leading voice and less bummerific song arrangements, Daughter might actually have people dancing instead of breaking out the handkerchiefs. Matt Wood

Napalm Death
With the Melvins, Melt Banana, 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $25

Talk about a night of extremes. On Wednesday, legendary grindcore band Napalm Death will hit Trees, also bringing along the sludgy bomp of the Melvins and high frequency rage of Melt Banana. Napalm Death may never get respect beyond their faithful fans, but it’s hard to find a better mixture of early ’80s hardcore punk and thrash. Still touring off of last year’s Apex Predator — Easy Meat, the band is relentlessly trying to keep its music in its own lane. Frontman Barney Greenway is a character, never shy about sharing a pessimistic view of life in song and stage banter, but he freely admits how uncommercial his band’s sound is. At the same time, he wouldn’t have it any other way. As for the Melvins, they continue to pump out records that are part Black Sabbath, part Blue Cheer and part cement mixer. Like their tourmates, the Melvins have a vast discography to draw from, so don’t show up expecting them to play the expected. Just be ready to see how heavy music can be experimental and ugly, yet welcoming at the same time. Eric Grubbs

Sarah Jaffe
With Dividends and Sam Lao, 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $24-$69

Denton’s sweetheart Sarah Jaffe is back in Dallas for another show with Sam Lao at Granada this Thursday. The pair of badass performers will be rocking for a cause: Part of the proceeds from the evening go toward benefiting the Mayor’s Star Council, a group of young professionals in Dallas who have been challenged by Mike Rawlings himself “to be civically engaged in the challenges the city faces rather than inheriting them in the future.” Jaffe will be getting a little extra help, as well, thanks to her project Dividends, which features North Texas producer S1, who won a Grammy for Kanye West’s 2010 hit, “Power.” (He and Jaffe later shared Grammy honors for their work on Eminem’s “Bad Guy.”) Although this is the only show on Jaffe’s schedule for the time being, she and Lao on stage together should suffice; Dallas music doesn’t get much better than this. Sara Button

Tech N9ne
With Krizz Kaliko and Rittz, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Gas Monkey Live, 10110 Technology Blvd. E, 214-350-1904 or gasmonkeybarngrill.com, $30-$55

In an era when music sales are at an all-time low even for mainstream artists, independent Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne has carved a niche for himself. He’s a demigod for his outlying cult of fans known as Technicians, not at all dissimilar to Insane Clown Posse’s dedicated horde of Juggalos. Known for his rapid-fire flow and embracing of the weird, he’s earned over two million album sales in his decade-plus career that features 16 albums. Technicians love the music but it is Tech N9ne’s relentless touring schedule that has earned his fans’ dedication. Typically averaging over 100 concerts a year, he constantly delivers the goods and performs with a theatrical fervor that puts him among the best live rap acts in the game. Those tireless efforts have earned Tech N9ne a spot on Forbes’ Cash Kings list four years in a row, which ranks the top-earning hip-hop acts in the country, and backs up his claim that his record label Strange Music is the most successful independent label in the country. The Independent Powerhouse Tour bill features numerous artists on the label including Krizz Kaliko and Rittz. Mikel Galicia

Steve Moakler
8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., $12
Steve Moakler is a simple guy. He lives in Nashville and writes country songs about wanting a better job and a new car. And though his Southern twang might betray his Pittsburgh roots, he maintains the sincerity of country music all the same. He mulls over topics like the universal drive to make money, but he insists that there's no greater bounty than the affection of a loved one. Is this an original sentiment? Nah. But it manages to be heartwarming all the same. MW

The Commodores
6 p.m. Friday, April 1, at Choctaw Grand Theater, 4216 S. Highway 69/75, $45
After substantial research, it's been determined that there is no more powerful pause in the history of music than the infinite space between the words "brick" and "house" in the Commodores' classic funk song. Walter Orange winds up, saying "She's a brick..." and then the universe pauses. A water droplet of time falls from the faucet of space-time. You wonder, "What does this mean? She's a brick? That's rude," and begin to doubt the merits of the song. But then you're pulled back from the void with "HOWSSEEEE" and you realize that everything will be alright. You realize that the Commodores might know a thing or two about funk, and might even be goddamn geniuses. MW

John Mellencamp
8 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Winstar World Casino, 777 Casino Ave., Thackerville, Oklahoma, 1-800-622-6317 or winstarworldcasino.com, $65-$125

“Jack & Diane,” “Hurts So Good” and “Small Town” are just a starter kit of John Mellencamp tunes that have entered into the lexicon of classic American songcraft. The artist formerly known as Cougar belongs to that small fraternity of singer-songwriter icons — Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, to name a few — who need little introduction to the public at large. However, while those aforementioned artists’ new releases seem to be greeted with aplomb and fanfare, Mellencamp’s recent work tends to fly under the radar. Since his late ’80s and early ’90s commercial peak, he’s released nine highly acclaimed studio albums, collaborated with Stephen King and T-Bone Burnett on a Southern Gothic musical, gotten himself inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continued to be one hell of an activist, lending his voice in support of farmers’ rights, marriage equality and veterans’ health care. Always a bit outspoken, he’s liable to make some pointed remarks on our current presidential election cycle when he visits WinStar to kick off the newest leg of his Plain Spoken Tour. He’ll be playing many of those heartland towns he has so eloquently referenced throughout his five-decade career. Jeff Strowe

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Southside Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar Street, $41.50

Even if you don't know his name, Silento is the latest bane of the Internet's existence. His creation of the Whip/Nae Nae phenomenon was an innocent move that has steamrolled Vine and even made its way into the mind of a certain Democratic presidential candidate. Right when it seemed it couldn't be stopped, it was overtaken by the Dab (though someone elected to butcher that as well) and the world cruelly moved on. You can't help but feel bad for Silento. Think of the hubris it must take to yank a trend out of non-existence into this... meme, to force a life into this thresher.

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