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The 10 Best Concerts of the Week: John Legend, U2, NKOTB and More

Despite his name, John Legend, and his talent, are very real.
Despite his name, John Legend, and his talent, are very real.
Timothy Norris
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Last week was tough for fringe fans. Ahead of Soundgarden's now-canceled concert this week at The Bomb Factory, the death of frontman Chris Cornell certainly came as a surprise to many. But as the sun rises Monday morning, with it come many other great shows from some pretty great artists to lift our spirits.

John Legend kicks things off Monday night at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, New Kids on the Block offers a nostalgic experience Tuesday night at American Airlines Center and rounding out the week is an all-day music experience hosted by 97.1 the Eagle for metal fans to enjoy.

John Legend
7:30 p.m. Monday, May 22, Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, 972-854-5050 or verizontheatre.com, $62.50 and up

With a multitude of Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes, plus a high-profile marriage to model Chrissy Teigen, it's sometimes difficult to remember that at his core, John Legend is a piano player. He's also a versatile singer and songwriter who incorporates varied traits of R&B, pop, hip-hop and jazz into a uniquely personal style that has made him one of the world’s most popular performers. Take some time to see the Renaissance man in action Monday as the Legend entourage sets up shop at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie for a night that's sure to be memorable. Jeff Strowe

New Kids on the Block
with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or ticketmaster.com, $29 and up

New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, but fans still haven’t gotten sick of the eternally baby-faced quintet of Boston bad boys. The city known for its rebellious streak served as the place of origin for Jonathan, Jordan, Joey, Danny and Donnie, who after making their big return to the spotlight in 2008 have picked up where they left off. This time, they’ve dubbed their tour The Total Package and have tacked on fellow '90s kid favorites Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men, marking Abdul’s first tour in nearly 30 years. Boyz II Men toured with NKOTB in 2013 as part of The Package Tour, and presumably, swapping out 98 Degrees for the multitalented Abdul was enough to warrant the new name. Between them, the three acts racked up dozens of platinum records during their heyday, and NKOTB’s upcoming EP Thankful is set to release alongside the tour. According to early reviews, this offering seems to be a second wind for the group that had been accused of being behind the times on its 2013 release, 10. Serving as the prototype for the boy bands of the 21st century, NKOTB has a legacy that stretches into today, and frankly, seeing a formerly popular band return as something more than a nostalgic oddity is always a good thing. Nicholas Bostick

Meat Puppets
with Mike Watt + The Jom & Terry Show, 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $18-$20

The Meat Puppets and Mike Watt were around for a long, long time before they received mainstream exposure in the 1990s. As outliers of the hardcore scene in the '80s, they could play with anyone. They did the same in the '90s, thanks to perseverance and help from members of Nirvana. They're still on their own, doing something special. Whether it's hardcore, free jazz or country, don't expect this to be a trip down memory lane. It will be a night of music showcasing what happens when you keep to what makes you happy and just keep chugging along. Eric Grubbs

9 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at Stereo Live, 2711 Storey Lane,
214-358-6511 or stereolivedallas.com, $33

Late last year when Josh Young left the EDM duo Flosstradamus after nine years, Curt Cameruci didn't let the music die. In fact, Cameruci is reinventing Floss through collaborations with the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Waka Flocka Flame, cementing his name deeper into the world of hip-hop, trap and bass music. And it's all very apparent in the DJ's latest single, "Back Again," featuring Mayhem and Flame. Diamond Victoria

with Folk Uke, John Egan, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 25, The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $26

Legendary punk band X will play one of the best venues in Dallas on its 40th anniversary tour. Fronted by John Doe and Exene Cervenka, the group's harmonies remain one of the greatest sounds on the planet. With the guitar majesty of Billy Zoom, who can jump from playing like Eddie Cochran to Johnny Ramone in an instant, and DJ Bonebrake, a rock-solid drummer, the group is hard to beat. Though it's been around for almost a handful of decades, people want to hear the classics from the first four albums. Whether it's "White Girl," "The World's a Mess, It's In My Kiss" or "Los Angeles," these songs have never lost their luster. But don't take this band for granted. They won't be around forever. Eric Grubbs

Trey Songz
with Mike Angel, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 25, The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, $49.50-$68

His melodies dribble and curl like syrup. The beats are immediate but firmly at a distance, a mere frame to Trey Songz's luxuriant, oversexed vocals. Songz is an R&B traditionalist with a voice like an angel in heat: Think The Weeknd meets Drake, all filtered through Boyz II Men. More velvety seduction than blissed-out vamp, Songz eschews the stone-eyed advances of R&B’s recent dark period for a throwback approach as cool and light-footed as meringue. The hip-hop and R&B hybrid style so en vogue at the moment has also found its way into Songz’ latest tracks. Still, despite his flirtation with modern production cues, Songz remains a purist in overall form. For every trappy slap, there’s a slow jam piano loop; for every pitched-up, auto-tuned backing vocal, there’s a buttery lead vocal come-on. Songz is fresh off his latest full-length, Tremaine The Album. On the cover, he leers at the camera, unbuttoned shirt thrown open by an undetectable breeze. Like his artwork, Songz embraces the ooey-gooey performative-ness that has made R&B so well-fitted to both clubs and house parties. And like his artwork, Songz isn’t afraid to indulge in the corny and the cliche as long as the end result is alluring and convincing. Jonathan Patrick

with The Lumineers, 7 p.m. Friday, May 26, AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington, 817-892-4000 or ticketmaster.com, $35 and up

In their first tour since Summer 2015, Irish icons U2 will put on a show they already played 30 years ago in Fort Worth. U2’s 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, was frontman Bono’s love letter to America and its traditional forms of music and will be played in its entirety, along with a selection of older hits and possibly snippets of the group's still-in-production album, Songs of Experience. The show is presented with a clear political message, but one that fits well with the equally political album. Nonetheless, reviews of the first few shows in the tour (Dallas will be the sixth) have said the music is the driving force. The Lumineers will open for U2 in Dallas but will likely be overpowered by nostalgic tracks like “With or Without You” and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," presented against an accompanying video specially made for each of Joshua Tree’s 11 tracks. Nicholas Bostick

8 p.m. Saturday, May 27, The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton St., 214-932-6501 or thebombfactory.com, $45-$79

The members of Reik, pronounced "Rake" — a reference to the "raking" of guitar strings — are huge stars in their native Mexico. Since 2003, the pop trio has released five wildly popular studio albums, toured internationally and earned a bevy of Latin Grammy nominations. Over the past few years, Latin music has expanded into the American market by establishing a robust presence on online platforms like Vevo, Spotify and YouTube. Reik has been at the forefront of this phenomenon, garnering millions of page views that have led to high-profile spots on music industry panels and showcase events. Those curious about the group's sound and reach would be wise to check out the videos for the ballad "Ya Me Entere," or the more upbeat "Que Gano Olvidandote.” With its star rising and expanding beyond Mexico, it's a safe bet that the Saturday night show at The Bomb Factory will be a well-attended and festive affair filled with loyal enthusiasts and new converts in equal measure. Jeff Strowe

The Mountain Goats
With Holy Sons, 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28, Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $26

If John Darnielle isn’t America’s best songwriting storyteller, he and his band the Mountain Goats can at least find solace in being the most prolific indie band around. With 16 albums under its belt over the course of a nearly 30-year career, the Mountain Goats is still as relevant as ever and innovating its unique brand of storytelling. On Goths, the band’s latest album, released last week, Darnielle and company did away with guitars and focused on piano and woodwinds for a concept album about growing up Goth. Darnielle’s storytelling is as raw, obsessive and enticing as ever. The new multi-instrumental approach promises a unique live show as the band comes to town with the genre-bending Holy Sons in tow. Mikel Galicia

97.1 The Eagle Presents BFD 2017
With Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace and more, 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28, Gexa Energy Pavilion, 3839 S. Fitzhugh Ave., 214-421-1111 or dallaspavilion.org, $21.23

97.1 The Eagle hosts a mini music festival each year to the tune of some hard-hitting rock 'n' roll. And this year's lineup is no different with metal alums Stone Sour, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace and many others. If the week's stress has you sitting quietly at work, breaking pencils and wondering if you've got enough money saved up to buy an Airstream travel trailer and kiss your job goodbye, this is the experience you need. Let loose and let your hair down at this all-day event, and you'll feel a lot better Monday morning. DV

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