The 11 Best Concerts in Dallas This Week, November 14 to 20

Here it is, the moment we've all been anticipating and dreading at the same damn time. With cold fronts moving in, the first freeze of the year already behind us, Winter-time is upon us. If you're brave enough to bare the elements, there are plenty of great shows going on this week. From Denton's latest upstart fest, to hometown heroes Midlake stopping through with Pearl Jam, to two of Minneapolis' most promising underground bands- you're bound to find something worth getting out from under that snuggie for.

Raw Talent: Femme Fatale Edition Thursday, November 14 at Sandaga 813 Raw Talent is a reoccuring local event showcasing local hip hop talent in Dallas. In celebration of their one year anniversary, they offer up a special edition of the event, featuring the city's best female emcees. Jenny Robinson, Conchita Virus, Ni Taylor, Honey B, Hunter, and MC Queen are among those performing- while another local female rapper, Alsace Carcione, will host. Vanessa Quilantan

Rob Baird Thursday, November 14, at Billy Bob's Texas, Fort Worth Despite the tunes of tired vets or ditties from frat-boy wannabes often heard on radio stations that pride themselves on playing "Texas country," there are plenty of emerging artists who have something to say in voices that aim higher than to merely sound like the singer they first got drunk to. Austin's Rob Baird, who came from Memphis to Texas for some learning at TCU a few years ago, is one of the prime examples of an artist taking the tried and true roots-rock sound and producing a fresh product that forces you to listen intently. At times, his vocals are bold and at others there's a slight quiver that hits the ears in just the right way. Baird's 2012 I Swear It's the Truth is a moving collection of songs featuring a folk writer's touch with a rocking roadhouse swagger. It's not easy to convincingly pull off the sensitive country-rocker formula, but Baird does so with authentic maturity. Kelly Dearmore

The Head and the Heart Friday, November 15, at South Side Ballroom There is nothing consciously odd about the folk music of The Head and the Heart, but few bands on the planet are capable of resonance this affecting. Their unabashed goal is elegance, and they achieve it on nearly every tune. KM

Kurtis Blow Friday, November 15, at The Boiler Room Kurtis Blow is a rap trivia gold mine. For example: "The Breaks" is widely credited as the first mainstream hit for hip-hop, and it is the first one to be certified gold. Except it was actually the Bronx rapper's second major-label hit, after "Christmas Rapping," which sold 400,000 copies on its release. The lesson there is that there is no better way to make a challenging new art form broadly appealing than to make it Christmas-themed. More important, a true hip-hop pioneer is going to be in Dallas this week, and his powers as an entertainer haven't diminished much in the 35 years since he made history. Kiernan Maletsky

Berlin Friday, November 15 at Trees You may remember Berlin best from the soundtrack to the 1980s film, Top Gun. "Take My Breath Away" is not only a classic of the era, but proves to be a near-flawless pop song to this very day. Local support from ZHORA couldn't be a better fit for this night of ethereal pop ballads. VQ Pearl Jam/Midlake Friday, November 15, at the American Airlines Center Hopefully, the packed crowd that is guaranteed to be in attendance at the AAC on this particular evening will be welcoming to the music of Denton's own Midlake. Featuring a majorly retooled lineup, Midlake is at one of those make-or-break moments that could frighten even a band as big as Pearl Jam. And speaking of Eddie Vedder and crew, is there anything left for these guys to prove? By default, they won their battle with Nirvana and over the course of 25 years, Pearl Jam have become alternative rock sacred cows. Like their idols The Who and Neil Young, Pearl Jam can release anything they want and their fans will eat it up and claim it's the best thing the band has ever released. In this case, it's Lightning Bolt, another album filled with the prerequisite angst and Vedder's unmistakable warble. Darryl Smyers

Smokers Club Tour: Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$ and more Friday, November 15, at South Side Music Hall Now in its fourth year, the Smokers Club Tour has consistently featured one of the most progressive, ambitious hip-hop lineups out there. This year, the big names are Kendrick Lamar running mate Ab-Soul and young standout New York rapper Joey Bada$$. KM

Polica/Marijuana Death Squads Saturday, November 16 at Trees Minneapolis bands Polica and Marijuana Death Squads share dual drummers. The former is a critically acclaimed indie synth-pop band who boast the dreamy vocals of siren Channy Leaneagh. The latter is an experimental electro-noise group, known for their high energy stage show and improv skills. Both acts are a must-see in their own right, but together, they make this show unmissable. VQ

Miss Marcy& her Texas SugarDaddy's CD Release Party Saturday, November 16, at Poor David's Pub The blues sound of Miss Marcy and her Texas SugarDaddys is unconventional -- they'll release a new album at this show. It swings a little harder and faster than does the work of some of her contemporaries in the genre. She's an energetic performer, capable of commanding a loud bar filled with strangers and a quiet theater of fans with equal shimmering confidence. KM

Oaktopia Saturday, November 16, Downtown Denton Times are tough in this slow economic recovery and when cutbacks need to be made, entertainment expenses are usually the first to get the chopping block because it's hard to feed yourself physically with the sounds of a swinging band or a hearty rock show. If you're finding yourself sacrificing your live music budget, it's time to head to Denton. For the price of one (cheap) ticket, you'll be able to see more than 50 local bands and musicians like Del the Funky Homosapien, Brain Gang, New Science Projects and The Boombachs. It's the ultimate blue-light special for live, local music. Danny Gallagher

Kate Nash Sunday, November 17, at Trees London's most cockney songbird swoops through Trees this weekend, bringing with her an entire display of how not to correctly pronounce things. While you might find the colloquialisms a little baffling, there's some excellent tunes and no little musical skill hidden under there, not least the breakthrough hit "Foundations." Gavin Cleaver

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Vanessa Quilantan