Best Of Dallas

The 15 Best Dallas Concerts of 2016, So Far

It's already been a year of blockbuster shows in Dallas. The past six months have seen North Texas arenas host a seemingly endless series of bucket list shows — artists like AC/DC, the Cure and Duran Duran among them. But the great music hasn't been limited to the big rooms. From Deep Ellum to Oak Cliff to Denton, there have been plenty of club highlights. Whittling the list down to just the 15 best Dallas concerts of the year so far was tough; topping them over the course of the next six months might be even tougher.
15. JMBLYA at Fair Park

In its fourth year, Scoremore’s JMBLYA is continually growing bigger and better. This year’s edition brought over 20,000 people to Fair Park and boasted a lineup of hip-hop’s biggest names including Future, Rae Sremmurd, Post Malone, Kevin Gates and more. As the cajun-inspired acronym suggests, the bill mixed in prominent EDM acts DJ Carnage and Noodles as well as the full festival experience including food trucks and water slides. In a city full of festivals, JMBLYA is carving its own lane as one of the highlights of the year. Mikel Galicia

14. Mavis Staples at The Kessler

Mavis Staples is showing no signs of slowing down. With 66 years into a legendary career, the gospel and soul icon celebrated the release of her first-ever feature length documentary and 15th solo album with a sold-out, two-night stand at The Kessler Theater over the weekend. But Staples didn't need to lean on her accolades, or even her incredible backing band. Her voice is just as strong as ever. Jeremy Hallock

13. Bruce Springsteen at American Airlines Center

The songs on The River, which Springsteen played in its entirety, sounded bigger and more triumphant than they do on record. With an eight-piece band backing him up, perhaps that was inevitable; saxophonist Jake Clemons was a particular joy to watch, basking in every note he played in place of his late uncle, Clarence. But it was the Boss' enthusiasm that drove it along, barely even pausing to take breaks between songs. Jeff Gage

12. Four Tet at Club Dada

In mid May, Four Tet and Hessler Audio label boss Ben UFO rolled into Deep Ellum on a Tuesday night and dropped the best dance party of the year. They dropped original tunes, unreleased tunes, ultra deep cuts and edits for six hours. The general vibe of the set was house music, but crossed paths with electro, Afrobeat, techno and Latin funk. This left many in the packed out Club Dada with tired feet after dancing through the marathon set. Wanz Dover

11. Rihanna at American Airlines Center

After singing the first two songs a cappella, Rihanna climbed into a rectangular, see-through glass case that whisked her from the small stage to the larger one — but not before she performed “Woo” and “Sex with Me” while suspended over the middle of the arena. Badgalriri broke it down, grinding and working every inch of that glass case, giving floor seated attendees, in particular, a real show. Sara Button

10. AC/DC at American Airlines Center

For AC/DC, it's always about rock. There may be some lyrics about women thrown in along the way, and plenty of odes to drinking as well, but it always comes back to saluting rock, getting some rock, letting there be rock. And for two hours in Dallas, guitarist Angus Young and singer Brian Johnson effectively put on a two-man show, never slowing down. JG

9. Duran Duran at American Airlines Center

Duran Duran rose organically from both the glam and punk scenes of London. For many, they provided an introduction to new wave and the possibilities available to musicians with a coherent sense of visuals and style to complement their music. How many of today's teeny bop, boy band idols will be able to stay this relevant three decades from now? Yvonne Cruz

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage