Well, that was quite the weekend, Dallas. Thanks in large part to the highly anticipated return of The Bomb Factory with sold-out show from Thursday through Saturday, the local music scene has a whole new glow about it -- and it's a good look. This week looks to be a great one to help continue the momentum, with some big-name artists like Ariana Grande and Dr. Dog visiting town.
Initially, Big Business was more like a business with just two people. Not that big. The duo of Jared Warren and Coady Willis made loud bombastic rock music. In 2006, the two had the pleasure of joining the Melvins. In 2008, Big Business got a little louder and rambunctious adding its third member, and two years later they added a guitarist, Scott Martin. The band's current iteration seems like a perfect fit, like what it should've been all along.
Hip-hop heads Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique officially join forces for "The Peoples Champion" tour hosted by Poison Pen. Kweli is a Brooklyn-bred rapper who gained his underground recognition in the late '90s when he teamed up with Mos Def and DJ Hi-Tek as part of the group Black Star. In 1998, the trio released their self-titled album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, which received wide acclaim and respect at the dawn of hip-hop's turn-of-the-century golden age. Kweli then let loose on his solo debut album, 2002's Quality, and earned reverence as one of hip hop's most lyrically respected MCs of his time. With lyrics bedecked in conscious commentary on issues such as class, socialism, poverty, imperialism, government and institutionalized racism, Kweli is one of the most politically insightful rappers and activists to emerge since the dawn of the genre. Alongside Kweli and Immortal Technique, the lineup also features hip-hop's revolutionaries Niko IS, CF and Hasan Salaam. For a night of spectacular vernacular, top-tier instrumentation and artistically profound hip-hop craftsmanship, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than this.Morganne CameronAriana Grande 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $29.50-$69.50
Notorious marble-mouthed angel Ariana Grande is swinging her ponytail down to the American Airlines Center this week to inflict her soulful bubblegum pop onto every sentient being in a 100-mile blast radius. The Nickelodeon Ne'er-do-well has been in the crosshairs of celebrity coverage for everything, including admiring serial killers, being a devout Kabbalist and sensing demons when driving past one of the seven gates of hell. In an age where hyperbolically outlandish celebrity personas are a default, Grande still manages to be absolutely batshit, and we should celebrate that. All things considered, it's hard to deny that the humanoid merry-go-round has some outstanding pipes, which are almost comically incongruous with her five-foot stature. So don't worry about the fact that she reportedly once wished her fans "would all fucking die," just become entranced by the age-confused spectacle; that option's way less problematic.Matt WoodDr. Dog With mewithoutYou, 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $25-$27
Dr. Dog employs the simple charms of an antique store in their songwriting. They sift through abandoned attic artifacts of retrograde '60s pop memorabilia, melodies and all, and are perfectly pleasant to listen to. Granted, they're not terribly new or exciting, either. The band presents an endearing although unremarkable brand of throwback charm, with jangly guitar hooks and spacious arrangements. They've eluded critical acclaim, but have a devout following that spans a wide bevy of music fans who are comforted by the group's soothing familiarity. Hokey "aw, shucks," lyrics are built to sing along to and their live shows have garnered a reputation for exceeding the energy of their records. All critique aside, you probably won't find a more agreeable crowd of people than the fans adhering to Dr. Dogma.Matt WoodOf Montreal With Yip Deceiver, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $16
Can you imagine how exhausting it must be to be Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes? Dude is constantly having to change genres, fashion and his band's back story to keep himself from being bored. Also, there's the random backlash he gets whenever he decides to monetize his band's music and, you know, make a little money from his work. He's been doing this for almost 20 years at this point, which wow, who the hell thought Of Montreal would turn 20 next year? I guess you can make it as a mid-to-major indie band if you continually reinvent yourself and your music. Let this show be a lesson to all you aspiring musicians: You don't have to be huge to make it in this business, you just have to be good.Jaime-Paul FalconScott H. Biram With Justin Pickard, 7 p.m., Friday, April 3, at Gas Monkey Bar N Grill, 10261 Technology Blvd. E., 214-350-1904 or gasmonkeybarngrill.com, $10-$100
Scott H. Biram doesn't need a supporting cast. Biram, an Austin native, just needs his guitar and a stomping foot to create music. He's no stranger to bands having been in a punk band called the Thangs and two bluegrass bands, Scott H. Biram and the Salt Peter Boys and Bluegrass Drive-By. But his true calling is as a solo folkster with an edge sharpened by wit, outlaw country and Southern blues.HDBStars With Wild Moccasins, 8 p.m. Friday, April 3, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $25
Canadian indie rock royalty Stars have built their career on a distinctive brand of dreamy indie pop over the past decade, but with their seventh long-player, No One is Lost, they do their best to prove their adaptability. The new album welcomes a slight change in direction towards dance music, a shift in focus not unlike their Canadian counterparts Arcade Fire made a couple years back. With the absence of LCD Soundsystem from the indie dance spectrum, it would seem these bands are more than happy to fill the void. Unlike the other bands playing around this dance-indie fusion genre, Stars' new music seems a bit more rollerskating rink than dark dance floor, with only half of the album fully embracing a dance club ethic. With catchy pop songs like "This is the Last", "Turn It Up" and "No Better Place," Stars still retain the pop sensibilities that have carried them through all these years, only now it's accompanied by a gleeful bounce and the occasional drum machine.Wanz DoverWillie Nelson With Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, 7 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at Winstar World Casino, 777 Casino Ave., Thackerville, Oklahoma, 1-800-622-6317 or winstarworldcasino.com, $70-$125
There really aren't too many opportunities to see three legends of equal proportions share the same stage. Hell, the Winstar World Casino may not even be able to contain the amount of history, talent and sheer badassery of Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson in the same room. If you're a good Texan, you've probably seen Nelson at least a few times, but there is no experience like seeing him among his contemporaries, especially ones as talented as Haggard and Kristofferson. These guys are old, sure -- the 1970s were a much better time to see Willie, Waylon, and all of the rest of country music's outlaws -- but this is still a show that is not to be missed. If you care about the future of country music, it is important to study its history, and we can think of no better lesson than from these three icons.Amy McCarthySwans With Little Annie, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20
Interesting things always seem to happen when Swans comes to Trees. The band's previous two performances at the venue were lively, to say the least, notable as much for their harmonic density as for front man Michael Gira's staff- and bandmember-directed tirades. An inexhaustibly energetic performer, Gira leads one of the most consistently awe-inspiring live acts you're likely to see. Rather than play their songs by rote direction, the band expands its set into a test of endurance, taking the basic framework of a song and using that as a starting point from which to expand. Groove is the building block to a Swans set, and drummer Phil Puleo and auxiliary percussionist Thor Harris interlock into a dual-headed rhythmic monster. Songs from the band's most recent album, 2014's To Be Kind, are likely to be mutated beyond recognition from their recorded versions. That's what makes a Swans performance so engaging: you never know what to expect.Andrew HawkinsShlohmo 7 p.m. Sunday, April 5, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20-$25
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As with most electronic musicians, Los Angeles-based Shlohmo is a frequent collaborator and re-mixer. Born Henry Laufer, Shlohmo has worked with the chillest of waviest R&B singers, How To Dress Well, and released a lauded EP with another R&B crooner, Jeremiah, in 2014 called No More. He released a solo project, Bad Vibes, in 2011, and is returning in 2015 with a new record called Dark Red, which is set to release this month.HDB
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