The Best Concerts in Dallas This Week, 6/23 - 6/29

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Well Dallas, it's finally officially summer, which can only mean one thing: lots and lots of rain. Hey, wait a minute. That's supposed to be "crazy heat," isn't it? OK, so sometimes life is a little unpredictable, but neither that nor the weather are going to be keeping us from checking out concerts this week. There are plenty to choose from, too, including some midweek gems from scatological punks Diarrhea Planet and compulsive droners Swans.

Yuna With Moonlight Nation, 7 p.m. Monday, June 23 at The Kessler Theatre, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $22-130

With a career totaling a whopping six years on the indie pop scene, Yuna's career definitely doesn't stack up to her R&B-influencers peers. Yet she has already made a name for herself in music, releasing her debut US EP,


in 2011 and a 2012 collaboration with Pharrell Williams. In 2013, she found a new home in Verge Music Group for her third release,


, where she remains, working on her next EP.

Michelle Ofiwe
Diarrhea Planet With Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., threelinksdeepellum.com, $12

It's been about 20 years since Blink­182 formed, so maybe that kind of music is en vogue again. If so, it's probably easy to think of Diarrhea Planet as some sort of snotty pop-­punk band because they crack jokes in between songs about girls and boners. Don't confuse the two, though, because you'll miss the fact that Diarrhea Planet's music is full of ennui, despair and frustration, grown-­up emotions that drift beneath currents of total Iron­ Maiden-esque shred-work. But even when they're conjuring, like, real feelings and shit, Diarrhea Planet is still a party. You can get down with your adult self and crush all the tall boys you want, all at the same time.

Steve Steward
Waka Flocka Flame 10 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at The Lizard Lounge, 2424 Swiss Ave., 214-826-­4768 or thelizardlounge.com, $30­-$110

Don't let reality TV fool you: Waka Flocka Flame hasn't changed just yet. Although the 28­-year-old rapper took some time off last year to muck around on VH1's sometimes­entertaining­but-always-­disconcerting

Love and Hip­Hop: Atlanta

, he's been working steadily on a new sound and look for 2014. Earlier this year he announced his intentions to release

Flockaveli 2

, a rap -EDM mash­up album that sports collaborations from Steve Aoki, Drake and Ne­Yo, among others. With a national tour on its heels, it may be some time before Waka returns to the small screen, but at least we know he'll be doing what he does best in the interim.

Michelle Ofiwe
Swans 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $20

Words like apocalyptic, macabre and brutal come to my mind when thinking about art­rock act Swans. But so should beautiful, even if beauty, insofar as Swans is concerned, is courted only in the most severe terms. Where early Swans from their 30-­year run was about rage and human grotesquery, their present music is concerned with expressing the redemptive qualities inherit therein, which, in large part, is why the band has never sounded so fierce. Released early last month, their 13th studio album,

To Be Kind

, might very well be the band's crowning achievement, a surging, transcendent monolith of a record that offers absolute emotional entombment by way of instrumental enormity and spiritual undercurrents. Their live shows, meanwhile, have never been so monstrous, with songs lasting hours. The result is not so much a hallucinatory state as a mystical one, a total purgatorial trance that's absurdly devastating but, above all else, glorious and, yes, beautiful.

Jonathan Patrick
Merle Haggard 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28. at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 817-264-7117, $15-$40

What more can be said about 77-year­-old Merle Haggard that hasn't been said before many times over? His excellence among the ranks of living songwriters is only rivaled by Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and maybe his buddy Willie Nelson. But in David Cantwell's 2013 book,

Merle Haggard: The Running Kind

, it is the songs of the Hag's classic canon that get a more in­depth dissection and comparison to the actual events that have made up his almost mythological life story. Yes, a young Haggard served time in prison, as he famously sings in "Mama Tried," but he wasn't ever serving "life without parole." Thanks to Haggard's authority and relatability, it's understandable that many fans have for years operated under the assumption that he indeed managed to have his time in California's San Quentin Prison miraculously cut short. Oh, and here's a shocker for many: the Okie-­turned-­Cali resident never really lived in Muskogee, although his father did for a time. But that's what the best writers do. They force us to believe and accept. Haggard does that better than most.

Kelly Dearmore
Deafheaven With Pallbearer and Wreck & Reference, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at Dada, 2720 Elm St., dadadallas.com, $15

Coming back to Dallas one more time on their Sunbather tour (it will be their third visit on this album cycle), don't expect much variation from what Deafheaven delivered this past March at Spillover. But that's not meant to be a complaint. The San Francisco­-based band brings fans of My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Carcass, Mayhem and Converge into the same room and they get along very well. Frontman George Clarke doesn't exactly sing; his voice erupts into the microphone, and he conducts the music with his arms and connects to as many fans in the front as possible. Backed by guitarists and a drummer that can fluidly switch between drone, melancholy and shimmering terror, the five­-piece gives the audience a kind of release that is unmatched by any other band out there. If you want to see a band in its prime, performing material from an album that's already considered a classic, don't skip this one.

Eric Grubbs
James McMurtry 8 p.m. Friday, June 27, at Billy Bob's, 2520 Rodeo Drive, Fort Worth, 817-624-7117 or billybobstexas.com, $12

Just by virtue of being born, James McMurtry had some very large shoes to fill in the minds of people who really love Americana. His father, novelist Larry McMurtry, had already cemented himself into the hearts and minds of middle America with

Lonesome Dove


Terms of Endearment,

but after growing up on a "steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records," the younger McMurtry has managed to make his own mark. Technically, McMurtry is a hometown boy. He was born in Fort Worth and currently resides in Austin. Billy Bob's in Fort Worth is the perfect backdrop for McMurtry's legendary alt-­country-influenced Americana style, and you can expect to hear favorites like "We Can't Make It Here" as well as some new tracks from his album that is due to be released in October. Gravelly voiced and baby faced Parker Millsap opens up the show, setting the tone for an evening of good-­old­-fashioned music.

Amy McCarthy

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