A lot of great shows are happening this weekend. Lenny Kravitz and Sting do some concerts for college football, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell returns to our proximity, Mineral has a reunion show, Ex Hex puts a spell on us, and the Molly Ringwalds do 1980s music. We hope you're enjoying the year so far and have nestled back into a regular schedule. We hope the earthquakes aren't too much of a bother and most importantly we hope the Cowboys whip the Packers' asses on Sunday.Gas Monkey Live, 10110 Technology Blvd., gasmonkeylive.com., $15-$200
Funny story: Last fall, there was this cover festival in Fort Worth called the Panther City Pep Rally that featured about 10 hours of bands paying homage to the great alt-rock giants of the '90s. I thought it would be funny to put together a Pennywise tribute band for the event, because it seemed like that would be annoying to the kind of people who never shut up about the Pixies and Brian Jonestown Massacre. I know this because one time I heard a person wearing a Pixies shirt hate on these flattened-bill Hurley hat-wearing bros, and flattened-bill Hurley hat-wearing bros tend to love Pennywise. Anyway, I quickly discovered that Pennywise songs are a lot harder than I thought they were. And as for the vocals, who wants to memorize all those words? Even the shortest Pennywise songs seem to have six verses, and moreover, how many Pennywise fans are even in North Texas, let alone ones that can sing the bulk of the long-running SoCal punk band's '90s catalog word for word? If you're genuinely curious, you can take a census of the bros singing "Bro Hymn" when Pennywise headlines Gas Monkey Live.
2014 was a banner year for album releases, with some truly epic-scale masterpieces. But listening to a playlist of my 2014 purchases, I have found myself truly smiling only when a tune from the Ex Hex release Rips pops up. Tightly-coiled tunes packed with blistering guitar and smart lyrics, few of the album's songs clock in at more than three minutes. They're perfect little sonic palette cleansers, and it makes sense: This trio is the latest project of Mary Timony. A prodigious player and songwriter now over 40, Timony is one of those too-rare, great women journeyman guitarists, and Rips is a fantastic coalescence of decades of musicianship and life lessons. Timony was last seen in Dallas as part of the short-lived "super group" Wild Flag, and more than held her own trading riffs and vocals with Carrie Brownstone. Ex Hex is filled out by fellow D.C. musicians Laura Harris on drums and Betsy Wright on guitar and bass.Doug DavisThe Molly Ringwalds 8:00 p.m. Friday, January 9, at House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com/dallas, $20-$28
Ubiquitous with the 1980s are John Hughes' genuine and hilarious teen comedies. Also ubiquitous with John Hughes is actress, Molly Ringwald, who appeared in a handful of his films. the 80s and Ringwald go hand in hand, so it's no surprise that an 80s tribute band would have the moxy to name their band after her. the Molly Ringwalds play the hottest records from the most neon, tight pants, coked out decade of all time. Hop into the Delorean and experience the most like totally awesome songs from the 80s.H. Drew Blackburn Trees Local Showcase With Solice, Pulse, 5 Billion and Counting, Krash Rover, Wolves Reign 8 p.m., Friday, January 9, at Trees, 2709 Elm St., 214-741-1122 or treesdallas.com, $10
You gotta support your local artists folks. Dallas has a great music scene with a large swath of talented musicians. Thanks to Trees, you can catch a local showcase of hard rock bands from the area. Solice, Pulse, 5 Billion and Counting, Krash Rover, and Wolves Reign are all on the bill, which will only set you back $10. Sounds like a bargain.HDBLenny Kravitz With Vintage Trouble, Keri Hilson, Sugar Bowl Band and Rose Bowl Band, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $21.50-$31
Lenny Kravitz is a multi-talented artist. He married Lisa Bonet in 1987 when she was the hottest woman on the planet and released timeless singles like "Fly Away" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way," tunes that pushed the boundaries of repetition and never get old no matter how many times you hear them. Moms are going to lose their minds if this 50-year-old takes his shirt off onstage, which is a distinct possibility. However, Kravtiz's new album Strut really sucks so hopefully he's playing the old bad stuff. The albums opening track, titled "Sex," is not at all sexy and the title track has verses that sound like "Are You Gonna Go My Way" with a slower tempo and a lazy chorus that just with sound effects yelling "Strut!" over an obnoxious guitar. What's strange about Kravitz is that he mixes all sorts of genres, even drawing on influences from interesting people, but without capturing any of the good things. Anyway, this show should be unintentionally funny if you have money to throw away on it.Jeremy HallockSturgill Simpson With Jason Isbell, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at WinStar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, OK, 1-800-745-3000, $69-$136
The last time Sturgill Simpson came to town, he sold out Club Dada with ease. The demand was so heavy thatKris Youmans up and added a show
. Two shows in one night at Dada. Mind you, this was in November. Now, just a few months later Simpson's headlining a show at a casino. The major jump comes in large part to how well received his albumMetamodern Sounds in Country Music
was last year. He's being heralded as the savior of countrymusic
. Lord knows it needs one, cause we'resure as shit that bro country has to go
. Add in the fact that Jason Isbell, who co-headlines, hasn't played Dallas in over a year and this show is more than worth the trip across the border.HDB
The Killdares With Jessie Frye, 7 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St., 214-272-8346 or thekessler.org, $20-$30 It's not often that the lead singer in the drummer in a band, but dammit, The Killdares can do whatever they want and have a lead singer that's a drummer is whatever they want. the Dallas based Celtic rock group since the mid 1990s and has released six studio albums since its inception. The bagpipes roar and electric guitars scorch with a neat little fiddle. Their music sounds familiar to the ear of any rock band, but the spiciness that the band's Western European sounds add makes them nothing to fiddle with. HDBMineral With Josh T Pearson, 8 pm, Saturday, January 10, at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $17-$19
Perhaps this is the last hoorah, perhaps it isn't, but Mineral, the Austin based and Houston formed emo band is playing a reunion show
in Dallas. the band formed in the early around 1994, released two albums and called it quits in 1997. That's not a long time. However, the band was a pioneer of the emo rock sound and had lasting influence in to the late 90s and into the 2000s. Catch the band in what they say is maybe their last show in the U.S. A return really depends on if they feel like it. Wow, how emotional is that?HDBAstronautalis With Bootyfade and Playdough, 8 p.m., Saturday, January 10, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., threelinksdeepellum.com, $15-$17
Astronautalis at Three Links isn't fair. Why? Because the dude hasn't played a venue this small in DFW in years, which is a super bummer for fans of the now Minneapolis-based rapper. Tickets to this show are sure to sell out due to a fervent fan base that includes local radio show hosts, members of the press and star athletes. This is what happens when an artist blends so many styles so deftly that they build a fan base, then watch it expand through hard work and endless touring. This is how they get larger venues trying to take them in, how festivals put them on larger stages, and all of this has been happening with Astronautalis over the last few years. So, do your damnedest to make it to Three Links on Saturday; this throwback to Astronautalis's early years is the last time you'll ever catch him at a venue this intimate.Jaime-Paul FalconSting With Echosmith, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 11, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $30-$60
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In between touring with Paul Simon for most of last year, as well as the upcoming first half of 2015, Sting is taking a minute (and some stage elbow-room) for himself to play solo in Dallas. The AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!, which features Lenny Kravitz the night before, has Sting headlining on the second day of live shows that precede the college football playoffs. Sting's rigid yoga practices are fabled for bestowing with him an enviable Viagra-like endurance, and based on his other forms of stamina, it now just seems like scientific fact. For starters, he is fresh off the Broadway boat with a musical based on his newest album, The Last Ship, which was inspired by his hometown and early life. He joined the cast to salvage said ship by boosting ticket sales. When not otherwise occupied collaborating with seemingly anyone who will ask, or saving a rainforest or a beehive somewhere, Sting's managed a prolific Tantric run. The 16-time Grammy winner's produced considerable hits, first as front man, bassist and multi-instrumentalist for massive reggae-rock band the Police and later as a respectably jazz-inspired solo artist, with songs like "Englishman in New York".Eva Raggio
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