The Best Concerts in Dallas This Weekend, 8/15 - 8/17

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Hey, you're really close to surviving Shark Week. This means you won't have to listen to that weird guy at the office talk about whatever last night's special was, and him swearing all of the footage was real. Your water cooler chat can move to other things, like the awesome shows Dallas has to offer this weekend. And it's just in time, too: with temperatures set to hover around the low 100s, it's the perfect time to, say, spend a couple afternoons hanging out at Gexa Energy Pavilion. Right?

KXT Summer Cut With Death Cab for Cutie, Iron & Wine, Hold Steady and more, 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 15, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $40

As is the case with any radio station-sponsored festival, the chosen bands reflect the station's identity. Even with long-running, annually anticipated fests such as 102.1's alt-ish Edgefest or 97.1 the Eagle's head-banging BFD, it is the still-young Summer Cut from the NPR-fueled KXT 91.7 that might handle the task of curating its own festival most capably. Unlike many other stations in town, KXT's playlist is a tremendously elastic one. Sometimes that's not so great (see: the occasional spin of "Closing Time" by Semisonic ), but the hits far outweigh the misses these days. It's also no small feat to land several headline-worthy acts that represent your station's musical philosophy when it's as varied as KXT's is. The hooky Death Cab for Cutie, the bearded folk of Iron & Wine and the barstool rock of the Hold Steady represent three very different kinds of indie-flavors, making the Summer Cut an audio smorgasbord.

Kelly Dearmore
Chris Isaak 8 p.m., Friday, August 15, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, billybobstexas.com or 817-624-7117, $15-$45

It's kind of inaccurate to call Chris Isaak a crooner. Even though the combination of his voice (a breathy, melancholic baritone that manages to hit Roy Orbison-worthy high notes), and his classic good looks easily qualify him, his music is a good distance from Perry Cuomo, or even Harry Connick Jr. For one thing, Isaak doesn't really dabble in jazz. For another, his music blends blues, surf and rockabilly, which were kind of what killed the popularity of crooners in '50s. Regardless, the dude writes great hooks, delivered with the kind of charm you normally save for meeting your girlfriend's grandmother. And between his clever stage banter and wacky suits (pink sequins, for example) his shows are pretty funny.

Steve Steward
Ted Nugent 8 p.m., Saturday, August 16, at Billy Bob's Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, billybobstexas.com or 817-624-7117, $20-$40

If Ted Nugent wasn't such an ever-present, ultra-right-wing asshole, it might be easier to stomach his harmless, well-played classic rock. Back in his '70s heyday, the Nuge's big riffs and middle school sexism made songs such as "Cat Scratch Fever," "Stranglehold" and "Wango Tango" bearable radio fodder. But now Nugent is better known as a political hack than a music performer. His shows often turn into diatribes concerning immigration and how much he hates the current president. In between the rants, Nugent might still mix in some killer guitar solos. At this point, it's hard to tell which element fans will come to witness.

Darryl Smyers
Joe Nichols After 7:05 p.m. Texas Rangers game, Saturday, August 16, Globe Life Park, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington, texasrangers.com, 817-273-5222

There's really not a reason to go to a Texas Rangers game at this point. Between the insufferable heat and the team's record of 47-74, it'd be better just to stay at home and watch reruns of the Love Boat. But, this weekend might be an exception because country singer Joe Nichols will perform after Saturday's game. Nichols has had a decent slew of hits, including "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," "Sunny and 75," and then there was that time her performed at Anna Nicole Smith's funeral. We're judging Nichols more for his decision to perform at a ballpark that hosts the worst team in baseball than we are about his funeral-performing decisions. But go ahead and check him out, but you have to stay until the end of the game to see him perform.

Paige Skinner
Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden With Cold Cave, 7 p.m. Sunday, August 17, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214-421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $50

Easily one of the best co-headlining summer tours of the year, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden bring elegance and power to what should be the sizzling confines of Gexa Energy Pavilion. While both bands share some similar soft/hard dynamics, Nine Inch Nails is more indebted to technology while Soundgarden is much more meat and potatoes. After going on hiatus from 2009 to 2012, Trent Reznor seems reinvigorated and Nine Inch Nails are sounding better than ever. Same goes for Chris Connell and the rest of Soundgarden, who had been away for much longer. Taken together, these bands are capable of stirring up a sweaty horde and reminding us all that bands from the late '80s and early '90s can still be relevant and thoroughly engaging.

Keyshia Cole 8 p.m., Sunday, August 17, House of Blues, 2200 N Lamar St., Dallas, houseofblues.com/dallas, 214-978-2583

Keyshia Cole was just 12 years old when she met MC Hammer and then later recorded with him. When she was 18, she made the move from Oakland, California to Los Angeles to pursue music full-time. And it's been a ride ever since. But aside from her musical talents and accomplishments, she's also a full-blown reality star and television personality. Her docu-series received record-breaking views for BET, allowing fans and audience members a unique view of the Grammy-nominated musician. But this weekend, you can turn off the TV and see her for yourself because she's in the neighborhood at the House of Blues.


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