Just when we think we've seen all the big music festivals come and go this season, Dallas is hit with three in one week. JMBLYA gets going at Fair Park Friday night with some of the best acts in hip-hop; the Off the Rails Country Music Festival brings the finest in country with headliners Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean; and aTrolla Music Festival takes over the lawn at Reunion Tower with KC and the Sunshine Band and many others.
But if you're not the festival type, no fear. Plenty of well-known names are making their way through town for solo performances, such as The Weeknd and the New Pornographers. And if you weren't able to check out Morrissey late last month, you've still got a chance to celebrate the pope of mope at Single Wide's Cinco de Morrissey with DJs Gabe Mendoza, Scott Ramirez and Jonathan Graham.
Outward Bound Mixtape
10 p.m. Monday, May 1, RBC, 2617 Commerce St., 469-487-6149 or rbcdeepellum.com, Free
We actually look forward to Mondays now, thanks to the work of Stefan Gonzalez. The lineup he curates on that day every week at RBC is one of the best places in the city to discover new music. Outward Bound Mixtape began a few years ago at Crown and Harp on Lower Greenville before it moved to Deep Ellum, but in its new home it offers the same opportunity for local and touring acts to try out something new in front of an enthusiastic and open-minded crowd of regulars, whether that means a first show, brand new songs or a sound that defies genre labels. If you ask the act du jour in Dallas noise, punk, goth or free jazz where they played some of their first shows, you'll likely be told Outward Bound, so attend Mondays and stay ahead of the curve. Caroline North
Kings of Leon
with Deerhunter, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, Starplex Pavilion, 3839 S. Fitzhugh Ave., 214-421-1111 or livenation.com, $24-$314
Kings of Leon have a tainted history with the Starplex venue. In 2011, their headlining set there ended shortly after they started, with frontman Caleb Followill too out of it (ie., drunk and voiceless) to perform. The band has since been back here without incident. Assuming that’s also the case this time, you can expect them to continue imitating U2, with occasional glimmers of the roots rock and post-punk sound of their first two albums. Fans of those early albums got left behind when Kings of Leon changed their sound to make it more arena-friendly, but the play worked; the band has been able to steadily get gigs at some of the biggest arenas around the world. Their latest, WALLS, will be in the spotlight when they visit Starplex Thursday. Eric Grubbs
7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687 or americanairlinescenter.com, $85 and up
The Weeknd has ushered R&B into the digital future. Since his early days in the internet underground — where Soundcloud, BandCamp and free mixtapes determine the winners — the singer born Abel Tesfaye has championed a grim and narcotized style. Compared to the glittery sheen and champagne corking of our fathers’ R&B, Tesfaye’s music is a far more serious — and sinister — artform. The Weeknd’s tracks are less about the party, and more about the empty avenues such a lifestyle leads to. From the beginning, The Weeknd’s music has been far too barbed and unsavory for mainstream success. Or so it seemed. A Grammy win and platinum level sales have since put such assumptions to bed. Jonathan Patrick
12 p.m. Friday, May 5, Fair Park, 1432 Coliseum Drive, JMBLYA.com, $99
The hottest acts in hip-hop are coming to Fair Park this weekend for JMBLYA’s fifth annual music event. Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and Migos headline the star-studded lineup, with Steve Aoki heading up the dance portion. The three headliners are reeling off career-making years that include Chance the Rapper earning three Grammys for his 2016 album Coloring Book, and both Gucci Mane and Migos topping the Billboard charts with No. 1 songs in the country. JMBLYA also mixes plenty of up-and-comers into its stew of top hip-hop and EDM acts. This year’s year’s lineup boasts Lil Uzi Vert, 6LACK, Young Dolph, YFN Lucci and Pell. The day-long affair kicks off at 12 p.m., and yes, there will be jambalaya. Mikel Galicia
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St., 214-978-2583 or houseofblues.com, $39.50-$99.50
Even if you aren't familiar with the name Clarence Greenwood, who performs as Citizen Cope, you're probably familiar with his music. The Memphis-born singer-songwriter and producer can be heard on the soundtracks of Smallville, Criminal Minds, One Tree Hill and plenty others. But Cope's canon of folk, soul, hip-hop and blues transcends any prime time TV show. In fact, the Washington Post claimed him to be the D.C. area's most soulful export since Marvin Gaye. So that's certainly more than enough reason to check him out Friday night at House of Blues. Diamond Victoria
The New Pornographers
9 p.m. Friday, May 5, Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933 or granadatheater.com, $40
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, indie supergroup the New Pornographers features a number of members who take part in or front other equally as popular bands. A few who come to mind include Neko Case, Carl (otherwise known as A.C) Newman and Dan Bejar of Destroyer and Swan Lake. But on their own, the New Pornographers cultivated quite a following with the release of great albums such as 2005's Twin Cinema and 2007's Challengers, and this year's Whiteout Conditions. Diamond Victoria
Cinco de Morrissey
10 p.m. Friday, May 5, Single Wide, 2110 Greenville Ave., Free
Morrissey has a big Mexican fanbase, and DJs Gabe Mendoza, Scott Ramirez and Jonathan Graham have decided to honor that fact by playing tunes by the Smiths and Morrissey on Cinco de Mayo. If you’ve been to Mendoza’s regular DJ night, Away from the Numbers, you know to expect a welcoming and enjoyable party that's heavy on the hits. Eric Grubbs
Off the Rails Country Music Festival
12 p.m. Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7, Toyota Stadium, 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco, 214-705-6700 or offtherailsfest.com, $39 and up
Looking to kick off a successful second showing, this year’s Off the Rails Country Music Festival is pulling together some of the biggest names in modern pop country for a two-day extravaganza of banjo-plucking revelry. Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean will serve as respective headliners for the festival, and are backed up by an impressive roster of country hit-makers new and old. Dierks Bentley, Justin Moore and Rodney Atkins will follow the lead of the headliners, all of whom together have enough No. 1 singles to keep the most ardent of country radio fans singing along for hours. Hip-hop inspired newcomers Old Dominion, red dirt ruffians the Turnpike Troubadours, and the legendary Charlie Daniels take the edge off the mainstream performers and add much needed variety to the festival in total. Last year’s festival was similarly stocked with stars, but after a year to work out the kinks with the venue, this year’s Off the Rails Fest seems to be right on track to better the formula and keep Frisco do-si-doing through the weekend and into Monday. Nicholas Bostick
aTrolla Music Festival
12 p.m. Saturday, May 6, Reunion Tower, 300 Reunion Blvd., 214-651-1234 or atrollafest.com, $79-$550
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Here's a festival suited for multiple generations of your family. aTrolla Music Festival is a nod to all those great artists your parents probably made you listen to. And if you're being honest with yourself, you liked it. Check out the sounds of KC and the Sunshine Band, BJ Thomas, the Zombies and plenty of others at this festival paying homage to the great sounds of the '60s, '70s and '80s. Diamond Victoria
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., 214-222-3687, $24.95-$244.95
Controversial and polarizing R&B performer Chris Brown lives in infamy, stemming from numerous high-profile, off-stage legal transgressions. On the stage and on the music charts, 28-year-old Brown miraculously remains a bonafide superstar who shows no signs of slowing down. Mikel Galicia