The Best North Texas Concerts of 2014, So Far

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Six months is a long time. Well, maybe not that long, but measured by concert calendar time, it's more than long enough to fit in lots of memorable experiences. So as we cross the midpoint of 2014 with the first day of July, DC9 at Night is continuing its recent look back at the year to date with a selection of our favorite Dallas and greater North Texas concerts from the past six months.

See also: The Best North Texas Music Videos of 2014, So Far The Top Five North Texas Country Albums of 2014, So Far

15. Parquet Courts at Club Dada "As if to quell any of the repeated debate over whether Parquet Courts were still a Denton product, the band took the stage and introduced themselves as 'We're Parquet Courts, from Brooklyn.' This didn't matter to the near-capacity crowd inside Club Dada, made up of Denton kids, Dallas punks and local music fans alike. The crowd was high on energy and many moshed; some even crowd surfed, a hell of an accomplishment in a room of less then 400 people." -- Jaime Paul Falcon

14. tUnE-yArDs at Granada Theater "It wouldn't be too far off to describe the whole tone of the evening as a celebration. When Merrill Garbus belted out the words to 'Real Thing,' every inch of her body seemed to course with the music: 'Oh my god, I use my voice!' she exclaimed, throwing her arms out and shimmying in place. The song isn't a celebration, of course. But to see Garbus perform it was like witnessing someone's awakening to herself, her gifts, her very liveliness." -- Jeff Gage

13. Dillinger Escape Plan at Trees "Absolutely nothing is left on the stage. No one has under-committed to this show. The band starts out with a fusillade of 'Prancer,' 'Farewell, Mona Lisa,' and 'Milk Lizard.' It's not what your favorite live band might start out with. It's basically some sort of terrifying metal jazz, played at 400 mph. There's no deciphering it. There's no slowing down. There's no retreat, no surrender." -- Gavin Cleaver

12. Die Antwoord at House of Blues "In what seemed to be a very short and feverish span, Die Antwoord burned through a string of slightly tweaked renditions of their most famous hits: 'Fatty Boom Boom,' 'Beat Boy,' 'Evil Boy,' 'I Fink U Freeky,' and 'Baby's On Fire.' The last of those was arguably the highlight of the performance. To throaty chants of 'Ninja, Ninja, Ninja,' Yolandi and Ninja put on a spectacle of lavish, seizure-like dancing, all of which, of course, was done in the couple's underwear." -- Jonathan Patrick

11. The Old 97's at AT&T Performing Arts Center "Most of the group's albums were represented well. A few songs from the now 20 year-old debut LP, Hitchhike to Rhome, (including their cover of Merle Haggard's 'Mama Tried,' 'Four Leaf Clover' and 'Doreen') were played. The night's best set-list twist was provided when 'Longer Than You've Been Alive,' the scream-along opening track from the new album, was followed by the opening track from that first record, the still incendiary 'St. Ignatius.' Well played, to be sure." -- Kelly Dearmore

10. OFF! at Club Dada "What Keith Morris and crew did on Friday went beyond common expectations. In front of a large and enthusiastic collection of punks and punk voyeurs, OFF! was able to both please and piss off those in attendance. Such a skill harkens back to the golden age of American hardcore, a time when bands such as Bad Brains, Black Flag, the Misfits and Fear didn't give a damn what an audience expected. Hell, these bands hit the stage with the intent of confusing and confronting fans." -- Darryl Smyers

9 . Swans at Trees "The rumors are true. Yes, Swans live is extremely loud; at times, frighteningly so. But to say that's even the most obvious characteristic would be wholly misleading, a surface reduction of the emotional and aesthetic complexities that unfold when the band perform. The blanket of noise isn't even exactly painful. It's more aqueous than sharp, shrouding the senses in something akin to a haze. Which is to say, Swans live is an all-coloring sensory deprivation, like the stupor of a toothache or the fog of a weighty fever." -- JP

8. Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival "Black Flag may have been the marquee name of the night, but [Piñata Protest] put on the show of the night. But that eclecticism is what makes it all work down here in Deep Ellum. It's easy for those to go on,and on about the neighborhood's revitalization, but that would ignore the work of people like Oliver Peck. He and the folks at Elm Street Tattoo, as well as several crucial retailers and bar owners, never abandoned the area." -- JPF

7. Morrissey at Majestic Theatre "Morrissey has his act down perfectly, and acting is the key: being Morrissey is a dramatic (and often melodramatic) role. His peppered gray hair slightly messed and black collared shirt opened to expose his chest, the Brit made one flamboyant gesture after another. At one moment, he would clutch the mike stand and strike an imploring pose, at the next throw the stand down behind him and walk to the edge of stage to grasp the outreached hand of one of his fans. It was pure theater." -- JG

6. Cut Copy at Granada Theater "Loud. Vibrant. A tether of energy. As with most synth-pop bands, Cut Copy's songs seem to nearly warp together thanks to a lack of dissonance between one and another. It's a pitfall of the formula. But in the live setting this monotony is exchanged for momentum. It's like being hit with a battering ram of electricity, repeatedly." -- H. Drew Blackburn

5. Homegrown Festival at Main St. Garden Park "Booking Austin's ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead to play their 2002 cult classic Source Tags & Codes in its entirety preceding the Toadies' Rubberneck 20th anniversary set was an undeniably brilliant move... Twenty-somethings lost their minds slam dancing to Trail of Dead's stirring and uproarious finale of fan favorite 'A Perfect Teenhood' with an added interpolation of Patti Smith's 'Gloria.' Thirty-somethings sang as loud as they could as the slow-building and amorous power chords of the Toadies' 'Tyler' inched and crept over the Dallas skyline." -- Vanessa Quilantan

4. Future Islands at Three Links "Samuel T. Herring is a man who puts a lot of thought and careful consideration into this seduction. The roll of his hips, every strain of his voice for emotional emphasis, even the 'Alas, poor Yorick' style pantomime he dramatized in performance; this is all the calculated workings of a true showman. And the crowd was lapping it up like a pack of hungry dogs. Herring had that room in the palm of his hand" -- VQ

3. Charles Bradley at Trees "After almost two hours, three costume changes, and a whole lot of dirty dancing, Bradley gave a tearful and gripping sign-off: 'When I was homeless, during the hardest times,' Bradley said, 'I found a reason to keep going -- and that reason is right here in front of me.' Then he jumping into the crowd to embrace those that he refuses to refer to as fans, but rather as brothers and sisters. And those brothers and sisters wept in his arms, thankful that they had just found a reason to keep going as well." -- VQ

2. George Strait at AT&T Stadium "When Strait walked down a red carpet to take the stage, the entire stadium was on its feet. The noise from the crowd was deafening, but a deep reverence hung thick in the air, the kind of respect only a true icon could command. It became immediately clear that this show was more than just a concert; it was a cultural event. We were all at the church of country music, and King George was leading worship." -- Amy McCarthy

1. Bruce Springsteen at Reunion Park "By the time the E Street Band took the stage, the growing audience roared with delight. The Boss appeared, basketball in tow, and took part in an endearingly cheesy mock tip-off with guitarist Nils Lofgren. Then, in one of the night's biggest surprises, he opened with a cover of Van Halen's 'Jump' before playing right into 'Badlands,' the opening track of his seminal 1978 album, Darkness On the Edge of Town. It was joyful, exuberant and emotionally charged." -- VQ

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