Do you have your calendar ready? A new year means a new slate of shows, and thanks to some local favorites and exciting returners, the new decade will get off to a promising start. As expected, a succession of stadium headliners will roll through town for big ticket shows at the American Airlines Center, and some of those artists even made this list. But we’re just as excited to see some lesser-known critical darlings stop in Dallas.
Here are some of the shows we look forward to seeing in 2020:
Big Freedia and The SuffersJan. 16, House of Blues
In two decades of artistry, Big Easy bounce musician Big Freedia has amassed an admirable following and a Rolodex of collaborators that includes Kesha, Sia and RuPaul. Nevertheless, it feels like her best days are still ahead of her, and like she is on the cusp of her most exciting work yet. That, coupled with her talent for thrilling audiences with high-energy shows, makes her and her show ones to watch in 2020.
Rex Orange CountyFeb. 21, The Bomb Factory
Despite the divisive critical reaction to his latest album, Rex remains one of the most exciting artists. His persistent normality only makes him more intriguing, and the stripped-down nature of his live performances makes you feel as if you are in a cramped bedroom watching him belt out tunes with nothing more than a keyboard and his enthusiasm.
Erykah BaduFeb. 22, The Bomb Factory
Has she ever disappointed us? No. Call it unabashed fandom or a simple case of being loyal to the soil, but we’ll never stop stanning Queen Badu of Dallas. This show will sate our appetites as we wait patiently for that much-rumored sixth album.
Brittany HowardMarch 26, McFarlin Auditorium
Before 2019, Howard was best known as the powerful voice and lyricist leading Alabama Shakes. Then came Jaime, her debut solo release and one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. The record was a soulful tour de force that combined everything we love about Southern rockers Alabama Shakes with Howard’s penchant for tunes that merge funk, blues and jazz. Her performance at McFarlin will be a must-see.
Sturgill SimpsonMarch 27, American Airlines Center
The last decade saw the country crooner transform from the kind of little-known artist you relish telling your friends about, to the kind of wildly popular artist who needs the seat capacity afforded by the AAC. Somehow, Simpson has retained the innate cool factor that helped him stand out in the first place. That is a credit to his lasting star appeal, and his insistence on tearing up everything that has worked for him previously and trying something new with each successive album. No one quite knows what Simpson will do next, and that’s half the fun.
Lake Street DiveMay 8, Majestic Theatre
An eclectic mix of classic pop, swing jazz and Southern rock, this Boston-born band has flown under the radar for the better part of 15 years. They are worth seeing if for no other reason than to catch lead singer Rachael Price live. Price has been one of the band’s constants throughout their decade and a half of permutations and experimentation, and her voice is the glue that makes all that genre-bending work.
Tame ImpalaJuly 24, American Airlines Center
Tame Impala’s psychedelic sound could be the background to a night of debauchery at the club, or the soundtrack to a night spent alone and ruminating on the ruins of society. In short, he may be the consummate musician of our time, a constantly evolving artist who uses technology to make music that reflects on how technology has driven us apart. Kevin Parker’s live shows relish that collision, providing a high-powered production that thrills you to accompany lyrics that make you think.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.