The Ten Best Concerts in Dallas This Week, November 21 to 27

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Ugh, next week is going to be gross. Not only are you going to be about 10 pounds heavier from gorging yourself on holiday fare, exhausted from all the passive-aggressive family drama shooting across the dinner table and just all around grumpy from your Black Friday sleep deprivation, but also the countdown to Christmas will have officially started. I shudder as I even type it. Malls and storefronts are already practically overrun, and before you know it, you'll be dreading leaving the house altogether as to avoid the holiday madness in the streets. Enjoy your last weekend of guilt- and anger-free fun before all this holiday bullshit kicks in full swing. Wake me up for New Year's Eve, please.

Built to Spill Thursday, November 21, at Granada Theater

Alongside contemporaries Dinosaur Jr., Pavement and Modest Mouse, Built to Spill were pioneers of a swooping, twangy lo-fi aesthetic that nearly defined the sound of indie music in the '90s. Once the kids raised on this music grew up, a sea of second-generation imitators flooded the music scene. But they didn't sound quite right. One listen to Built to Spill's magnum opus,

Keep it Like a Secret

, and those copycats fade away into a warm, golden memory of indie rock's halcyon days. After several years on hiatus, frontman Doug Martsch and crew are bringing their wistful sound and soaring melodies back on the road. Thursday at the Granada for the venue's ninth anniversary, Dallas will get its first glimpse of Built to Spill's new lineup. Their recorded material is great, but when Doug Martsch gets on stage the guy goes through a metamorphosis. What comes out the other side is barely a man at all, just a blur of fingers and arms producing unorthodox guitar-play with devastating artistry.

Jonathan Patrick
THRWD Issue 4 Release Party, Featuring Tunk, DJ Taylor Effin Cleveland and George Quartz Thursday, November 21, at The Gin MillTHRWD

is one of a few DIY publications in town taking the zine to its glossy, romantic extreme. They take their time on each issue and it shows. Pick up your copy tonight at the Gin Mill and stick around for performances from a couple of the area's most magnetizing live acts. Admission costs you nothing.

Kiernan Maletsky
Cory Morrow Friday, November 22, at Billy Bob's, Fort Worth

After being arrested for drunk driving and cocaine possession back in 2005, country singer/songwriter Cory Morrow got his life together and the effect on his music was striking. More faith-based, but no less road weary, albums such as 2008's

Vagrants & Kings

featured songs that were nearly gospel in both attitude and execution. Still capable of the two-stepping, red-dirt honky-tonk that brought him acclaim in the late '90s, Morrow's songs these days are more mature and a little more restrained. In concert, however, the guy is capable of returning to the days of yore as evidenced by the feisty 2012 live effort recorded at the same venue Morrow is playing on this particular evening.

Darryl Smyers
Dirty River Boys Friday, November 22, at Granada Theater

You wouldn't know it by witnessing one of their rambunctious, foot-stomping shows, but El Paso's Dirty River Boys began their roots-rock journey using primarily acoustic instrumentation out of necessity. Nino Cooper, Marco Gutierrez and Travis Strearns (bassist Colton James joined the group later) were able to find gigs in their hometown only in the corners and cramped stages of local coffee houses and restaurants, and had to be more quiet than rocking. Given those origins, it's hardly a surprise that a Dirty River Boys show is among the rowdiest and most unpredictably fun concerts one can experience these days. It seems all of the energy that built up in those calm early shows has manifested itself in an extreme way. The members entertainingly play an elaborate game of musical chairs as they switch instruments and vocal roles throughout their concerts. From Celtic jigs to the saddest folk tune to epic Western sing-alongs, an evening with the Dirty River Boys will never be quiet again.

Kelly Dearmore
New Fumes, Early Lines, Pinkish Black, Drug Mountain and Douche Friday, November 22, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Denton

If ever there was evidence of a sense of community within local music, it's in a benefit show. Friday's show for local artist and cancer patient Nevada Hill will be the third and final installment in a series of similar events in Dallas and Fort Worth that have seen North Texas supporters show some love for an artist this area is fortunate enough to call its own. He's churned out poster art that challenges the standards in all the right ways for various venues and bands. He has performed in bands such as drone/metal band Bludded Head and Drug Mountain. And over the years, it's inevitable that this kind of dedication and contribution to the local art scene would touch and inspire so many people.

The last of these benefits will have a raffle, featuring art, posters and signed records. Not to mention an impressive lineup, including Pinkish Black, New Fumes (Daniel Huffman's multi-textured and multi-media audiovisual project), Douche from New York and the returns of Drug Mountain (which features Hill) and Early Lines, it's a rare opportunity to experience this much talent under one roof, and this much talent having the opportunity to reciprocate some support for someone who has been an integral addition to the art community. Aaron Ortega

CHVRCHES Saturday, November 23 at South Side Music Hall

I find it entertaining when there's some ambiguity over a band's name. CHVRCHES, with that V incongruously placed into the vowel space, is a perfect example. Churches? Cher-ver-ches? It's a lot more fun for it to be the second one. Of course, as the band themselves reveal two songs in, they've got no idea either. You can call them by either one, they'll still come running. Or they'll glide over smoothly with a blaring electro soundtrack.

Gavin Cleaver
True Widow Saturday, November 23, at Double-wide

The stonergaze band that's put Dallas on the map for the genre will play what amounts to a homecoming show on Saturday as they take over the Deep Ellum haunt that's launched every important band in the area. The drone-heavy three-piece will most likely work through as much of their material as possible as they prepare for their December jaunt through Europe serving as Kurt Vile's opener. Expect this show to sell out quickly, the booze to be poured freely, and a grand time to be had by all. Black Congress, and Subsonic Voices will provide support.

Vanessa Quilantan
Sarah Jaffe and Son of Stan Saturday, November 23, at Dan's Silverleaf

Two artists who require little introduction to DC9 at Night readers take the best stage in Denton on Saturday. Sarah Jaffe, who has kept busy since the 2012 release of the spectacular

The Body Wins


imprinting her indelible voice


mainstream culture

. Barring another house tour, this is the most intimate her shows will get. You may want to buy those tickets ahead of time.

Charli XCX Sunday, November 25, at Club Dada

Every year the Onion's AV Club site pulls some of the best upcoming and established indie artists into their headquarters to cover songs classic songs of the pop culture narrative. Every year one of the artist so completely kills it, that their cover becomes a focal point for writers when discussing their work. This year, that artist was Charli XCX. That song was her amazing cover of Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." This was just another notch in the belt of the 21-year-old Brit who's spent the last few years opening for Coldplay, blowing away critics and dominating the pop charts with her guest role on Icona Pop's "I Love It."

Gary Clark Jr. Wednesday, November 27, at House Of Blues

Good Golly Ms. Molly, it's old-school rhythm and blues heaven this Wednesday. Gary Clark Jr., of the instantly sold-out KXT Barefoot at the Belmont show and Dia de Los Toadies headlining set, is primed to tear the roof off one of the area's best stages. The room will be filled with lovers of Texas music, cold beer and hot guitar licks -- which is what a talent like Clark deserves. He's come a long way from packing open mics in Austin, and really the sky is the limit for someone as talented as he is.


See also: -The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List -The Ten Most Badass Band Names in DFW -The Best Bands in DFW: 2012 Edition -Photo Essay: The Tattoos of Dallas' Nightlife Scene

Keep up with DC9 at Night on Twitter or Facebook.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.