Tegan and Sara (Sept. 10)
Unfortunately, you will have to suffer through Paramore’s set to hear the Canadian tuh-wins. But it’ll be worth it for gems like “Walking with a Ghost” and “Back in Your Head.”
Pixies (Sept. 19)
Does any more really need to be said? These are the Pixies, for cryin’ out loud.
Joel McHale (Oct. 8 )
The host of E!’s only good show (The Soup) and star of the criminally under-appreciated Community brings his harsh comedy stylings to Dallas and he’s sure to unleash his sarcastic venom on the audience. You don’t want to miss this.
Gorillaz (Oct. 20)
Can a virtual band be exhilarating onstage? Don’t take my word for it.
Jónsi (Oct. 25)
Did you miss Sigur Rós last time they came to town? Don’t worry. I did too. Fortunately, the energetic frontman is still coming to town. I’m getting giddy just thinking about it (no, not in that way).
Drake (Oct. 31)
Until Kanye gets his stuff together and releases whatever he’s calling his fifth album, Drake’s Thank Me Later stands as the year’s best hip-hop album. Hearing these tracks live would be killer. Plus, he’s likely to bring the most diverse audience Dallas has seen since Prince came to town.
THE PALLADIUM BALLROOM
The Gaslight Anthem (Oct. 8 )
The heirs apparent to the E Street Band mix of blue-collar earnestness and lyrics packed with realism, this is an up-and-coming band you can’t afford to miss.
Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation (Nov. 1)
These two seminal electronic acts know how to put on a vibrant, engrossing show. The show starts “promptly at 8” so be prepared for four solid hours of emotion and synthesizers.
HOUSE OF BLUES
S. Carey (Sept. 17)
The Bon Iver guitarist is far more energetic than his lead singer, but still keeps a mellow, introspective vibe.
The National (Oct. 9)
They currently hold the title of 2010’s best album with High Violet and will likely have the year’s best live show, too. They’ll only have to compete with Sufjan for both.
fun. (Nov. 2)
I’ve only seen the Format, oh, three or four times. So to see the remnants of that band for the first time will be an absolute delight. They certainly live up to their name.
MORTON H. MEYERSON SYMPHONY CENTER
Kirk Franklin (Oct. 25)
The undisputed champ of contemporary gospel music, Franklin will put on the classiest show in Dallas. Take ’em to church indeed.
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER
A.R. Rahman (Sept. 18)
The Oscar winner had to cancel his July 4 show (where the top tickets commanded $1,000+), but he’s back with his blend of Hindi, Tamil and English hits.
Sufjan Stevens (Oct. 20)
He hasn’t been to Dallas in at least four years. He’s one of the most creative artists of the last decade. And he finally has a new album coming out. Do you need any more reasons to see this glorious man?
Sarah Jaffe, Seryn (Sept. 11)
Denton’s two best acts (you heard me, Midlake!) take their folky blend to Dallas for a $10 show. Catch ’em so you can say “I knew ’em when” once they hit it big.
The xx (Oct. 8 )
They just won the Mercury Prize for the best British album of the year and for good reason. Their self-titled debut is the best night-driving album since Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. The only danger is the show might be a little boring, but it’s hard to expect that when all their songs are so powerful.
Of Montreal, Janelle Monáe (Nov. 2)
Two great tastes that are bound to taste great together. The former is the out-there indie band (is there any other kind?) from Athens, Ga. The latter is the most exciting, innovative R&B singer in the world whose full-length debut The ArchAndroid is drawing comparisons to OutKast (well, at least by me) and for good reason.
Smile Smile (Sept. 11)
It’s not hard to love this folk-pop duo. Much like the Old 97’s before them, this Dallas band combines catchy melodies and sarcastic lyrics.
WINSTAR WORLD CASINO
Lewis Black (Sept. 18)
With the exception of Denis Leary, Lewis Black may just be the angriest comedian alive. He’s also my favorite comedian working today. His routine is fairly simple, getting angry at political stupidity and the plethora of unnecessary Starbucks in the world. It’s amazing he hasn’t had a coronary already.
Tony Bennett (Oct. 23)
The man exudes class. Just go already.