After bands finally felt comfortable enough to start tiptoeing out of their practice spaces to once again take up arms on stages all across town after the vaccine rollout peaked during the back end of 2021, this past year has seen live music come roaring back with the force of a ski resort-leveling avalanche. From DIY house shows to brand-spanking-new-arena-christening national touring acts, musicians made up for lost time in force. We likely attended more shows this past year than in the last several combined. The momentum does not appear to be slowing down into next year either. Though our wallets are destined to be considerably lighter due to the endless torrent of service fee-fattened ticket prices, the experience of tinnitus-inducing guitars reverberating off cavernous venue ceilings promises to continue to be worth every penny.
Below are some upcoming shows — local and national — that we’re avoiding $5 lattes and our daily dose of avocado toast to be able to afford to attend.
New Year’s Eve and January
The New Year will kick off with a bang as recently reformed synth-rock favorites Black Tie Dynasty headline the ball drop with a heavily anticipated New Year’s Eve show (Sat, Dec 31) at Tulips FW. The bill is absolutely stacked as danceable indie rockers FIT, power poppers Phantomelo, and Denton’s prog-flavored Dome Dwellers will share the stage. Happy New Year, indeed!
The recently relocated Magnolia Motor Lounge will host some top-shelf homegrown Americana with the Jaybirds as they top a bill with the Taylor Young Band, Good Latimer, and the Troumatics on Sat, Jan 7.
If something heavier is your preferred flavor, Tulips will feature Element + Eighty on the same night. If that name sounds semi-familiar, it’s because Element 80 was at or near the top of bands from 20 years ago that we associate with the Ridglea Theater’s nü-metal heyday. Do they have new material? New members? New 7-string guitars? We have no idea, but as the word of this gig gets out into the world, expect the show to be packed.
While we’re on the topic of metal, can we just throw out a local bill we’d kill to witness and see if we can’t simply will it into existence? Death-metal purveyors Frozen Soul have been riding a rocket trajectory over the last couple of years and are garnering tons of love from the national metal press. Imagine them coming back home and hosting a show with fellow thrashers Creeping Death plus Urn, Ozone, and, hell, throw in hard-gazers Trauma Ray just for S&Gs. Book it for a Saturday in late spring at Tulips. Talk about bang for your buck. That bill would be bigger than Stonehenge! (The real one, not the tiny mockup from Spinal Tap.)
Going the opposite sonic direction again, Tulips will also host the heart-tugging indie arrangements of singer-songwriter Andy Shauf in February. His whispery vocals and lush piano with string accompaniment will be a nice salve after such proposed metal ferocity.
You’ll want to keep the eyeliner you definitely overapplied for that Black Tie NYE gig close at hand ’cause you’re going to need it in March when anthemic indie rockers Muse take over Dickies Arena. They’re even bringing every dark-hearted 2000s-era teen’s favorite band, Evanescence, as support.
Also, on Sat, Mar 18, we highly recommend grabbing tickets to the Dumbo Gets Mad show at Lola’s Fort Worth. The Italian psych-pop duo last came to the United States in 2020, and their 2023 U.S. run resumes where that tour left off — it was cut short due to quarantine. They are a pretty big band, the kind that probably finds its way onto your Spotify playlists if you listen to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard or Frankie and the Witch Fingers often, so don’t sleep on this show until the day of, as it will probably sell out.
Speaking of sellouts, if you haven’t already scrambled to score tickets to one or both of the Metallica shows next August at AT&T Stadium, we wish you luck in the secondary market, because Metallica is one of — if not the — legacy arena act that seems to only get better the longer they hang around. By the time those shows come up, the Bay Area thrash pioneers-turned-biggest-rock-band-in-the-world will have been at it for 41 years, and seeing Metallica in a post-2020 world is, speaking from experience and with all sincerity, a life-affirming experience. It’s like one of those memes that profoundly wonders at the simple fact that “you were born into the world during the same time Metallica played.” The band has a new album out in April, and if first single “Lux Aeterna” is any indication, their new material sounds like it will hark back to the hungry, ferocious, riffage-forward work from their 1983 debut, Kill ’Em All. Maybe the first Metallica we’ve looked forward to since Justice.
The Rest of 2023
Looking a little further into the future, the Arctic Monkeys make their way from across the pond to Dickies in September. The tix are also likely to be costly, but whatever the price, it would be cool to see singer/guitarist Alex Turner’s retro greaser aesthetic in person as he plays that one song that was in all those commercials 10 years ago.