Top 10 Best Concerts of the Week: Kings of Leon, Sylvan Esso, Eagles and More

Sylvan Esso makes its return to Dallas Saturday, Sept. 18, at South Side Ballroom.
Sylvan Esso makes its return to Dallas Saturday, Sept. 18, at South Side Ballroom. Jeff Strowe
The nights are getting longer and just a little bit cooler as fall makes its appearance, and to go with the inviting weather are some exciting shows this week just begging for your attendance.

The names coming to town this week really don't get much bigger. Kings of Leon have established themselves as the next generation of classic rock, while Korn has become a new classic and the Eagles remain the epitome of the classic rock band.

If you're looking to get your groove on, Sylvan Esso and Electric Six are both playing Saturday night, but your pick will significantly change the type of dancing you'll be doing. The Mountain Goats and The Wood Brothers keep things folky while Whiskey Myers keeps it country. This is also a great weekend to book a room and head north for Mutha-Falcon bringing the noise Saturday night and the Denton Blues Festival on Saturday and Sunday. What a great week to have a great week.
The Mountain Goats
7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $35-$46 at

After several rescheduled dates, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats will finally be playing his solo set Thursday evening at The Kessler in Oak Cliff. Performing without a full band is a return to the band's very beginnings. Started in 1991, The Mountain Goats spent the first decade of its existence as a solo act, producing five full-length albums recorded on a boombox and released in cassette or vinyl 7-inch format. All that changed in 2002 with two groundbreaking releases. Darnielle released an album of boombox recordings, All Hail West Texas, which features local favorites "Blues in Dallas" and "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton." That year also saw Darnielle recruiting band members to release what is possibly The Mountain Goats' best-known effort, Tallahassee, which features the track "No Children." During the pandemic, Darnielle returned to his roots, recording Songs for Pierre Chuvin using the old direct-to-boombox method. Darnielle will receive opening support from singer-songwriter Sophia Boro.
Kings of Leon
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at Dos Equis Pavilion, 1818 First Ave., $24+ at

Looking back at all the garage rock bands that crowded alt-rock radio in the early to mid-2000s, it's incredible that Kings of Leon have been able to stay relevant, touring amphitheaters like Dos Equis Pavilion Friday night while their contemporaries struggle to fill small theaters. Brothers Caleb, Jared and Nathan Followill spent their childhood on tour with their father Ivan, a Pentecostal preacher. The band debuted by blending the popular garage rock sound with something reminiscent of Southern rock from the 1970s — familiar enough to get them played alongside The Hives, The Vines and The Strokes, but unique enough to set them apart. As time passed, the band ditched the flavor-of-the-week sound for a timeless arena-rock that has kept them going through eight albums and several international awards. Opening for Kings of Leon will be Cold War Kids, who are set to release the third volume of New Age Norms on Sept. 24.
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, at Andy's Bar, 122 N. Locust St., $7 at

You may have missed Mutha-Falcon's return to the stage a few weeks ago as part of the Last Daze of Summer Festival, but this is your first chance to catch them in a headlining spot on a local show with a wonderful local show entry price. For the uninitiated, Mutha-Falcon is a punk-fusion band, using punk as its foundation and building up the music with elements of jazz, hip-hop and pop. While the punk influences are readily apparent on Mutha-Falcon's loud and fast facade, it would be a shame to overlook singer Diya Craft's pop sensibility in song structures that make use of catchy hooks and straightforward melodies. The attitude is all hip-hop, speaking truth to power with a heavy focus on personal responsibility and action. The music itself is as fearless as jazz, uncompromising in its approach and unshakeable once it reaches your ears. Catch Mutha-Falcon and the (mostly) Denton punk line-up with Homewrecker & The Bedwetters, Hen and The Cocks and Chief Swiftwater Friday night at Andy's Bar in Denton.
Denton Blues Festival
12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18-19, at  Quakertown Park, 321 E. McKinney St., Free

For 23 years now, The Denton Black Chamber of Commerce has hosted the annual two-day blues music festival at Quakertown Park down the street from the Denton town square. Festival-goers can expect the same great music, food and family fun that every year offers, but this year festival organizers promise new experiences to VIP ticket-buyers as well as holiday shopping opportunities. And while blues music may not be a genre you know as well as others, rest assured that this lineup was made for some serious city park picnicking and chilling (be sure to bring your own blanket and/or chair). Things kick off Saturday with a noontime performance by Denton's own Little Elmo & The Mambo Kings. Houston's Carolyn Wonderland plays later that evening followed by Mr. Sipp "The Mississippi Blues Child" and Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and The Zydeco Twisters. Sunday begins with the Denton dynamic duo Cassandra Berry and Mark Graham and ends with headliners Mike Zito and Fingerprints.
Electric Six
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $20 at

Do you like to dance? Seriously, do you really want to just absolutely let go on the dance floor to the sounds of hard rock, glam metal, surf and who-knows-what? Well, then get ready for a hot and sweaty night with Electric Six at Three Links in Deep Ellum on Saturday. Over the course of about 20 years and just as many albums, Electric Six has kept the energy going with songs about fast food, fire, sex, dancing and masculinity (with tongue planted firmly in cheek). Band members themselves claim that most Electric Six songs are really about nothing, and honestly, we will grant them that. Lyrically, there isn't a whole lot to read into but much more to simply laugh at. What makes Electric Six a band worth seeing is the absolute spectacle of it all. This is a band that wants each and every single member of their audience up, dancing and having the best of all possible times. Opening that night is indie-rock band Me Like Bees from Joplin, Missouri.
The Wood Brothers
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $28 at

Combining elements of blues, gospel, folk and jazz, The Wood Brothers have spent more than 15 years cultivating an American roots sound that is uniquely their own. Fronted by brothers Chris and Oliver Wood, and accompanied by experimental multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix, the band draws its lyrical inspiration from blues and gospel traditions, meditating on the human condition and the passage of time. Particularly in the band's most recent album Kingdom in My Mind, The Wood Brothers try to come to grips with things that cannot be changed. What makes The Wood Brothers stand out in the Americana music scene is their ability to balance those heavy lyrics with light, and at times cheerful, arrangements that can make the listener forget they are listening to a song about not ever being able to feel happy — as in "Happiness Jones" from their Grammy-nominated album One Drop of Truth. Their performance at The Kessler Saturday night will have opening support from Michigan singer-songwriter Andrea von Kampen.
Whiskey Myers
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, 300 W. Las Colinas Blvd., $30+ at

Hailing from Palestine, Texas, Whiskey Myers has been coming up slowly over the last decade. After their 2008 album Road to Life went largely unrecognized, the band made their first big splash with "Ballad of a Southern Man" on their sophomore release Firewater in 2011. That song has taken a lot of heat for its ostensibly Southern, conservative values, but songwriter Cody Cannon has defended the song for being about the lives of the people with whom he grew up. Since then, Whiskey Myers have kept their politics mostly to themselves and focused on the music that brings people together. The band's last three records have been a slow evolution in perfecting their Southern rock sound. Their latest self-titled album debuted in the No. 1 spot on Billboard's country charts, and it includes the single "Die Rockin'" which was written together with Texas music legend Ray Wylie Hubbard. Bones Owens and Kolby Cooper open for Whiskey Myers Saturday night at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory.
Sylvan Esso
9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at South Side Ballroom, 1135 Botham Jean Blvd., $29+ at

North Carolina electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso will swing through the South Side Ballroom Saturday night hot off the release of their third album Free Love. Sylvan Esso made quite the splash from the start of their career, reaching the No. 7 position on Billboard's independent album chart with their self-titled debut, with its lead single "Hey Mami" proclaimed as the No. 1 song of 2014 by Paste magazine. Sylvan Esso has always eschewed the typical trappings of electronic music, choosing fragility over heavy beats and intricate melodies. Their songs are often an attempt to see the light through the darkness, which is fraught with difficulty. Still, there is something sweet and danceable in songs like "Ferris Wheel," which feels less like a club anthem and more like a soundtrack for dancing alone in your socks on the kitchen floor. Sylvan Esso will receive opening support from NYC singer-songwriter Samia who released her Scout EP earlier this year.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Dos Equis Pavilion, 1818 First Ave., $29+ at

Korn has had quite the evolution since its heyday, but then again so have so many bands that stuck with the label "nü metal." Labeling aside, Korn's music production from 1994 to 2001 was absolutely solid, turning out four classic alt-metal albums that still stand the test of time. Through several lineup shifts, Korn pressed on, experimenting with different sounds as a means to keep things fresh. Notably, the band released their MTV Unplugged album in 2007, which was filled with uncommon acoustic instruments as well as duets with people like Evanescence's Amy Lee and The Cure's Robert Smith. The Path of Totality in 2011 featured production work from producers such as Skrillex and Excision. The band has since returned to form, releasing The Nothing in 2019 in which lead singer Jonathan Davis let all of his feelings out following the deaths of his wife and his mother. Longtime Korn bass player Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu is currently on hiatus from the band, and won't perform Tuesday night at Dos Equis Pavilion. He has been replaced with Suicidal Tendencies bass player Ra Luzier for the current tour.
6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 20 and 21, at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave., $129+ at

In a lineup that brings original members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit together with country singer Vince Gill and Glenn Frey's son Deacon, the Eagles play Monday and Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center. Each night will feature two sets by the band. The first is a performance of the classic album Hotel California, in its entirety. The second set will be a performance of the band's greatest hits. The concert is somewhat of an extension of the band's Las Vegas residency, which saw the Eagles in its current lineup performing Hotel California for three nights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, though this time without the 46-piece orchestra and 22-voice choir. The Eagles' current lineup put out its first release in October 2020 — Live from the Forum MMXVIII — their third live album in almost 50 years of existence. The band's only studio recording without Glenn Frey is a cover of Dan Fogelberg's "Part of the Plan." Both nights at the AAC are sold out, but there are plenty of verified resale tickets available through Ticketmaster.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.
Contact: David Fletcher