By far my favorite thing about living in Dallas (within range of Austin) has been the live music. I’ve had the opportunity to see bands that would never have passed through Central Illinois. Below are my five favorite concerts!
EASY CHOICE. Sufjan Steven’s Sing-A-Long Christmas Tour was the best concert experience of my life. Alternating between original music and classic Christmas songs, this concert felt like a massive family gathering of weirdos celebrating a holiday together. Spinning the Christmas wheel to decide which hymn or carol we would belt out together, Sufjan felt like a friend. That is, until he brought things back around to “Casmir Pulaski Day” and reminded everyone that he is, in fact, a genius.
The concert ended with the incredibly long “Christmas Unicorn.” Sufjan donned streamers and a bike helmet outfitted with a wing and a unicorn horn. Everyone swayed and sang, “I’m the Christmas unicorn / Find the Christmas unicorn / You’re the Christmas unicorn too / It’s all right, I love you.” It was absolutely ridiculous and lovely. I wish I could welcome the Christmas season with a Sufjan concert every year.
When my counseling supervisor and I discovered we share a similar taste in music, I threw out Noah Gundersen’s name to an enthusiastic response. Sheepishly, I continued, “I mean, I kind of have a massive crush on him.” Tyler nodded his head and said, “Oh, I do too. He’s amazing.”
Noah sings like a very conflicted angel. He is a rock star with a poet’s heart, which is my personal weakness. His songs are hauntingly beautiful, and the first time I heard him sing them live with his heavy-lidded eyes and massive hands, I….was very distracted. He’s hot and talented, which is why I had no problem shelling out cash to see him twice in one year.
Mumford & Sons has been my favorite group for probably the last three years. The reason their concert is ranked third is because the outdoor Gexa Pavilion lacked the intimacy of the smaller concerts described above. HOWEVER, they were still Mumford & Sons. My heart died when they played “Awake My Soul” and I discovered a new appreciation for “Thistle & Weeds” when the stage was bathed in eerie red light. Although I prefer a smaller setting where I can see my beloved musicians up close, there is something incredibly amazing about singing your favorite songs alongside thousands of fans.
This concert felt like a party. The Oh Hello’s had at least twelve people crammed onto the stage with them, and every single band member was rocking their little indie hearts out. I love their music, I love their energy, I loved their concert.
This was one of the most quintessentially summer things I’ve ever enjoyed. From afternoon to after dark, band after band played at Gexa while my friends and I lounged on blankets covering the grass. We ate from food trucks, discovered new bands that we enjoyed, and ran closer for the Avett Brothers closing performance. Food, music, good weather? There’s no better way to celebrate summer.
Honorable mentions: Vampire Weekend, Freelance Whales, and Seryn.