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From A Fest Held In An Abandoned Church West Of Fort Worth To A Showy Homecoming From A Legit Rock Icon, These Were The Shows We Dug Most In ’18.

OK, so, let’s address the obvious concern right away: Why our 13 favorite shows of the year? Why not a round number liek 10 or 15 or 20 or maybe even 18 (to go with “2018” and all)?

Eh… why not? Scrolling back through our live music coverage from 2018, these 13 shows clearly stood out as ones our team especially loved checking out this year. And we didn’t want to include any extra shows in this breakdown that we didn’t previously report upon for y’all — ’cause, well, that’d be weird to rave about something now but not in the moment, we think.

Anyway, it’s that simple. That’s how we came to the 13 figure.

Also really simple? The concept of this post. So, without further ado, these are the shows we loved the most in 2018. — Pete Freedman

Photo by Mikel Galicia.

13. Curren$y at Canton Hall
What We Said Then: “For all intents and purposes, Bric’s latest Block Party delivered on its promise to provide Dallas fans of the genre with a memorable night of hip-hop. But, behind the stage curtains, this special birthday edition of the concert series was more than that. There, it was a celebration of a man who’s dedicated his life to the game. And for a rare collective of artists like Jet Life to assemble for a moment like that? Well, it says a lot.” — Mikel Galicia

Photo by Ashley Gongora.

12. NOFEST 13.
What We Said Then: “Sound goofy? It is. NOFEST is, in reality, little more than likeminded creatives enjoying one another’s company and quirks. But that’s also what provides the event its appeal and sense of community. It’s an event where everyone can be themselves, without a bother to the world. That, along with some ripping performances from the bands who want to impress the fellow musicians in attendance, is what makes it special.” — Ashley Gongora

Photo by Mikel Galicia.

11. Denzel Curry at Trees.
What We Said Then: “When the night came to its close, it was tough not to be taken aback by the sheer breadth of songs Curry had performed or to be awed by just how far he has come since his earliest days after breaking into the national limelight.” — Mikel Galicia

Photo by Pete Freedman.

10. Leon Bridges at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory.
What We Said Then: “The crowd didn’t just do as Bridges requested; it did so confidently, loudly and, more impressive, reverentially.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Mike Brooks.

9. Damn Fine Music Fest.
What We Said Then: “Like Rock Lottery with a Twin Peaks theme, Friday night’s Damn Fine Music Festival at Three Links was the latest example of the North Texas music community banding together to get high on the drug that is creativity.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Karlo X. Ramos.

8. JMBLYA 2018.
What We Said Then: “Let’s just say this: JMBLYA remains a stew worth enjoying.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Aly Fae.

7.Fortress Festival 2018.
What We Said Then: “Whereas everyone left last year’s festival wondering if Fortress Fest would come back, everyone leaving this year’s deal left pretty certain that this is a festival that indeed has a future. Presuming the math worked out for the organizers — again, the crowds were solid, but not overwhelming, so who knows? — one thing is clear: Fortress Fest’s second year sent people packing with word-of-mouth goodwill to spare for future renditions.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Breanna Loose.

6. Drake and Migos at American Airlines Center
What We Said Then: “These fans were here to support their undoubted favorite performer, who himself is unafraid to bare his clear influences. The night’s in-the-round offering, which mimicked recent set-ups seen from Kanye West and Jay-Z, was just one way in which Drake paid homage to those who paved the way for him. Covering Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” was another.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Mikel Galicia.

5. Jay Rock at Trees.
What We Said Then: “Gearing up to close out the night, he performed “King’s Dead,” his smash hit from the Black Panther soundtrack. That offering inspired pure rowdiness from the crowd. But the big finale came from the anthemic “WIN,” a track with so much energy and enthusiasm oozing throughout that it felt like the perfect cap to the night’s messaging. Leaving the venue in the wake of that song’s performance, going out and accomplishing all those dreams Rock had discussed earlier in the night just felt necessary.” — Mikel Galicia

Photo by Allan Hayslip.

4. David Byrne at The Winspear.
What We Said Then: “The crowd was fully transfixed by Byrne and his every move. Even at 65 years old and without any NFL-sized shoulder pads, his silhouette was unmistakable in his signature, tie-less grey suit-and-shirt combo — a point driven home when a single floor light was used to cast a shadow-play on the backdrop behind him and his co-conspirators on stage.” — Alan Hayslip

Photo by Mike Brooks.

3. Babymetal at House of Blues
What We Said Then: “Few metal shows ever dare to dream of becoming such a fully realized experience. But therein lies Babymetal’s appeal. Metal, in many ways, is just the band’s vessel: Instead of the expected scary songs about murder and gloom, Babymetal sings songs about waking up, karate and chocolate; in turn, the group is beginning to break down some of the cultural walls that metal has set up around itself.” — Jacob Besser

Photo by Jonathan Stafford.

2. Erykah Badu’s Birthday Bash at The Bomb Factory.
What We Said Then: “There is no other talent in Dallas that could assemble an award show-caliber roster of talent together for such an affair. Because there is no other talent in Dallas — or perhaps anywhere, really — like Badu. There is a reason why controversy follows her, why an aura of mystique has been projected onto her and why celebrities like [Dave] Chappelle, [Jada] Pinkett Smith and D.R.A.M. go so out of their way to stand by her side. It’s because she’s an icon, and Dallas’ greatest at that — something this party perhaps needlessly but also importantly serves to remind everyone of on a yearly basis.” — Pete Freedman

Photo by Allan Hayslip.

1. St. Vincent at The Bomb Factory.
What We Said Then: “Time and again Saturday, during her first Dallas-area show in almost three years (following her ambitious 2015 appearance at the Soluna International Music & Arts Festival a few blocks over at the Winspear Opera House), St. Vincent showcased why she stands alone in modern music.” — Pete Freedman

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