The Five Best Concerts In Dallas This Weekend, February 14-17

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Patti Labelle
Patti Labelle
Thursday, February 14, at The American Airlines Center, $31-$86

KSOC-FM "Old School" 94.5 has earned the nickname "The Baby Making Station," as the station's nighttime programming of "Old School Lovin'" has become a go-to staple of gatherings in the area. So it comes as no surprise that they're putting on the biggest Valentine's Day show in the area with their Patti LaBelle-headlined Love Train: A Night Full of Love event. The legendary LaBelle has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and has toured seemingly non-stop since 1970, when she formed the group LaBelle and opened for The Who. Following the group's split in 1977, LaBelle showed no signs of slowing down, as she has made numerous stage, film and television appearances. She's done all this while keeping up an acclaimed career as a solo artist, proving that she is one of the few who really deserve the title of diva. Along with LaBelle, Love Train features a performance from the Heads of State (Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant), who will surely keep the smooth sensuality going. -- Jaime-Paul Falcon



War Party
Thursday, February 14, at Lola's Saloon, $7/$11

The trumpet-packing garage rockers in War Party seem like troublemakers, but really they're big softies deep down, which is why they're headlining a Valentine's Day show at Lola's this week. (Couples get a discount on the cover, by the way.) The Fort Worth hooligans just released a music video for their track "Blame the Blues," which features hilarious shots of them running from authority in striped jumpsuits. The video comes after a series of split 7-inches that the crew released with Fort Worth's '60s-inspired trio Doom Ghost. Filling out the bill is a slew of Cowtown's raw talent: gritty rock trio Purple and psych-rock favorites Animal Spirit, who are gearing up for a debut release this spring. Lo-fi outfit The Royalties will get the Valentine's Day shindig started early with their reservoir of danceable, upbeat jams. -- Rachel Watts



Ray Wylie Hubbard
Friday, February 15, at The Kessler Theater, $20-$30

Few songwriters are as prophetic as Texas bluesman Ray Wylie Hubbard. He's been spreading his own grizzled brand of country blues for more than four decades. His ragged vocals and lyrical wit has aged well. Hubbard's new album, The Grifter's Hymnal, is like attending church in a saloon. Hubbard is at times a prophet, a poet and a lusty preacher. "New Year's Eve at the Gates of Hell," "Coochy Coochy" and "Coricidin Bottle" sound as if he wrote them while lost in an enchanted redneck forest with Jerry Jeff Walker, but their soulful, universal meaning are sure to resonate. -- Christian McPhate


Flogging Molly
Saturday, February 16, at House of Blues, $33-$40.50

For more than 15 years, the L.A.-based Flogging Molly have been burnishing their own brand of Celtic folk-punk. The Dave King-led crew, which features the requisite banjo, mandolin, accordion and, lest we forget, the tin whistle, is more than a one-trick pint of stout. While one could weave a sonic thread through practically the band's entire catalog, such a practice would only address part of what makes the band great. So many of the songs from the band's five studio albums boast stories that should be listened to rather than pogo'd to. The band's 2002 record, Drunken Lullabies, is packed with songs that, in all fairness, create great confusion for the listener and the partier. "What's Left of the Flag," "Rebels of the Sacred Heart," "If I Ever Leave This World Alive," and the album's title track are each thoughtfully written and contain personal musings on life, death, the Catholic church and King's father. If you can mosh while not spilling your beer and still soak in the meaning that lies beneath the sonic onslaught emanating from the stage, then you have Flogging Molly figured out. -- Kelly Dearmore



We the Sea Lions
Sunday, February 17, at Sundown at Granada, Free

Wander over to Sundown at Granada this Sunday for We the Sea Lions, a five-piece progressive band whose alternative sound includes hard-edged bass lines and melodic, dreamy guitar parts. The Fort Worth quintet just released its first full-length, Consequence in Sequence. Before that, the group had the help of Grammy Award-winning music engineer Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Modest Mouse, The White Stripes, Loretta Lynn, etc.) for the creation of their five-track EP, For Now. Catch a rather lengthy set from the group this Sunday. -- Rachel Watts



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