On two consecutive nights, the Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum will host concerts by arguably the best representations of Dallas musical prowess in the past two decades.
On Feb. 23, Erykah Badu presents her annual birthday jam, followed on Feb. 24 by St. Vincent's first Dallas concert in nearly three years. Musically, there are a million differences, and while Badu calls Dallas home these days, St. Vincent is a New York City-dweller. But the creative genius and unpredictable independence both artists harness makes them alike in spirit, if not on record.
For these two, the only thing that's predictable is that it's impossible to predict what they'll do next.
Observing Badu's career has been a favorite pastime of Texans for 20 years now. For any local (somehow) unaware, Badu's been a neo-soul beacon since the release of her 1997 mega-selling, Grammy-winning album Baduizm. To say that her sonic highways since then have been gloriously winding with hidden turns and hills is an understatement, as her four studio albums since have inventively and adventurously expanded upon that rightfully beloved debut.
From time to time, her open-hearted honesty and whimsy can stir up polarizing reactions, as she recently did when she said in an interview, "I saw something good in Hitler." In 2010, she drew shocked stares from Dallas onlookers by gradually undressing on a sidewalk in Dealey Plaza near the site of the John F. Kennedy assassination for her "Window Seat" video. In both instances, Badu addressed the fiery reactions with the bluntness of an artist unwilling to back down, regardless of the pressure.
For her annual birthday shindig, she has made a habit out of surprising packed crowds with marquee names including Leon Bridges, Outkast's Andre 3000 and even Dave Chappelle. Given her enigmatic history, there's no reason to think this weekend will be anything less than revelatory.
Erykah Badu's Bless You Bruja! Another Badu Birthday on Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. at the Bomb Factory. Details.
St. Vincent, or Annie Clark, as she's known to many locals and Lake Highlands High School graduates, dominated national music news in 2017 even though she released her stunning new record, Masseduction, in the latter part of the year. Many of her notable, entertaining exploits didn't involve her music; how's that for enigmatically engaging? Last spring, she made her feature film directorial debut with the indie horror flick XX, followed in quick succession by being the first female to serve as Record Store Day Ambassador, then speaking out against the proposed "bathroom bill" in Texas and even releasing the second edition of her wildly successful, internationally sold line of signature guitars, a first for a woman.
But let's be clear here, none of those enterprises would've been as intriguing if she followed them up with a stinker of an album, which of course was not the case. Leading with the colorfully imaginative, sexy videos for "New York" and "Los Ageless," St. Vincent took over television airwaves and magazine headlines as she offered a provocative, playful persona tailored to her ever-evolving identity as an artist without boundaries.
St. Vincent with Tuck and Patti on Feb. 24 at 8:00 p.m. at the Bomb Factory. Details.