Wednesday, Aug. 8
PLAN A: Branford Marsalis @ MCASD's Sherwood Auditorium. While he's not quite as famous as his brother Wynton, jazz saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis still tears it up, as you'll hear on his quartet's tune "Whiplash." This show is part of the La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest; see ljms.org for a full schedule. PLAN B: Norah Jones @ Copley Symphony Hall. Though I've never been a huge fan, Norah Jones puts on a lovely performance on her new album, Little Broken Hearts, working with Danger Mouse to offer up some moody, mid-tempo pop. BACKUP PLAN: Gap Dream, Cosmonauts @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Aug. 9
PLAN A: Agalloch, Taurus, Author & Punisher @ The Casbah. Portland metalers Agalloch have always written long songs, but none like the two-part, 21-minute epic that makes up their new Faustian Echoes EP. Based on Goethe's Faust, it's breathtaking in all its smoldering, devilish fury. PLAN B: Woods, Wet Illustrated, Little Deadman @ Soda Bar. One of the most irresistible lo-fi bands around today, Brooklyn folk-rockers Woods hit on a kind of casual genius with indelible melodies, tape experiments and gnarled, tossed-off guitar. PLAN C: Large Professor @ Boar Cross'n. Large Professor is perhaps best known as a producer for the likes of Nas and Busta Rhymes, but he's also a solid MC who's cool-headed and confident. BACKUP PLAN: Om Unit, Arkon, Jahn, Michael Divinity, Sleeve, Jahn @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, Aug. 10
PLAN A: Sleeping People, Devfits, Kata @ Soda Bar. After a three-year slumber, local instrumental-rock greats Sleeping People are ready to blow faces off once again with the winding riffs and whiplash rhythms of classics like "Blue Fly Green Fly" and "James Spader." It could be a while before they play again, so avid fans had better not miss out. PLAN B: Coda Reactor, Low Volts, The Beautiful View, Children of Nova, Jesse LaMonaca @ The Griffin. The latest in a series showcasing San Diego Music Awards nominees, this show features a couple of the city's most bruising rock 'n' roll bands, Coda Reactor and oneman-band Low Volts. But expect Jesse LaMonaca to lighten things up with his feelgood Americana. BACKUP PLAN: Sheila E. & The E Family, The Chocolate Revolution @ 4th & B.
Saturday, Aug. 11
PLAN A: Andrew Bird, Kelly Hogan @ Spreckels Theatre. Andrew Bird's songs are as beautiful as they are distinct, covering a broad range of topics (bees, war, death) with an even broader sonic palette (whistling, violin, rock guitar). It's tempting to call him eccentric, but only because so many other singer-songwriters are mundane by comparison. PLAN B: Jel + DJ Abilities, Void Pedal, Mystery Cave @ Soda Bar. A wizard with samplers and drum pads, Anticon co-founder Jel lays down sweet hip-hop beats and heady grooves in real time. With DJ Abilities at his side, expect this live DJ sesh to get cray cray. BACKUP PLAN: Roswell That Ends Well, Former Friends of Young Americans, Midnight Vitals @ Tin Can Ale House.
Sunday, Aug. 12
PLAN A: Antibalas @ Belly Up Tavern. It's no wonder Antibalas arranged and performed the music for the Fela Kuti musical Fela! Like Fela's sons, Seun and Femi, the Brooklyn band truly does justice to the late, great father of Afrobeat, laying down insanely funky grooves with sharp political awareness. PLAN B: Teengirl Fantasy, Gatekeeper, Thunder Horse @ The Casbah. If you've always wanted to ride on a spaceship but never had the money, electro duo Teengirl Fantasy will send you into the stratosphere with their abstract, '80s-tinged beats. BACKUP PLAN: Tokyo String Quartet @ MCASD Sherwood Auditorium (3 p.m.).
Monday, Aug. 13
PLAN A: San Diego Music Awards @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. The San Diego Music Awards are always a bundle of fun, and this year's no different, with bands like P.O.D., Unwritten Law and Hyena set to perform. Check out my predictions and preferences here. BACKUP PLAN: Franz Ferdinand, Bleached, Carnivores @ House of Blues.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
PLAN A: Assembly of Light Choir, The Body, Braveyoung, Ten Thousand Leagues, Lyburnum @ Ché Café. The Body and Braveyoung both make hellish, awe-inspiring doom-noise, and Providence ensemble Assembly of Light Choir is about to release a stunning self-titled album. In this special show, they'll each perform individual sets and collaborate together. BACKUP PLAN: Sharon Van Etten, Tennis @ Belly Up Tavern.