Wednesday, Dec. 19
PLAN A: High on Fire, C.O.C. (Corrosion of Conformity), Goatwhore, Lo Pan @ Brick by Brick. High on Fire's 2012 album, De Vermis Mysteriis, tells the story of Liao, the time-traveling twin brother of Jesus Christ. Confused? Don't be. Just know that their album is the crustiest, trippiest, most earth-shaking slab of heavy metal I've heard all year. PLAN B: Bootsy Collins @ Belly Up Tavern. With his towering top hat, wacky sunglasses and fantastical, star-shaped bass guitar, Bootsy Collins is one of the funkiest motherfuckers alive. Continuing on a decades-long career, he's now dishing out explosive jams with cameos from the likes of Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson. BACKUP PLAN: The Blood, Evacuate, Rat City Riot, PSO @ The Shakedown Bar.
Thursday, Dec. 20
PLAN A: Mondo Generator @ The Shakedown Bar. Nick Oliveri is best known as the bald, goateed former bassist for stoner-rock heavies Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. But Mondo Generator has been Oliveri's baby: With gnarled, smoldering rock riffs and wicked psycho screams (plus some acoustic numbers), it's an infant the likes of which humanity has never seen before. PLAN B: B. Bravo, Sinjin Hawke, Mike Gao, Sleeve, Mateo @ Kava Lounge. Armed with some seriously sexy synths, San Francisco's B. Bravo deals in sweaty electro-funk. Barcelona-based producer Sinjin Hawke, meanwhile, explores the sonic cosmos with deep bass and tingling, abstract beats. BACKUP PLAN: The Visionaries, Blame One, L'Roneous, Beehive @ Boar Cross'n (Carlsbad).
Friday, Dec. 21
PLAN A: MellowHype, Trash Talk, Antwon, Take Offense @ Epicentre. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the end of the world (assuming the Mayans were correct) than with hardcore punks Trash Talk. As Jeff Terich illustrates in our feature, their live shows get craaaaaazy. MellowHype, a hip-hop duo featuring members of Odd Future, is sure to bring it, as well. PLAN B: Japandi, Snuffaluffagus, Census, Crooks, Mothlight, Weatherboxes, Nut/Crackers, ASHA, Nature's Kid, Darc Meriso @ Ché Café. It's been two years since North County math-rock mavens Japandi last played live, but I'll bet their improvisational licks will be as mind-bending as ever at this daylong fest. (Starts at 3:30 p.m.; Japandi also plays at Soda Bar on Saturday, Dec. 22.) PLAN C: Low Volts, Grand Tarantula, Twowolves, Dirty Sirens @ The Casbah. Here's hoping one-man band Low Volts will hip the crowd to the brand-new dance he unveils on "Crippled Cat," one of the most infectious tracks off his rad new album, Oh My Stars. BACKUP PLAN: Dead Feather Moon, The Heavy Guilt, Trouble in the Wind @ Belly Up Tavern.
Saturday, Dec. 22
PLAN A: El Vez, Schitzophonics, Zozo Fiasco @ The Casbah. Expect to get a massive dose of irreverent, subversive holiday cheer at this Christmas concert put on by the famous El Vez, aka the Mexican Elvis. But don't be late: Local rockers Schitzophonics put on an unforgettable live show, channeling the ghost of Jimi Hendrix. PLAN B: "Blinkfest" w/ blink-182, Rancid, Sum-41 @ Ché Café. Wow, really? Not quite. These cover bands might have incredibly misleading names, but they're still likely a ton of fun.
Sunday, Dec. 23
PLAN A: Mini Death, Dream Buddies, Shiva Trash @ Soda Bar. Taking their name from a French idiom for orgasm, San Diego-via-El Paso outfit Mini Death offer up delightful little garage-pop confections with sweet melodies, hard beats and a retro flavor. PLAN B: X, My Jerusalem @ The Casbah. If you thought punk and the holidays don't mix, just listen to X's 2009 two-track EP, Merry Xmas from X: The L.A. punk pioneers do rockin' renditions of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Jingle Bells."
Monday, Dec. 24
PLAN A: Exile on Kettner Blvd. @ The Casbah. 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the city / Not a songsmith was stirring, not even a folkie / But at this Middletown club, local players had assembled / and to the crowd's glee, The Rolling Stones they resembled! BACKUP PLAN: Toothless George @ Eleven.
Tuesday, Dec. 25
PLAN A: Nicky McCheerful's One-Man- Band, Rudolph & The Red-Nosed Bruisers, Coaltron 5000 @ Chimney's. Just because there aren't any shows happening doesn't mean you'll be stuck listening to Kenny G's Miracles all night. Head here to read about The Christmas Friends, a locally produced compilation series full of holiday gems. Grab the latest installment for free at thechristmasfriends.bandcamp.com.