Wednesday, July 17
PLAN A: Adam Ant @ Balboa Theatre. Fun Fact: I was once Adam Ant for Halloween, and I did a convincing enough job that I didn't have to explain it. That's how iconic the U.K. new waver's look is, but his new-romantic hits are even better than his "dandy highwayman" shtick, so this show's bound to be a memorable one. PLAN B: Vampire, Lawrence Rothman, Nicky Venus @ The Casbah. Local occult-wavers Vampire do their thing with eerie synths, post-punk melodies and a stage setup that looks more like an altar than a rock show. Come for the theatrics; stay for the gothic robo-jams. BACKUP PLAN: Terminal A @ The Void.
Thursday, July 18
PLAN A: Neil Hamburger, JP Inc., Martin Starr and Common Rotation, Greg Gehrens @ The Casbah. Because of the Comic-Con invasion, there will be no shortage of comedy events to catch this week, but Neil Hamburger should be at the top of the list for living up to his reputation as the worst standup comedian of all time. Seriously, it's high art. PLAN B: Astra, Tar Halos @ The Griffin. Comic-Con week can't really be complete without a hefty dose of heroic prog-rock, which local wizards Astra do a mighty fine job of conjuring. BACKUP PLAN: Caust, Nayru, Flowers Taped to Pens @ The Che Café.
Friday, July 19
PLAN A: Sonic Boom, Black Marble, Soft Metals, Death Day @ The Casbah. An original member of noise-rock pioneers Spacemen 3, Peter Kember, aka Sonic Boom, is still a master of spacious, dreamy echo, both as a solo artist and as engineer to performers like Animal Collective's Panda Bear. PLAN B: The B-52's @ Del Mar Fairgrounds. So it turns out this is a great week for seeing classic new-wave bands. If Adam Ant didn't fulfill your '80s jones, then grab your best rock lobster and roam on over to Del Mar to catch The B-52's broadcast transmissions from Planet Claire. BACKUP PLAN: Dissimilars, The Wooly Mammoth, Mexico City Rollers, The New Rivers @ Tower Bar.
Saturday, July 20
PLAN A: Nobunny, Milk Music, Colleen Green, Widows @ The Casbah. The third and final Impose / Art Fag showcase at The Casbah for Comic-Con weekend is Nobunny, a garage-rock artist who performs with a scary-as-fuck bunny mask on his face. Get there early for the Dinosaur Jr.-style punk freakouts of Milk Music. PLAN B: Scott H. Biram, Low Volts @ The Void. When done right, blues and outlaw country can sound more badass than the most visceral punk-rock band. Scott H. Biram is just the musician to put that idea into practice, with a catalog full of barn-burning, brawl-starting (and occasionally tear-jerking) tunes. BACKUP PLAN: 16, Downspell, Semtex Vest, D.I.S., P.O.O.R. @ Shakedown Bar.
Sunday, July 21
PLAN A: El Vez Punk Rock Revue, Schitzophonics @ Bar Pink. One of the most celebrated and recognizable figures in San Diego's music scene, El Vez has long been putting a fun, theatrical Latin spin on the music of Elvis Presley (and David Bowie, Bob Dylan, et al.). So why not end a weekend of costumes and fantasy by checking out the local singer with the greatest wardrobe of them all? PLAN B: Rogue Wave, Hey Marseilles @ Belly Up. The members of Rogue Wave have had some unbelievable misfortune throughout the years, from Patrick Spurgeon's bout with kidney failure to Zack Rogue suffering two slipped discs in 2010. And yet, the band sounds as strong as ever on new album Nightingale Floors, a shimmering indie-rock record that finds their catchy tunes at full strength. BACKUP PLAN: Des and the Cendents, Shark Blood @ Tower Bar.
Monday, July 22
PLAN A: Papa, Wardell @ The Casbah. Papa is not an Ernest Hemingway tribute act (though someone should start that band); rather, it's a high-energy rock duo featuring Darren Weiss, formerly of Girls. The group runs the spectrum from gritty guitar tunes to synth-heavy dream pop, all of which sounds utterly massive. BACKUP PLAN: Los Headaches, Joe Volume, Chango Rey @ The Void.
Tuesday, July 23
PLAN A: Tijuana Panthers, GRMLN, Northern Tigers, Golden Beaches @ Soda Bar. Tijuana Panthers have a pretty simple formula: two-minute garage-pop songs loaded with reverb-heavy surf-guitar riffs, vocal harmonies, big choruses and just a touch of Pixies' hook-heavy sensibility. Their sound isn't wholly original, but it's also good enough for that not to matter. BACKUP PLAN: The Uncluded, Hammell on Trial @ The Irenic.