Wednesday, Aug. 21
PLAN A: The Black Angels, The Black Ryder @ Belly Up Tavern. Named for The Velvet Underground's "Black Angelís Death Song," The Black Angels carry some of the Velvets' dark, disorienting psychedelia in their heavy shoegaze sound. The band's music alternates between head-trip and a furious stomp, but it most definitely rocks hard. PLAN B: Muscle Beech, Supermodel Razorblades, Kids in Heat, Hot Sands @ The Griffin. Their pun-tastic name and penchant for upbeat vocal harmonies give the impression that Muscle Beech are emblematic of a sun-bleached San Diego stereotype. Their music, however, says otherwise, draped in effects and emphasizing driving rhythms and post-punk dissonance more than straightforward pop melody. That's a good thing, by the way. BACKUP PLAN: Hibou, Bruin, The Dead Blue @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Aug. 22
PLAN A: Deafheaven, Wreck and Reference, Deathday @ The Void.Read last week's cover story on Deafheaven to get a primer on this San Francisco band, who play an innovative fusion of black metal, post-rock and shoegaze. PLAN B: O'Brother, Native, Daylight, Silver Snakes @ House of Blues. They're called O'Brother, and their debut album, Garden Window, features a colorful illustration of a tree-lined estate. And yet, they're not an indie-folk band; they're a deafeningly heavy rock group that does crushing doom and intricate instrumental work in equal measure. BACKUP PLAN: The Blackout Party, The Palace Ballroom, Dirty Sirens @ The Casbah.
Friday, Aug. 23
PLAN A: Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Aaradhna, Smoota, DJ Claire @ Belly Up Tavern. Charles Bradley has been performing classic, James Brown-inspired soul for a long time but has really only registered on listeners' radar in the last few years, thanks to a boost from Daptone Records. With his dynamic showmanship and a hearty supply of fun and funky R&B tunes, Bradley easily provides the best option for a Friday night. PLAN B: TV Girl, Races, Dudes, Champ @ The Casbah. TV Girl high-tailed it out of San Diego a while back to settle in Los Angeles, but, thankfully, they're bringing their kaleidoscopic, sample-based pop back here for a Friday-night dance party. Their new EP, Lonely Women, is a fun set of cut-and-paste pop, super-catchy and endlessly fun. BACKUP PLAN: Lemuria, Destruction Unit, Shiva Trash @ The Void.
Saturday, Aug. 24
PLAN A: Dick Dale, Paul Cannon Band @ Belly Up Tavern. Dick Dale's the "original king of the surf guitar," as the refrain goes, and he has more than earned his title by taking a lighthearted, fun genre and making it about 10 times as badass. It's not often you get the chance to see someone who influenced greats like Jimi Hendrix, but here's one of them. PLAN B: Kids in Heat, Dead on the Wire, Love Letters @ Tower Bar. For a different kind of surf-inspired sound, check out Temecula's Kids in Heat, who balance '60s-style Ventures-inspired riffs and old-school-punk-rock energy. BACKUP PLAN: Alkaholiks, Cali Agents, Casual @ House of Blues.
Sunday, Aug. 25
PLAN A: Sonny and the Sunsets, The Cat Burglar, Christy @ The Casbah. If you missed Sonny and the Sunsets last month at The Casbah, then hereís a convenient second chance to correct that error. As garage rock goes, there aren't many songwriters who can do melody like Sonny. PLAN B: Luke Redfield, Late Nite Howl, Ed Ghost Tucker @ Soda Bar. There's a lot of bad Americana going around these days, but Minnesota troubadour Luke Redfield isn't responsible for any of it. He does country-folk nicely and dark, reverb-heavy rock even better. And I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Get there nice and early for Ed Ghost Tucker.
Monday, Aug. 26
PLAN A: Melvins, Honky @ The Casbah. With nearly 30 years under their belts careening through various stylistic avenues, from hardcore punk to sludge metal, and from grunge to noise rock, Seattle's Melvins aren't showing any signs of letting up. This show is going to be loud, and it's going to be heavy, so that means it's going to be awesome.
Tuesday, Aug. 27
PLAN A: Trashaxis, Spacewaster, Imperfex @ Tin Can Ale House. On principle alone, a weirdo prog deathgrind band with lots of synthesizer and a splash of accordion shouldn't work. Iím not even sure it does, but TrashAxis is too entertaining and fascinating not to recommend. BACKUP PLAN: Amerikan Bear, Shake Before Us, The Frights @ The Casbah.