Wednesday, April 30
PLAN A: Michael Nesmith @ Belly Up Tavern. You probably know Michael Nesmith as part of The Monkees, but in the 1970s, he released a number of excellent country-rock albums that proved his mettle as a songwriter, his history in a made-for-TV band notwithstanding. In fact, the entirety of his 1971 album Nevada Fighter is on YouTube—listen to it and you'll be convinced in no time. PLAN B: Monophonics, Orgone @ The Casbah. Orgone and Monophonics are two of the funkiest bands in the land, and at this special show, each band will do its own individual set, plus a third set together. Free your Wednesday night, San Diego, and your ass will follow. BACKUP PLAN: Howler, Vision, The Paper Thins @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, May 1
PLAN A: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic @ House of Blues. I'm not sure I need to explain why George Clinton is Plan A. He's a funk legend. Or, rather, he's the funk legend, and he and Parliament Funkadelic are going to tear the roof off the mother. PLAN B: Pantha du Prince, Queens aka Scott Mou, Mystery Cave @ The Casbah. Berlin-based Pantha du Prince is just one guy: Hendrik Weber. But on this tour, he's performing his hypnotic electronic jams as part of a live trio, re-contextualizing his minimalist house music into a whole new form. BACKUP PLAN: Bleeding Rainbow, Northern Tigers, The Kabbs @ Soda Bar.
Friday, May 2
PLAN A: Goblin, Pinkish Black @ House of Blues. Italian prog-rock band Goblin are best known for their super-creepy scores to Dario Argento's horror films, such as Suspiria and Profondo Rosso, and are only just now performing in North America. It's definitely a bucket-list show for prog nerds or horror fanatics. But anyone who's ever been seduced by drama and darkness shouldn't miss it. PLAN B: Danny Brown @ Porter's Pub. Danny Brown's late-2013 release Old is hands-down one of the best hip-hop albums of our still-young decade. Brown nimbly balances gritty realism and party jams with ease. He's got an outsized personality and a unique style, but, more importantly, he's one of the best MCs in the game. BACKUP PLAN: Eukaryst, Unicorn Death, Imbalanced, Calamitous Intent @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, May 3
PLAN A: 2UP, Batwings, Innerds, Tron @ Soda Bar. Tokyo's 2UP have a common member with San Diego's no-wave outfit Dmonstrations, and if you're familiar with that group's noisy experimentalism, then you'll have a good idea of the Beefheart-ian din that 2UP creates. If you want a laid-back show, go somewhere else, because this one's gonna be nuts. PLAN B: Step Brothers @ Porter's Pub. Step Brothers are the duo of Evidence and Alchemist—two hip-hop veterans with a long history of underground beats and rhymes. Based on their new album, Lord Steppington, this show should prove to be a cavalcade of skills. BACKUP PLAN: Dan Croll, Panama Wedding @ The Casbah.
Sunday, May 4
PLAN A: Manic Hispanic, The Fink Bombs, Homeless Sexuals @ The Casbah. Manic Hispanic feature members of legendary punk bands like Cadillac Tramps and The Adolescents and have made a career out of covers of old-school punk songs, remade with jokey lyrics (for example, X's "Los Angeles" becomes "East L.A."). This'll be a Cuatro de Mayo punk-rock fiesta. BACKUP PLAN: Pillar Point, Soft Swells, Rey Pila @ Soda Bar.
Monday, May 5
PLAN A: Mariachi El Bronx, Creepxotica, Los Mysteriosos @ Belly Up Tavern. How better to spend Cinco de Mayo than with Mariachi El Bronx, the best (and probably only) punk-band-turned-mariachi-outfit in Southern California? Whether playing hardcore or elaborately arranged mariachi songs, The Bronx should always be at the top of your must-see list.
Tuesday, May 6
PLAN A: Loop, Tar Halos, Brainticket DJs, Operation Mindblow Lightshow @ Soda Bar. Tuesday night is, apparently, the night when legendary psych-rock bands descend on San Diego. London's Loop spent a couple decades apart, but they recently reunited and are bringing their super-heavy catalog of acid-laced dirges with them. PLAN B: Acid Mothers Temple, Perhaps, OGOD @ The Casbah. Your second space-rock option for Tuesday night is Japan's Acid Mothers Temple, who are prolific disciples of heavy-psych heroes like Hawkwind and Flower Travellin' Band. It'll be epic, disorienting and weird in the best way. Freak out!