Wednesday, Aug. 20
PLAN A: The Zombies, Mrs. Magician, Cheers Elephant @ House of Blues. If I may get a little personal for a moment, when I got married in 2009, my wife and I chose "This Will Be Our Year" as the song for our first dance. So, I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to The Zombies. But memories aside, their 1968 swan song, Odessey and Oracle, is one of the greatest pop albums of all time. BACKUP PLAN: Age of Collapse, Augurs, Usnea @ Til-Two Club.
Thursday, Aug. 21
PLAN A: Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Cold Cave @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre. Nine Inch Nails skipped San Diego on their fall 2013 tour, but Trent Reznor's making it up to us by bringing along fellow alt-rock legends Soundgarden. If youíre CityBeat web editor Ryan Bradford, that's not much consolation, but as someone who spent a lot of time with Superunknown, that sounds pretty good to me. PLAN B: How to Dress Well, Many Mansions @ The Casbah. Tom Krell, the sole performer behind How to Dress Well, can be either gentle and ethereal or extremely emotional and intense. And the gap between those extremes isn't as huge as you might think. His style of experimental R&B only grows more incredible with each release, and new album What is This Heart? may be his best yet. BACKUP PLAN: Gloomsday, Some Kind of Lizard, Cardielles @ Tin Can Ale House.
Friday, Aug. 22
PLAN A: Benjamin Booker, Low Volts, Badabing @ Soda Bar. Click here for our feature story on New Orleans singer / songwriter Benjamin Booker, who packs a punk-rock wallop in his bluesy anthems. He recently wowed audiences at Lollapalooza and opening for Jack White, so it's safe to say this will be a hell of a Friday night. PLAN B: Midnight Rivals, Beyond the Wagon @ Whistle Stop Bar. Just about every band in San Diego has members of another band, and if you don't recognize the name Midnight Rivals, you'll recognize the names of bands their members have been in—namely Louis XIV and Rocket from the Crypt. That should tell you enough to know that they rock pretty hard. BACKUP PLAN: Amerikan Bear, Burning Palms, Electric Healing Sound, DJ Mike Turi @ Tower Bar.
Saturday, Aug. 23
PLAN A: Fucked Up, Tijuana Panthers, Ghetto Blaster, Subtropics @ The Casbah. Punk is probably healthier right now than it's been in a long time, and I'm willing to give most of the credit to Toronto hardcore sextet Fucked Up, whose roaring three-guitar assault and charismatic frontman, Damian Abraham, make every show feel like the greatest party you've ever been to. Don't lose your invitation. PLAN B: Whitey Morgan and the 78s, Ugly Boogie @ Soda Bar. Country music doesn't have to be made by rough-and-tumble outlaw types to be good, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Whitey Morgan just happens to be one of those types, and his twang-filled tunes go down best with a shot of Jack and a fist fight in a dive bar. BACKUP PLAN: Mega Crane, The Rotties, Age of Collapse @ Tower Bar.
Sunday, Aug. 24
PLAN A: Creepoid, Tennis System, Scuffs @ Tower Bar. With a name like Creepoid, you might already be expecting this band to be a group of sleazy weirdos, and that's really not all that far off. They're woozy and psychedelic and plenty disorienting. But they're surprisingly accessible despite the myriad layers of effects they stack up. BACKUP PLAN: Cardboard Truckers, The Sickstring Outlaws, Hot Mustard @ The Casbah.
Monday, Aug. 25
PLAN A: Jacuzzi Boys, Devon Williams @ The Casbah. There isn't much from Florida worth writing home about, but Miami's Jacuzzi Boys are an exception. The group's stylish and cool take on indie rock and power pop can occasionally rise up into a fiery punk jam, but their melodies are strong enough to never have to break a sweat. BACKUP PLAN: Broncho, Low Litas, Flaggs @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, Aug. 26
PLAN A: Corrosion of Conformity, Bl'ast, Brant Bjork, Lord Dying @ Brick by Brick. Corrosion of Conformity have been slinging Southern sludge metal for more than three decades. But where these North Carolinians differ from their fellow regional riffmongers is in their ability to craft some meaty hooks. It's catchy and it'll kick your ass. PLAN B: Leopold and His Fiction, The Nervous Wreckords @ The Casbah. I get the name Leopold and His Fiction confused with Atom and His Package, but this isn't fuzzy, '80s-tinged emo. Nope, it's just rock 'n' roll, with loud guitars and attitude to spare, the way it should be.