Wednesday, Aug. 27
PLAN A: Creedle, Montalban Quintet, Smoota @ The Casbah. Abrasive local indie rockers Creedle don't play shows very often. In fact, the last time they did, it was for The Casbah's 25th Anniversary seven months ago, and their last before that, I think, was in 2011. So, when I say you might not have the opportunity to see them again for a while, take the hint. Rock out while you have the opportunity. BACKUP PLAN: Batwings, Rancho Shampoo, Perros Cobardes, Vampire Slayer, Soft Cock @ Tin Can Ale House.
Thursday, Aug. 28
PLAN A: Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Witch Mountain, Hedersleben @ The Casbah. Prepare yourself for some explosive cosmic psychedelia, because Hawkwind is in town. After more than 40 years, the space-rock titans are still going strong (with their current lineup, anyhow). But make sure to get there early to catch melodic doom-metal group Witch Mountain, who pack a punch of their own. PLAN B: Men Without Hats, Betamaxx, DJ Steve West @ Belly Up Tavern. So, Men Without Hats are technically a two-hit wonder, since "Pop Goes the World" was also a hit. But it seems pretty safe to say that the new-wave icons will play "The Safety Dance," which is worth hearing live at least once, right? You can dance if you want to. BACKUP PLAN: Dropdead, Full of Hell, Noisem, Bumbklaat, Crime Desire @ The Che Café.
Friday, Aug. 29
PLAN A: Varsity Drag, French Exit, Vena Cava, Spokenest, Tom Grrrl, Dead Bars, Your Pest Band @ Soda Bar. This weekend marks the annual tradition of Awesome Fest, which brings together lots of catchy, fuzzy rock groups in a handful of venues, and this is one of the best showcases of the bunch, headlined by the tuneful distortion dealers in Varsity Drag. BACKUP PLAN: Bhorelorde, Weight of the Sun @ Tin Can Ale House.
Saturday, Aug. 30
PLAN A: Terry Malts, Winter Break, White Murder, The Bloodtypes, Model Talk, Peach Kelli Pop, Adder @ The Hideout. Click here for Ben Salmon's feature on Bay Area punks Terry Malts. They blend a quirky sense of melody with off-kilter, Devo-style energy, and they're headlining this Awesome Fest showcase, stacked with lots of other fun groups. PLAN B: The Rosebuds, El May @ The Casbah. The ex-spouses in The Rosebuds have a dramatic personal backstory, but the music they make together—catchy, occasionally danceable and with a touch of surf-rock guitar—is strong enough to transcend it. BACKUP PLAN: Javier Escovedo and the City Lights, Tomten, Saint Shameless @ Tin Can Ale House.
Sunday, Aug. 31
PLAN A: Drive Like Jehu, Dr. Carol Williams @ Spreckels Organ Pavilion. This is your Plan A for the week, month, year—you get the idea. It's been a little shy of 20 years since Drive Like Jehu last performed on stage together, and they're finally doing a show, and it's going to be bonkers. It's free, which is a good start, and it includes accompaniment with a huge-ass pipe organ. I have no idea what to expect, but the idea of hearing "Luau" with a monstrously large organ sounds like the best show ever. PLAN B: Dan Padilla, Slow Death, Madison Bloodbath, Stymie, Horror Squad, The Chill Dawgs, Beside Myself @ The Hideout. The Jehu show is early (7 p.m.), so that gives you time to catch more Awesome Fest awesomeness, like this lineup of ultra-fun punk bands.
Monday, Sept. 1
PLAN A: Burgers, Beers, Nap @ Your House. It's Labor Day, so you deserve a break. Staying in sounds nice, doesn't it? Maybe having some cold ones, grilling up some beef (or veggie patties, if that's your thing), and watching whatever marathon is on TV—my guess is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. PLAN B: Whirr, Sad Actor, Northern Tigers, Witness 9 @ Soda Bar. If you do decide to head out after sleeping in, day-drinking and barbecuing, then make Whirr your top priority. The Bay Area shoegazers are loud, yet graceful, and back their noisy pop music with an elegant streak.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
PLAN A: Hills Like Elephants, Ed Ghost Tucker, Amerikan Bear, DJ Man-Cat @ Soda Bar. Support your local indie-pop bands! The good ones, anyway—and here are three of them, at an affordable $5 show. If you break a $20, that leaves you with 60 quarters with which to play Soda Bar's Battletoads arcade game between sets. BACKUP PLAN: Nicky Venus, Island Boy, Bakkuda @ The Merrow.