Wednesday, Sept. 10
PLAN A: Hot Snakes, Ghetto Blaster, Big Bad Buffalo @ The Irenic. I don't know about you, but I don't think the high has faded quite yet from Drive Like Jehu's show in Balboa Park during Labor Day weekend. It's unlikely we'll ever see something like that again, but Rick Froberg and John Reis are also members of Hot Snakes, who provide a comparably ass-kicking experience. Their garage punk might be just what you need to make it to the weekend. PLAN B: Blockhead, Elaquent, Yppah, Mystery Cave @ Soda Bar. Blockhead is responsible for some of underground hip-hop's best beats, whether with Aesop Rock or on his own. Come groove to his loops and boom-bap in person and hear it for yourself. BACKUP PLAN: Mike Watt—Il Sogno del Marinaio, Shady Francos, Noel Jordan @ The Casbah.
Thursday, Sept. 11
PLAN A: Accept, Metal Church @ Belly Up Tavern. Now that Brick by Brick is back up and running, it's been the go-to place for metal shows. But the Belly Up claimed this one a while ago—two classic metal bands that made a splash in the 1980s, before an explosion of subgenres complicated everything. Just riffs and hooks here, like the good ol' days.
Friday, Sept. 12
PLAN A: Liars, Destruction Unit, Some Ember @ North Park Theatre. If you missed my cover story on Liars last week, go back and study up on the L.A. art rockers before watching their eclectic, menacing freak-out as San Diego Music Thing's headliners. It should be epic. And weird—very, very weird. PLAN B: Earth, King Dude, Author & Punisher, Soft Lions @ The Hideout. Earth was the original name for Black Sabbath, but it took Seattle's Dylan Carlson to create something that sounds like it's the size of a planet. His droning, spacious doom has evolved over time, but one thing it's never stopped being is massive. BACKUP PLAN: Dengue Fever, Barcelona, The Moth and The Flame, Dr. Seahorse @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Sept. 13
PLAN A: La Santa Cecilia, Swamp Dogg, Okapi Sun, Nicky Venus, We Are Sirens @ The Casbah. La Santa Cecilia play an intriguing blend of Latin styles, including cumbia and bossa nova, but I'm really recommending this show for Swamp Dogg. He's an O.G. R&B singer who's been in the game for more than 40 years, and his eccentric soul sound will make this a highlight of the San Diego Music Thing. PLAN B: Retox, Cherry Glazerr, The Frights, GRMLN @ The Irenic. I've recommended plenty of Retox shows in the past, and I'm not about to stop anytime soon. The local hardcore group has released a handful of bruising albums, and they put on an intense show that's also pretty bruising, come to think of it. BACKUP PLAN: Cults, Meg Myers, The Griswolds @ SDMT 91X Stage.
Sunday, Sept. 14
PLAN A: Owen Pallett, Avi Buffalo, Foxes in Fiction @ The Casbah. Owen Pallett is not just a charismatic performer and an amazing songwriter—he's actually quite adept at making the most of a limited setup. I once saw him create an entire full-band sound out of loops created from bowing, plucking and tapping on his violin. Now that's talent. PLAN B: The Major Minus, Cult Vegas, Bad and the Ugly @ Soda Bar. The Major Minus share their name with a Coldplay song, which is unfortunate. But their power-pop sound is catchy and refreshing enough that I think we can all ignore that.
Monday, Sept. 15
PLAN A: Chuck Ragan, Rusty Maples @ The Casbah. I've never been that big of a fan of Hot Water Music, the Gainesville, Florida, punk band that Chuck Ragan fronts. However, as a solo artist, Ragan has a rootsy, Springsteen-inspired sound that I'm most definitely on board with. His latest album, Till Midnight, is full of great rock 'n' roll songs with rich arrangements and plenty of punk-rock spirit leftover. PLAN B: Desert Suns, Loom, Space Shag @ Soda Bar. Desert Suns are a lot of things: heavy, psychedelic, dense and powerful. You can also add fun to that, since their riff-heavy rock 'n' roll is more about hooks and songwriting than just being loud for its own sake. Just because it's Monday doesn't mean you can't thrash.
Tuesday, Sept. 16
PLAN A: Sebadoh, Octagrape @ The Casbah. Click here for Peter Holslin's feature on long-running indie-rock trio Sebadoh, who've graduated from their lo-fi roots into a group of grown-ass men who just happen to rock as hard as they did when they were fresh out of college.