Wednesday, Sept. 17
PLAN A: The Tree Ring, My Name is You @ The Irenic. The Tree Ring are calling this their last show ever. That sounds fairly dramatic—and Joel P West told me a few weeks ago that they might do some informal shows in the future—but if you ever want to hear the group's lush chamber-folk in a theater setting again, this might be your last chance. Donít miss out. Click here for a review of their final record.
Thursday, Sept. 18
PLAN A: The Buzzcocks, The Executives, Images @ Belly Up Tavern. I've always preferred The Buzzcocks to The Sex Pistols. That might sound like heresy to some, but Pete Shelley and Co. have a pretty strong track record of unstoppable punk-rock singles. And while they're not the young, rebellious punks they once were, that doesn't mean that "Ever Fallen in Love" or "What Do I Get?" don't absolutely kill. PLAN B: RedRumsey, Teach Me Equals, Nothingful, Nada Bing @ Til-Two Club. Two-thirds of post-hardcore legends Unwound were in San Diego earlier this year when Survival Knife and Hungry Ghost played Soda Bar. And now the final third—bassist Vern Rumsey—will swing through with new band RedRumsey. It's a bit mellower, but the same abrasive melody is still there. This'll be a good one. BACKUP PLAN: Andrew Bird and the Hands of Glory, Tift Merritt @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.
Friday, Sept. 19
PLAN A: The Avengers, Hector Penalosa, The Touchies, Records with Roger @ The Casbah. No, it's not the Marvel superhero tea—The Avengers are a San Francisco punk band that began playing way back in the late '70s. Their songs rip, and frontwoman Penelope Houston is a total badass. If you're not tapped out on punk legends—and of course you're not—then secure your place in the pit. PLAN B: L.A. Witch, Burning Palms, Shady Francos @ The Hideout. I'm a sucker for a song that's just smothered in darkness, and after hearing L.A. Witch's aptly named "Heart of Darkness," I think I've found a new band to watch. The song mixes old-school country-folk with ghostly backing vocals and a haunting whir of organ into something that inspires a good fright, without sacrificing hooks. Nicely done.
Saturday, Sept. 20
PLAN A: Dawn of MIDI, Swarmius, Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed, many others @ Carlsbad Music Festival. This weekend is the Carlsbad Music Festival, which brings together a wide array of experimental musicians. Many of them are doing free performances along Village Walk, but make sure to stick around for a headlining performance from Dawn of MIDI at Carlsbad Village Theater. PLAN B: "A Benefit for Chuy" w/ Prayers, Emerald Rats, Mirage @ The Hideout. This benefit show tugged at my heartstrings a little. Chuy is a 1-year-old cat who's recently become very sick, and to help raise funds for the medical expenses, some great local bands are putting on a show. It'd be worth seeing anyway, but if you need the extra motivation—do it for Chuy! BACKUP PLAN: Sole and DJ Pain 1, Ceschi, Hellnote, iD the Poet @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Sept. 21
PLAN A: Total Slacker, Paws, Flashlights, Air Surgeon @ The Casbah. Total Slacker call themselves "slimegaze," but that doesn't really tell us much of anything. So, let me translate: distorted guitars, lots of reverb, vocal harmonies, alt-rock hooks and lo-fi production. In short, they've got all the makings of a great indie-rock band.
Monday, Sept. 22
PLAN A: The Bots, Badabing, The Pheasants @ The Casbah. Definitely show up early for local fuzz-rockers Badabing and The Pheasants, but the real draw here has to be The Bots. The L.A. teen-sibling twosome always draws comparisons to early White Stripes and Death and have made fans out of Blur, Refused and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Tuesday, Sept. 23
PLAN A: Zammuto, Luke Wyland @ The Casbah. Zammuto is a band fronted by Nick Zammuto, a former member of the acoustic / electronic duo The Books, and if you liked that group, you'll dig what he's up to now. However, it's even more progressive and rhythmic than The Books. Hell, it's almost pop. This is music that grooves you and challenges you at the same time. PLAN B: Zeahorse, Sick Balloons, Space Heat @ Soda Bar. It's an interesting coincidence that your other best option for Tuesday is another band whose name begins with Z. This Australian group uses noisy, tweaked guitar effects and a keen ear for melody for an unconventional but highly accessible sound.