Wednesday, Feb. 11
PLAN A: Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Midnight Pine @ Soda Bar. Jessica Lea Mayfield's music walks a fine line between emotionally fragile and totally badass. She rocks hard, and her songs feature some great guitar work. But you get the impression that these songs would work pretty well as ballads, too, which seems to me like the sign of a great songwriter. PLAN B: Brownout presents Brown Sabbath, The Earful @ Belly Up Tavern. There are a few Black Sabbath tribute bands hitting San Diego this month, and this week it's Brownout— as Brown Sabbath—who take Sabbath's catalog of metal classics and sprinkle it with a dose of Latin funk. It's kind of amazing. BACKUP PLAN: Lily and Madeleine, PAPA @ The Loft.
Thursday, Feb. 12
A: Pharmakon, Die Mißbildungen Des Menschen, Ev of Isis, Identity @ The Hideout. If you didn't have a chance to check out my feature on Pharmakon in last week's issue, then give that a read to learn about the weird, traumatic experiences that go into this artist's abrasive industrial sounds. She's an intense live performer, so you won't want to miss the chaos firsthand. PLAN B: Barbarian, Fever the Ghost, Idyll Wild, Mystery Cave @ The Casbah. I included Barbarian's new album, Night Blooms, on my list of favorite local albums from 2014, but they waited until now to do a proper release show. They've got some other great local acts, like Idyll Wild and Mystery Cave, joining them, so it should be a good show all around. BACKUP PLAN: Juicy J @ Observatory North Park.
Friday, Feb. 13
PLAN A: iD the Poet @ JT's Pub & Grill. Local MC iD the Poet just released Work Epic p.1, the first of a series of cassette-EP releases this year, and what I've heard of it sounds pretty damn good. Check him out live and pick up the tape in person, if there are any left. PLAN B: James Iha (DJ set), Glasmus, Flaggs, Bidi Cobra @ The Hideout. You might not realize this, but there actually were members of Smashing Pumpkins other than Billy Corgan. Shocker, I know. Former Pumpkins guitarist James Iha is doing a special DJ set on this Valentine's Day eve, with a handful of other solid local groups rounding out the bill. BACKUP PLAN: Weight of the Sun, Born to Rise, Bad and the Ugly @ Brick by Brick.
Saturday, Feb. 14
PLAN A: Trash Talk, Ratking, Lee Bannon @ Epicentre. The Epicentre can sometimes be an awkward place to see a show, but a diverse lineup featuring hardcore badasses Trash Talk, abstract hip-hop group Ratking and drum 'n' bass producer Lee Bannon is worth making the trip to Mira Mesa. PLAN B: The Dodos, Springtime Carnivore @ The Casbah. The Dodos are one of the few bands that can make an impressively full sound despite being a duo, and they've been keeping it up for nearly a decade. They just dropped their new album, Individ, so give that a listen and hear what this duo can really do. BACKUP PLAN: Ditches, Buddy Banter @ Helmuth Projects.
Sunday, Feb. 15
PLAN A: Enabler, Call of the Void, Griever, Debt Ritual @ The Tower Bar. There are hardcore shows, and then there are jawdropping blowouts like this one. Enabler— who once featured a member of Fall Out Boy (no joke!)—make crusty, melodic hardcore that puts most others to shame, and they just happen to be joined by a similarly raucous act in Call of the Void. Add local heavyweights Griever and you have yourself one badass evening. PLAN B: Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake, Creepxotica, Secret Samurai, Alvino and the Dwells @ The Casbah. I don't know how John Reis does it. This year, he's playing shows with Rocket from the Crypt, the newly reunited Drive Like Jehu and his new surf-rock band, Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake. If it's groovy, '60s-style surf licks you seek, Reis is ready to take you to the beach.
Monday, Feb. 16
PLAN A: Slutever, Lisa Prank @ The Hideout. First of all, Slutever and Lisa Prank are two of my favorite new band names. And Slutever also happens to have the benefit of some great, fuzzy punk tunes, which come loaded with hooks. They're sure to be fun live.
Tuesday, Feb. 17
PLAN A: The Major Minus, Cult Vegas, The Verigolds @ Soda Bar. The Major Minus, like quite a few San Diego bands, play melodic indie rock that won't harsh your mellow on a Tuesday. But they also add in some funk and electronic elements to flesh out that sound a little more, making for a unique but highly accessible style.