Wednesday, Feb. 18
PLAN A: Figs Vision, Forebear, Digital Lizards of Doom, End of Summer @ Soda Bar. Figs Vision are a duo from Los Angeles who play smooth, synth-driven pop music in the vein of Hall & Oates, with just a touch of contemporary groups like MGMT. It's funky, a little nerdy and most definitely catchy. PLAN B: Jean-Charles Francois Trio @ Bread and Salt. The Fresh Sound series continues with a performance by Jean-Charles Francois Trio, featuring Francois on percussion, Pascal Pariaud on clarinet and Gilles Laval on guitar. I'll be honest—I'm not totally sure what to expect, but the combined talent is worth the surprise.
Thursday, Feb. 19
PLAN A: The Pharcyde @ Observatory North Park. This one seems like a no-brainer to me. Legendary Los Angeles hip-hop group The Pharcyde are performing their 1992 album Bizarre Ride II in its entirety. They'd be worth seeing for "Passin' Me By" alone, but this time you get the whole album, and the show is only $5. Get on that! PLAN B: Scott H. Biram, Jesse Dayton, Ypsitucky @ The Casbah. Scott H. Biram visits San Diego often, but his ragged, outlaw-country sound is always worth revisiting. So why not welcome him back with open arms and bottles.
Friday, Feb. 20
PLAN A: Capsula, The Love Me Nots, Wild Honey, Nebula Drag @ Brick by Brick. I first saw Argentinian psych-rock group Capsula in 2013, opening for Os Mutantes, and I was impressed to say the least. Like a Latin American Tame Impala, the group blends fuzz with mind-bending effects. Great stuff. BACKUP PLAN: Louis the Child, Colour Vision, Latin Lovers and DJ Leggs McGee @ The Hideout.
Saturday, Feb. 21
PLAN A: Lucinda Williams, The Kenneth Brian Band @ Observatory North Park. Click here for Scott McDonald's story on Lucinda Williams, who's as productive and inspired as ever as she closes out her fourth decade as a musician. Her career started slowly, but 36 years after her debut album, she's a living legend. PLAN B: Mac Sabbath, Black Fag @ The Hideout. Get ready to see the most ridiculous, and therefore most amazing, cover band you've ever seen. Mac Sabbath is a Black Sabbath cover band, naturally, but they do it dressed like McDonald's characters—Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, The Hamburglar and Grimace. If you read this and don't automatically want to see this insanity, then I just can't help you. PLAN C: "Slow Death" with Michael Zimmerman, Monochromacy, Low Filth, Serious Runners @ Space 4 Art. I don't normally do a Plan C, but this weekend warrants it. Stay Strange is putting on a noise-music festival, and you better believe it's going to be worth checking out. A variety of local experimentalists will be performing, in addition to a visual-art installation and onsite tarot-card readings. Let's get weird, San Diego.
Sunday, Feb. 22
PLAN A: Zap Mama and Antibalas @ Belly Up Tavern. Belgian vocalist Zap Mama and American Afrobeat group Antibalas are collaborating live in this special show. It's a celebration of African music, filtered through each act's unique lens, and it's sure to be funky, soulful and amazing. PLAN B: The Mary Onettes, Aempire, Sundrop Electric @ Soda Bar. Sweden's The Mary Onettes are part of the Labrador Records family, which has been putting out fantastic indie pop for almost 20 years. This band is one of their strongest, thanks to their elegant, shoegazing post-punk sound.
Monday, Feb. 23
PLAN A: Body Language, Sego @ The Casbah. On Facebook, Body Language lists its genre as "SEX." That's a bold statement, but there's certainly something sexy about the group's synth-heavy, R&B-inspired pop. If you're big on beats, grooves and, possibly, sex, then don't miss this one. PLAN B: Sales, Island Boy, Angels Dust @ Soda Bar. I tend to think there's not much worth writing about when it comes to Florida, but Orlando's Sales are an exception. They make pretty, gentle, acoustic dream pop that provides a soothing salve for that Monday hangover.
Tuesday, Feb. 24
PLAN A: Cold Blue Mountain, Bhorelorde, Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Debt Ritual @ Soda Bar. Cold Blue Mountain sounds like the name of a bluegrass band, but it's actually a pretty gnarly sludge / doom-metal band from Chico, California. They play epic, incredibly heavy metal that absolutely destroys. BACKUP PLAN: Causers, Sick Balloons, Furr Portal @ Tower Bar.