Wednesday, May 13
PLAN A: Wayne the Train Hancock, Action Andy and the Hi-Tones, Fanny and the Attaboys @ The Casbah. Wayne Hancock does classic honky-tonk and Western swing you rarely hear outside of Nashville anymore. This is country like your grandpappy used to listen to—rowdy, simple and real. BACKUP PLAN: Amerikan Bear, Ocelot, Barbarian @ Belly Up Tavern.
Thursday, May 14
PLAN A: Fat White Family, L.A. Drugz, The Bassics @ The Casbah. Britain's Fat White Family have made a name for themselves playing explosive live shows of intense, primal post-punk, inspired by Nick Cave and Captain Beefheart. They've also earned a reputation for being, shall we say, fragrant? Nose plugs might be in order, but don't let that steer you away from a good show. PLAN B: iLoveMakonnen, Key! @ House of Blues. Club goin' up—on a Thursday! Atlanta rapper iLoveMakonnen made his mark last year with the single "Club Goin' Up on a Tuesday" (a Drake feature didn't hurt things either), and he's a fascinating, eccentric performer. He's an interesting new face and sound in hip-hop. BACKUP PLAN: Ava Luna, Media Jeweler, Longclaws, Holling @ Soda Bar.
Friday, May 15
PLAN A: The Waterboys @ Humphreys by the Bay. The Waterboys were one of the great bands of the 1980s, whose sound was often referred to by the name of one of their early singles: "Big Music." It's heroic and anthemic, often with lush arrangements and Celtic elements. Bring your lighter for "The Whole of the Moon." PLAN B: MDC, Deathwish, Systematic Abuse, Death Eyes, Sculpins @ Til-Two Club. It's never a bad idea to scare up some room for at least one gnarly hardcore show during the week, and this is one of your best bets as far as that goes. Make sure to show up a little early to see the blistering Death Eyes. BACKUP PLAN: Two Gallants, Blank Range @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, May 16
PLAN A: Ex Hex, The Shivas, Die Mi?bildungen Des Menschen @ The Casbah. Read my feature this week on Washington, D.C. trio Ex Hex, fronted by Mary Timony, formerly of Helium. They play power-pop and punk with a reverence for hooks and big melodies. Warning: You'll have their songs in your head all week. PLAN B: Wolf Alice, Gateway Drugs @ Soda Bar. Wolf Alice has a dreamy, ethereal sound, which I tend to be a sucker for when done right. They balance '90s-era shoegaze with some darker post-punk textures, and that's never not a good idea, as far as I'm concerned.
Sunday, May 17
PLAN A: Nothing, Cloakroom, Witness 9 @ The Hideout. These Philadelphia shoegazers have been to San Diego a few times, and they've certainly got the volume and density of sound to fill venues bigger than what they're currently playing. That just means the experience will be more intense, which is one always worth savoring. PLAN B: Hutch and Kathy, S, Allie Goertz @ Soda Bar. If you're a fan of indie rock trio The Thermals, then you'll want to catch Hutch and Kathy, which is two-thirds of that band. You'll get the same great tunes, with just a little less volume.
Monday, May 18
PLAN A: San Fermin, Natalie Prass @ The Casbah. I can vouch for San Fermin's ornate chamber pop songwriting, but that's not why I'm recommending this show. The reason you need to be here is for Natalie Prass, whose beautiful, melodic debut album showcases her as one of the best talents of 2015. She won't be playing venues this intimate for long. PLAN B: Acid Mothers Temple, ST 37 @ Soda Bar. Japan's Acid Mothers Temple have been making reliably far-out psych-rock for a long time, and if your Monday just isn't weird enough, here's the solution. BACKUP PLAN: Microwave, Brian Warren, Traffic Bear @ The Hideout.
Tuesday, May 19
PLAN A: Speedy Ortiz, Alex G, Kooties @ Soda Bar. Speedy Ortizís Foil Deer is one of my favorite records of the year, featuring a cool, darker spin on their abrasive indie rock sound. I've also seen them twice and don't plan to miss them on their third visit here in a row. Nor should you—they just might be your new favorite band. BACKUP PLAN: Anciients, The Atlas Moth @ Brick by Brick.