Thursday, February 11
PLAN A: The Donkeys, The Palace Ballroom, Oh Spirit @ Soda Bar. The Donkeys are preparing to release a new mini-album on Friday, so this is essentially their record release show. They've been delivering tuneful, lightly psychedelic indie rock for quite a few years, so it's no wonder they've made some waves nationally. BACKUP PLAN: The New Kinetics, The Slashes, Gloomsday, DJ Mike Delgado @ The Casbah.
Friday, February 12
PLAN A: Thee Oh Sees, POW! @ Belly Up Tavern. Thee Oh Sees' performance at SXSW a few years ago was one of the most nuts things I've ever seen—the stage was literally swaying. They put on a loud, fiery rock 'n' roll show, and you'd be making a mistake to miss out on that. PLAN B: Mrs. Magician, Dead Heavens, Jimmy Ruelas @ Soda Bar. Dead Heavens, not to be confused with Deafheaven, is the new band featuring former Quicksand frontman Walter Schreifels, and just like everything else he's done, it's great. Less punk, more rock 'n' roll, and a whole lot of fun.
Saturday, February 13
PLAN A: Meat Wave, Teen Death, Takahashi @ Soda Bar. Read my feature this week on Chicago's Meat Wave, a trio with a dynamic punk rock sound that sounds a little like local heroes Hot Snakes. They're one of my favorite new bands, and they'll be one of yours, too. PLAN B: Drag The River, John Meeks, Ypsitucky @ The Casbah. I had a bunch of friends in college that were super into Drag the River, and it's easy to see why. They're a heartfelt, alt-country outfit with some punk cred, and it's grown-folks music with a lot of grit and soul. BACKUP PLAN: Giant Surprise, Fictitious Dishes, Blood Ponies @ Tower Bar. (Full disclosure: Blood Ponies is my band, but don't let that get in the way of supporting two other great local bands.)
Sunday, February 14
PLAN A: Pusha T, DJ E Rock @ Parq. When hip-hop artists drop into downtown clubs, they typically do shorter sets, but a half-hour is all Pusha T needs to knock out all of his excellent new mixtape, Darkest Before Dawn. PLAN B: Built to Spill, The Hand, Iceberg Ferg @ The Casbah. Alternately, you can take your sweetheart to see indie rock guitar heroes Built to Spill, who are now approaching classic rock status. Bring your lighters. BACKUP PLAN: Nylon Apartments, Hexa, All Your Sisters, DJs Mario Orduno, Jon Blaj @ Whistle Stop.
Monday, February 15
PLAN A: Built to Spill, The Hand, Iceberg Ferg @ The Casbah. Or, you could wait until Monday to see Built to Spill, because they're playing twice. That could very well mean two entirely different set lists, so you could also consider going both nights. And if I know Built to Spill fans, you're probably already planning on doing that.
Tuesday, February 16
PLAN A: The Growlers, Jonathan Richman @ Observatory North Park. The Growlers are pretty good, but it's Jonathan Richman that gets this show to Plan A. Richman fronted The Modern Lovers in the '70s, and since then he's been releasing great rock records with classic, melodic songwriting. The man's a legend. BACKUP PLAN: Emily Wells, Lorna Dune, DJ Keith Sweaty @ The Casbah.