Wednesday, May 4
PLAN A: Kool Keith, Boon League, DJ Artistic @ The Casbah. Kool Keith is a hip-hop legend. He made a name for himself in the '80s with Ultramagnetic MCs before later adopting the Dr. Octagon persona in the '90s. He's taken on a wide variety of styles, each one a showcase for his amazing lyrical skills. PLAN B: Explosions in the Sky, Disappears @ Observatory North Park. If you missed Explosions in the Sky on Tuesday, you get a second chance to be overwhelmed by climactic instrumentals and emotional crescendoes. BACKUP PLAN: Blockhead, Eliot Lipp, Travelers Club @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, May 5
PLAN A: Mariachi El Bronx, Honus Honus, Pounded by the Surf @ Belly Up Tavern. Mariachi El Bronx have a standing Cinco de Mayo show in San Diego, so far be it from me to argue against tradition. Join in the revelry with these mariachi punks. PLAN B: Cumbia Machin, Marujah, Death By Snoo Snoo @ The Merrow. Or, for a smaller scale but no less fun option, check out local electro-cumbia artist Cumbia Machin, who turns every venue into a dance party. BACKUP PLAN: Givers, Anna Wise @ The Casbah.
Friday, May 6
PLAN A: Beach Slang, Potty Mouth, Dyke Drama, California @ The Casbah. There's really only one logical choice for Friday night. Beach Slang make noisy, yet catchy rock songs about feeling young and living life to the fullest and all that stuff, so follow their lead and participate in the good times.
Saturday, May 7
PLAN A: So Hideous, Bosse-de-Nage, Griever, Empty Gods @ The Merrow. All of the best shows tonight are metal shows, so strap in for something intense. The best bet is to check out Bosse-de-Nage, a Bay Area outfit that combines black metal with the complex dynamics of post-hardcore and dark, poetic lyrics. Their album All Fours was one of the best of 2015. Don't miss 'em. PLAN B: Torche, Wild Throne, Dhatura @ The Hideout. The next best bet is Torche, who are sludgy and spectacular. They rip through their songs quickly and powerfully, almost like a metal version of the Ramones. They're all kinds of fun. BACKUP PLAN: Dropdead, Magrudergrind, Yautja, Thanatology @ Brick by Brick.
Sunday, May 8
PLAN A: Four Tet, Andy Stott, Ben UFO @ Music Box. Four Tet and Andy Stott are two of the most consistently innovative artists in electronic music today, and if they're both going to be in the same place, then I wouldn't miss it. Dark, spacey beats for all. PLAN B: The Residents present Shadowland @ Belly Up Tavern. The Residents are one of the weirdest bands in rock history, and they're bringing their new surrealist rock opera to our neck of the woods. It'll be a hell of a trip, no chemicals required. BACKUP PLAN: X, Los Lobos, The Blasters, LP3 & The Tragedy @ Observatory North Park.
Monday, May 9
PLAN A: Daniel Martin Moore, Spurs @ Soda Bar. After all the big beats, metal beatdowns and Cinco de Mayo hangovers, maybe it's time for something a little more low-key. Daniel Martin Moore is a singer/songwriter from Kentucky, and he's got just the sweet sounds you're looking for.
Tuesday, May 10
PLAN A: Burning Ghosts, HM3, Nathan Hubbard/Passengers @ The Merrow. Burning Ghosts are an "expressionist metal jazz" band from Los Angeles, which is worth the price of admission alone, but they'll be joined by local percussionist and innovator Nathan Hubbard with his ensemble, Passengers, which only sweetens the deal. BACKUP PLAN: Layne, Bakkuda @ Soda Bar.