Wednesday, Dec. 14
PLAN A: Dancing Strangers, Legs, Dani Shivers, DJ Miss Lady D @ Tin Can Ale House. When it comes to forward-thinking indie music, Tijuana's been giving San Diego a run for its money. While Dancing Strangers make stark dance pop a la Joy Division and The Cure, the mysterious pop songstress Dani Shivers uses a vintage Casio keyboard to put on a mesmerizing live show. PLAN B: Seven, Hogwash, Corey Biggs, Osal8, Austin Speed, Bubblegum Sci Fi @ El Dorado. Hailing from London, the birthplace of dubstep, bass-music producer and DJ Seven crosses clouds of synths with skittering beats and beefy bass lines to make tunes that are at once propulsive and dreamy. BACK- UP PLAN: Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Nayer @ Valley View Casino Center.
Thursday, Dec. 15
PLAN A: Joshua White Trio @ 98 Bottles. If you haven't checked out Joshua White yet, you've been missing out. As we reported in last week's issue, the 26-year-old jazz pianist has gained a reputation for bridging disparate jazz styles and reinventing musty old standards in his stirring live performances. PLAN B: Neat Beats, Kurly Burrito, Mac Digi, Room E @ Kava Lounge. Inspired by the likes of Flying Lotus and J Dilla, Neat Beats mastermind Alvin Fenner gathers up all sorts of samples, chops them into tiny little pieces and repurposes them as infectious, emotionally poignant instrumental hip-hop. BACKUP PLAN: The White Buffalo, River City, April Ventura and The Magnolias @ The Casbah.
Friday, Dec. 16
PLAN A: Mr. Tube & The Flying Objects, Rafter, Smile Now Cry Later, DJ Claire @ The Casbah. The online bio for Mr. Tube & The Flying Objects tells the story of Freddie Dillinger, a 1950s-era stuntman who breaks his funny bone, invents the bendy straw and adopts the name Mr. Tube. In reality, this is a side project featuring members of The Black Heart Procession and other local bands, but the oblique tale accurately reflects the band's quirky, horn-laden indie-funk. PLAN B: Oakhurst, Rusty Junk Ramblers @ Winstons. Urban hillbillies with an egalitarian attitude, Denver's Oakhurst play hardened bluegrass at a breakneck pace, often adding live drums for muscle. BACKUP PLAN: Cuckoo Chaos, Jamuel Saxon, Tourism @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Dec. 17
PLAN A: Beach Fossils, Ibi Ego, Tropical Popsicle, Jablonsky, Inkjet @ Moustache Bar (Tijuana). Even if you can't stand Beach Fossils' blithely youthful indie-pop, this show is well worth the trip down south. Tijuana's Ibi Ego—which counts Dani Shivers (see Wednesday) as a member—draw up layers of glimmering synths over deep beats, cooing vocals and folksy flute sounds. San Diego up-andcomers Tropical Popsicle, meanwhile, deliver gloomy post-punk with a mystical vibe. (Get tickets via Turista Libre.) PLAN B: Deadbolt, Manual Scan, The Amandas @ The Casbah. Back in the '80s, music writer Bart Mendoza was the frontman of local power-pop stars Manual Scan. He doesn't dress like a mod anymore, but he can still play a good guitar hook, as is clear when the band gets back together every so often. BACKUP PLAN: Chris cornell @ Balboa Theatre.
Sunday, Dec. 18
PLAN A: D.R.I., Tim Raldo & The Filthy Fuks, Systematic Abuse, Holy Tyrant @ The Ruby Room. With their political lyrics and air-raid riffs, metal-punk pioneers D.R.I. have influenced countless bands during their 29-year run. They haven't released a full-length since 1995's Full Speed Ahead, but these Dirty Rotten Imbeciles still know how to stir up a vicious circle pit. PLAN B: The D.A., Tapioca and The Flea, Privet, Strange Birds @ Tin Can Ale House. Tapioca and The Flea's dance-floor-friendly indiepop is as sincere as it is goofy, full of jaunty melodies, upbeat grooves and chopped-up samples. BACKUP PLAN: The Spring Standards, Mayfield, The County Fair, Midnight Parade @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Dec. 19
PLAN A: Pinback, Ghetto Blaster @ Belly Up. Needless to say, everybody's going to this show because they want to see Pinback boys Rob Crow and Zach Smith do their thing. But don't miss openers Ghetto Blaster: The local trio's experimental hard rock is brutally loud and delightfully spastic. BACKUP PLAN: Dead Animal Mod, Former Friends of Young Americans, Orgasmatron @ Tin Can Ale House.
Tuesday, Dec. 20
PLAN A: John Craigie, Midnight Parade, Universal Trap @ Tin Can Ale House. A quintessential folk musician, John Craigie strums an acoustic guitar and tells witty stories onstage, just like folkies have done for generations. What sets him apart from the rest is his goofy sense of humor and deep, resonant voice.