(For websites listed below, MS=www.myspace.com. These are bands we especially dig, not full listings. For those, please see "Concerts and Clubs" on Page 36)
PLAN A: Julieta Venegas @ House of Blues. Latin Grammy winner Venegas is the real deal--a Latin rock/pop star who grew up in Tijuana. Her commercial breakthrough in 2003 with the album SÃ (No. 4 on Billboard's Latin charts) sounded even better knowing she writes her own songs and plays about as many instruments as Prince. www.julietavenegas.net. PLAN B: Sparklehorse, Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter @ The Belly Up. North Carolina's Sparklehorse is a fantastic spook-folk act that's hit or miss live. Sykes is a gifted singer-songwriter with Cat Power's husky hush and Calexico's mild pep. www.sparklehorse.com, www.jessesykes.com. PLAN C: Only Crime @ Zombie Lounge. Great punk/hardcore show--tiny venue and a band that features vocalist Russ Rankin (Good Riddance), drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents) and guitarist Aaron Dalbec (Bane, Converge). MS/onlycrime. BACKUP PLAN: The Burning of Rome, Fkenal @ San Diego Sports Club (MS/theburningofrome, MS/fkenal).
PLAN A: Los Lobos @ Mandeville Auditorium. The minor gods of L.A.'s Latin-rock scene unplug for the "Acoustic En Vivo Tour," playing their classics plus a handful of traditional folklorico tunes from all over Latin America. www.loslobos.org. PLAN B: Poncho Sanchez @ The Belly Up. The bearded jollyman of Latin jazz seems wholly incapable of releasing a bad album or disappointing live. www.ponchosanchez.com. PLAN C: El Paso Hot Button @ Scolari's Office. A one-man spectacle--he'll be seated at a drum kit, guitar in hands, theremin nearby, like Jack White impersonating Bob Log III. MS/ephb. BACKUP PLANS: The Mentors @ Jumping Turtle (MS/thementors). Fifty On Their Heels @ The Beauty Bar (MS/fiftyontheirheels).
PLAN A: Grand Ole Party, The Vultures, The Muslims @ The Tower Bar. Best all-local bill this week. Grand Ole Party is the seductively shrill, bombastic blues-punk trio who're recording their debut with Blake Sennett of Rilo Kiley. The Vultures are the distorted yet catchy glam project of Charles Rowland (ex-The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower). Though having played only about three shows, The Muslims have local hounds breathlessly heralding their "next!-ness"--a mix of Lou Reed's sinister mumble-cool and jaunty punk. MS/grandoleparty, MS/officialvultures, MS/themuslims. PLAN B: Diablo Dimes @ The Beauty Bar. Diablo is very quickly becoming San Diego's main roadhouse attraction--a country-blues barker with saloon style and Tin Pan Alley chops. MS/diablodimes. PLAN C: Tom Brosseau @ North Park Vaudeville & Candy Shoppe. Brosseau's a former San Diego artist with a beautiful, plaintive whine of a voice with folk tunes dug from a 1930s time capsule. www.tombrosseau.com. BACKUP PLANS: Lexicon, MC Flow, Addiquit @ San Diego Sports Club (MS/lexicon, MS/mcflow, MS/addiquitmusic). Superunloader, Radio Memphis @ O'Connells (www.superunloader.com, MS/radiomemphis). Batallion of Saints, Duane Peters' Gunfight @ The Casbah (MS/battalionofsaints, MS/duanepetersgunfight).
PLAN A: Drag the River, Tim Barry @ The Casbah. For Drag the River, please see the story on Page 31. Tim Barry is the frontman for Virginia punk band Avail. Solo, he's a boots 'n' beer six-string politico who--with a voice ravaged by late nights and long van rides--rawly barks niceties like " I hate Republicans/ I hate Democrats/ I hate liberals, too. " www.dragtheriver.com, MS/timbarryva. PLAN B: The Softlightes @ The Beauty Bar. It's the release party for Say No to Being Cool, Say Yes to Being Happy , the San Diego band's debut on rising label Modular Records. Perfect for fans of lovely, castrated-male pop music (Elliott Smith, Nada Surf). MS/thesoftlightes.
PLAN A: Rafter, Castanets, Bedroom Walls @ The Casbah. Rafter is San Diego's zillion-piece, gringo-beat funk band. Castanets are based around the deadly good, skeletal country songs of ex-San Diegan Raymond Raposa. Bedroom Walls is a five-piece indie-pop outfit fronted by L.A.'s Adam Goldman, whose day job (alert: totally unrelated, tabloidish fact!) is scoring music for pornos. MS/rafterroberts, MS/castanets, MS/bedroomwalls. PLAN B: The Donnis Trio @ The Belly Up. Definitely for Jack Johnson fans, San Diego's Donnis is like a gruffer, less Zen version. MS/donnistrio. PLAN C: Corpse Show Creeps, The Strikers @ Zombie Lounge. The Creeps are one of Minneapolis' best psychobilly bands--Halloween meets rockabilly meets Billy Idol. The Strikers are a good San Diego rockabilly-metal combo. MS/corpseshowcreeps, MS/thestrikers.
PLAN A: The Roots, Lupe Fiasco @ House of Blues. Best hip-hop show in town this week. The Roots are now an institution of live-band hip-hop, where Parliament/Funkadelic and A Tribe Called Quest intersect. Lupe Fiasco's star is rising faster than a NASA moon-shooter, with three Grammy nominations for his 2006 debut. Kid's got a great, playful way with words. www.theroots.com, www.lupefiasco.com. PLAN B: The Antiques, The Muslims @ The Casbah. In the paper, we have it listed as The Antiques and Clock Work Army. However, Clock Work Army just broke up. Front-gal Emily Neveu will still perform this night, though, as the bassist for good new San Diego band, The Muslims (see above). www.theantiques.org, MS/themuslims.
PLAN A: Benny Green Trio @ Saville Theatre. Very rare to have a jazz icon come hither (it being the modern "spotted owl" and all). Green's a master jazz pianist, having punched teeth for Betty Carter, Art Blakey and Oscar Peterson. www.bennygreenmusic.com. PLAN B: Common @ House of Blues. With Lupe Fiasco and Common in town, seems like Chicago sent us its best damn hip-hop as some sort of consolation prize for the Chargers not making the Super Bowl. www.common-music.com. PLAN C: Octopus Project, Red Pony Clock @ The Casbah. The O-Project is the electronica-pop instrumental band that was invited to play Coachella last year after winning a MySpace competition. San Diego's Red Pony Clock does beguiling junk-folk, like a big-band version of New York's short-lived anti-folk movement. www.theoctopusproject.com, MS/redponyclock. BACKUP PLAN: Shat, Homeless Sexuals @ Scolari's Office (MS/shatband, MS/homelesssexuals).