Wednesday, Nov. 26
PLAN A: Nas, DJ Brett Bodley @ Fluxx. Before you load up on cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, dance off a few extra calories to one of the greatest MCs to ever rock a mic. Nas is making another lap on his 2014 tour, which brings him to San Diego again, and it's likely that many (or all) of his Illmatic classics will be on the set list. After all, a legendary album only turns 20 once.
Thursday, Nov. 27
PLAN A: Turkey, Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie, A Nice Long Nap @ Your House. Rocking out on Thanksgiving isn't entirely unheard of, but it's a day better spent feasting with family and friends. Certainly a few bars will be open that night, but just this once, I'll encourage you to don your pajama pants and lounge on the couch while you wait out the inevitable food coma.
Friday, Nov. 28
PLAN A: Alice Cooper @ Harrah's Resort. Alice Cooper has added golfer and restaurateur to his résumé since his '70s heyday, but he's still the greatest villain in rock 'n' roll. He basically invented the corpse-paint look, freaked out parents before Marilyn Manson did and understood rock theater better than anyone else, except for David Bowie. And with songs like "No More Mr. Nice Guy" or "Billion Dollar Babies," you're pretty much guaranteed a great show. PLAN B: Captured by Robots, Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, Roxy Jones @ Soda Bar. Captured by Robots is what might happen if the robotic band at Chuck E. Cheese turned evil. Basically, it's one dude and his band of robotic weirdos, and another robot band—Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra—is opening the show. The machines are taking over, and it'll be a blast. BACKUP PLAN: Teen Daze, DJ Camron, Wizard Woes @ The Hideout.
Saturday, Nov. 29
PLAN A: Meat Puppets, Cass McCombs, Kat Myers @ The Casbah. It's a good week for underground icons in San Diego. The Meat Puppets have been rocking for more than 30 years, from their early days playing country-influence punk to their more radio-friendly alt-rock from the '90s. You might be surprised by how many of their songs you know the words to. PLAN B: English Beat, SoCal Vibes @ Belly Up Tavern. English Beat play the Belly Up about one weekend for every season in San Diego, so this seems about on schedule. But it's not like I'm not going to recommend you go see them. Hearing "Mirror in the Bathroom" live is incentive enough. BACKUP PLAN: The Donkeys, Soft Lions, Oh Spirit @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Nov. 30
PLAN A: OFF!, Nasa Space Universe, Gay Kiss @ Epicentre. A lot of bands play old-school-style punk, but much of the time it's because they only know five chords. The Southern California veterans in OFF! have great songs, know how to play and have more punk credibility than any crusty dude with a Subhumans patch. PLAN B: Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Hell or Highwater @ Soda Bar. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster play hard rock with a touch of Southern boogie and a radio-friendly sheen that should appeal to metalheads and more mainstream audiences alike. Is that freedom rock? Well, turn it up, man! BACKUP PLAN: OBN IIIs, Pampers, Shady Francos @ The Hideout.
Monday, Dec. 1
PLAN A: Into It. Over It., Lemuria, Sledding with Tigers @ Soda Bar. Every article about Into It. Over It. mentions the so-called "emo revival," and here's another one, I guess. Whatever you call them, their tuneful and energetic rock—reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism —is definitely worth getting emotional over. Show up early for Sledding with Tigers, who have yet to make good on an album about Space Jam. BACKUP PLAN: Glass Spells, PRGRM, Dancing Strangers @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Dec. 2
PLAN A: Jonathan Richman @ The Casbah. Jonathan Richman is a legend—he was the unlikely frontman of proto-punk outfit The Modern Lovers, as well as a singer / songwriter with a penchant for classic pop sounds, storytelling and melodies galore. Just this year, he released No Me Quejo de Mi Estrella as a gift to his fans in Spain, so you might even hear him sing en español. ¡Muy interesante! PLAN B: Second Cousins, Cardboard Pioneers, Cloud Mammoth @ Soda Bar. I've been known to badmouth contemporary Americana, but when someone does it right, I'll go out of my way to give them their due. Second Cousins do it right, with gorgeously rich arrangements and wonderfully written melodies. This is how contemporary folk should be done.