PLAN A: Alicia Keys, Miguel @ Valley View Casino Center. Alicia Keys will kill it, no doubt, but make sure to see fast-rising R&B star Miguel. His songs are catchy, innovative and super-duper suave. PLAN B: The Ruby Suns, Painted Palms @ The Casbah. Mixing the icy-cold textures of The Knife with the sun-kissed vibes of Toro y Moi, The Ruby Suns incorporate all that is wonderful about electro-pop into single, shiny nuggets of sound.
Thursday, March 14
PLAN A: Carl Stone @ Space 4 Art. In a similar vein as Tim Hecker and Oneohtrix Point Never, electronic composer Carl Stone builds glorious, slow-moving ambient soundscapes out of an assortment of borrowed sounds, ranging from human voices to scrapes and static. Tonight he'll perform a piece called "Fujiken," which incorporates field recordings collected in Southeast Asia. For more, click here. PLAN B: The Focke-Wolves, Amigo, The Floor Notes, Full Revolution @ Soda Bar. If you're in the mood for something a little more rockin', The Focke-Wolves have you covered—they play the kind of beer-swilling, punk-flavored rock that'll appeal to anyone who's good and drunk. BACKUP PLAN: Colta, Eigenheimer, Mastah Syphe, Gary Krishna, Sleeve @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, March 15
PLAN A: re:Trio @ Dizzy's. It's nice to have a guy like jazz saxophonist / composer Ben Schachter in town. A transplant from Philadelphia, he's been tearing it up with local jazz players in recent months, and his banging bop is full of style and attitude. With this combo, he teams up with bassist Leon Boykins and drummer Matt Scarano. PLAN B: The New Kinetics, The Paragraphs, Recordable Colors, Ed Ghost Tucker @ Soda Bar. The New Kinetics have some fine pop-rock jams, but I'm most excited to see folk up-and-comers Ed Ghost Tucker: Their submission to this year's Great Demo Review was one of my favorites, and their songs are catchy in the comfiest way. BACKUP PLAN: Swingin' Utters, Sean and Zander, Wild Roses, Widows @ The Casbah.
Saturday, March 16
PLAN A: Dengue Fever, North Beach @ The Casbah. The disease called dengue fever may be a scourge of the tropics, but the band called Dengue Fever has true healing powers. Indeed, swap the fever and skin rash of the former with the psychedelic pop grooves and wistful Cambodian melodies of the latter, and you're good to go. PLAN B: Dead Feather Moon, Brothers Weiss, Mrs. Henry @ Soda Bar. If Mrs. Henry's live show is half as reckless and funny as their recent appearance on Tim Pyles' The Local FM 94/9—one member of the local rock band slashed his hand while trying to open a bottle of wine, and another couldn't stop farting—then this should be a memorable night. BACKUP PLAN: Carlton Livingston, Revival, DJ Spidaman @ Brick by Brick.
Sunday, March 17
PLAN A: Odessa Kane, Parker & The Numberman, Kaboose One, Splurgeo, DJ Felt One @ The Roots Factory (2 p.m.). As Quan Vu wrote in a feature, local rap veteran Odessa Kane takes a revolutionary stance on his new EP, Cuetes & Balisongs, spitting dense, fiery rhymes about imperialism and endemic poverty in the Philippines. PLAN B: Richard Buckner, The Midnight Pine @ Soda Bar. With poetic lyrics and a mesmerizing voice, singer-songwriter Richard Buckner has a way of sounding beaten-down and full of life at the same time. That's probably why NPR included a track of his on a 2008 playlist titled "Songs for a Drab and Unfulfilling Existence." BACKUP PLAN: The Virgins, Har Mar Superstar, Color @ The Casbah.
Monday, March 18
PLAN A: Grass Widow, Heavy Hawaii @ The Casbah. San Francisco's Grass Widow are always a delight to see live, what with their loose, sweet brand of post-punk. But I'm also curious to see Heavy Hawaii, who're releasing a new album, Goosebumps, on April 2. BACKUP PLAN: Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive @ Belly Up Tavern.
Tuesday, March 19
PLAN A: In Motion Collective, Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, DJ Openoptics @ Soda Bar. Tickets to The Specials at House of Blues appear to be selling like hot-cakes. If you don't make it in, don't fret: Local Afrobeat combo In Motion Collective holds it down with steamy grooves, brassy horns and even some jazzy flute. BACKUP PLAN: The Specials, Little Hurricane @ House of Blues.