Wednesday, Nov. 28
PLAN A: Wha?, The Bugs, Octa#grape @ The Casbah. Most people would recognize Ben Johnson as that dude who serves up drinks at The Casbah, but many also know him as a badass local musician with many a project under his belt. I've been looking forward to seeing his new band, Wha?, who deliver heavy rhythms and eerie vibes. PLAN B: Island Boy, Labs, Starvelab @ Tin Can Ale House. Local duo Island Boy recalls chillwavers like Washed Out and Memory Tapes, with easygoing hooks, danceable beats and generous amounts of reverb. Starvelab, aka sound artist Michael Trigilio, is a little weirder; here's hoping he plays his recent death-metal cover of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." BACKUP PLAN: Whitehorse, Nena Anderson, Tori Rogg @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Nov. 29
PLAN A: The Burning of Rome, The Palace Ballroom, State to State, Sheep Head @ The Casbah. Circusrockers The Burning of Rome recently put out a cleverly creepy new video for their song "Norman Bates." I don't want to spoil the plot, but, suffice to say, it involves a sharp knife, a hot shower and a taste for revenge. PLAN B: "Family Matters" @ Kava Lounge. For a while now, a tightknit group of local beatmakers has been getting together to test new material and share ideas. The event is usually invite-only, but tonight they're welcoming the public to come by and get a taste of their fine beats.
Friday, Nov. 30
PLAN A: Bad Brains, The Creepy Creeps @ Belly Up Tavern. Hardcore-punk icons Bad Brains recently put out their first album in five years, Into the Future, and it finds them in good form. They aren't quite as frenetic as they were 30 years ago, but they still produce punk, reggae and metal with serious power. PLAN B: Moon Duo, Life Coach, Wild Wild Wets @ The Casbah. Delivering Kraut-y psych grooves with a classic rocker's flair, San Francisco's Moon Duo sound like they're having fun even when they're exploring the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson—as they do on their new album, Circles. BACK- UP PLAN: Takahashi, Gloomsday, Hot Cannons, Old Man Wizard @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Dec. 1
PLAN A: Andreilien, Thriftworks, Jobot, Carlo @ The Ruby Room. I don't know under what category Andreilien's bass music falls, but I love it. The San Francisco producer has an ear for fluid textures and contemplative grooves, but he's also capable of reanimating reggae with kinetic, glitchy beats. PLAN B: Black Fag, Girl-Illa Biscuits, Cunt Sparrer @ The Shakedown Bar. Black Flag used to be known as one of the loudest, toughest, most ass-kicking punk bands around, but gay tribute band Black Fag makes light of that aggro attitude. Onstage, they don fabulous outfits, dish out lots of innuendo and surprise audiences with the occasional Village People song. BACKUP PLAN: Draconis, Exhausted Prayer, Apocryphon, Ghoulgotha, Oneirogen @ Til- Two Club.
Sunday, Dec. 2
PLAN A: How to Dress Well, Beacon, AIMON @ Soda Bar. I'm adding How to Dress Well's new album, Total Loss, to my Albums of the Year list. As I write in my feature, the golden-voiced songwriter has crafted his own kind of experimental R&B, which is dark and murky yet irresistible. PLAN B: Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, Machine Gun Kelly, DJ Scream @ Viejas Arena. Rick Ross is quite the hit-making hip-hop bigwig, but he might just be upstaged by Meek Mill and Wale. LA Weekly pointed out recently that their song "Actin' Up" was so popular that Ross seemed to copy it with a tune of his own, "Hold Me Back." BACKUP PLAN: Jeff Berkley, Veronica May @ Lestat's.
Monday, Dec. 3
PLAN Kristopher Roe, Yovee @ Soda Bar. The Hot Snakes show at The Casbah is sold out, but pop-punk fans will probably love to see Ataris frontman Kristopher Roe, who'll no doubt sing with utmost sincerity while strumming an acoustic guitar.
Tuesday, Dec. 4
PLAN A: "A John Waters Christmas" @ Belly Up Tavern. Famous for making cult classics like Pink Flamingos and A Dirty Shame, John Waters will no doubt infuse this one-man show with lots of wicked, X- rated humor. See our interview with him, and be sure to check out his awesome Christmas-music compilation, A John Waters Christmas.