Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek
Wednesday, May 19
PLAN A: Jamuel Saxon, Illuminauts, Primitive Noyes @ Soda Bar. Not a bad band on this bill that serves as a benefit show for former Paddle Boat and Vision of a Dying World drummer Jona Tellez-Giron. Keith Milgaten (of Vision and Black Mamba) continues to get weirdly experimental with Jamuel while Primitive Noyes is one of my favorite new local bands. PLAN B: Jacuzzi Boys, Christmas Island @ Bar Pink. Like the Mannequin Men and Thee Oh Sees, Miami's Jacuzzi Boys are much more interested in making poppy garage rock that people actually enjoy listening to than sounding like every other lo-fi band. Songs like “Island Ave.” and “Dock” are three-minute pieces of ear candy that you'll be humming over the ringing in your ears the next day. BACKUP PLAN: The Greyboy Allstars, DJ SK @ Belly Up.
Thursday, May 20
PLAN A: Caribou, Toro Y Moi @ The Casbah. The fact that both of these one-man projects (more on Caribou on Pages 27 and 30) have crafted the best make-out records of the year compels me to surmise that they're either mad geniuses or just really horny. In any case, bring a date to this one. PLAN B: Rafter, Lower Dens, Future Islands @ Tin Can Ale House. If you missed local wild man Rafter the last time he played Tin Can, then you missed a sweaty scenester dance party that went down as one of the best shows I've seen all year. The bonus is that you have two of Baltimore's best new bands opening this show. Definitely show up for Future Islands, who switch between danceable synth-pop and semi-serious indie-rock without missing a beat. BACKUP PLAN: Nena Anderson, Brawley @ Bar Pink.
Friday, May 21
PLAN A: John Meeks, The Donkeys, Drew Andrews, Tobyn Clarke @ The Casbah. Waiting around for two years for Meeks' tear-in-your-beer masterpiece Old Blood was well worth it (hopefully you've already read the feature on this page). The rest of these local acts are also reportedly working on new material, and I can't wait to hear what new sounds they've come up with. PLAN B: The Black Crowes @ Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay. I admit it—they're a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. And although there's part of me that wishes they'd stayed broken up, they always bring it live and never get so jammy that I start second guessing my adoration. BACKUP PLAN: Fever Sleeves, By Sunlight, Manuok @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, May 22
PLAN A: Bastard Noise @ Pokez Mexican Restaurant. This gig is for Justin Pearson's book release (see Page 15 for details), and Bastard Noise couldn't fit the author's sensibilities better—L.A. weirdoes playing electro-tinged post-hardcore that sounds like the soundtrack to the brainwashing scene in A Clockwork Orange. A mental enema in all the right ways. PLAN B: Vienna Teng, Alex Wong, Sara Watkins @ Anthology. Watkins served as the lone female voice in the ridiculously underrated local outfit Nickel Creek, but it's Teng whom I'm really excited to see. She bypasses the lazy Tori Amos comparisons with poignant lyrics that are actually poignant and a piano style more akin to Rufus Wainwright. BACKUP PLAN: Bobby Fantasy, Roswell That Ends Well @ Ruby Room.
Sunday, May 23
Nokie Edwards, Venturesmania, Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics @ The Casbah. Any fan of surf rock worth his Sex Wax wouldn't dare miss this show. After all, guitarist Edwards practically invented the genre with The Ventures back in the early '60s. And even at 75 years old, he still has the chops to make “Walk Don't Run” and “Hawaii Five-O” sound like they were recorded yesterday. BACKUP PLAN: The National, Ramona Falls @ Spreckels Theatre.
Monday, May 24
PLAN A: Patrick Watson, Greg Gibson @ The Casbah. Watson is a Canuck with an unhealthy appetite for cabaret pop and Nick Drake. Gluttony can be a good thing, because his last release, Wooden Arms, was one of the most underappreciated releases of last year and was blasphemously left off most year-end Best Of lists. PLAN B: Nada Surf, Telekinesis @ Belly Up. There are two kinds of fans when it comes to Nada Surf. The kind that still blasts the '96 hit “Popular” at full volume and think about how much high school sucked and the type that will politely let you know that Nada Surf's 2002 album, Let Go, was one of the greatest indie-pop releases of the last decade. I'm of the latter ilk. BACKUP PLAN: The Moviegoers, Social Studies, The Endless Bummer @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, May 25
PLAN A: Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek @ House of Blues. I could go on and on about how amazing it is to see Kweli and DJ / producer Hi-Tek back together again after an eight-year hiatus. The latter produced Kweli's best solo material, along with his work with Mos Def in Black Star. And their new record, Revolutions per Minute, is only further proof that these two belong together. Stay married, guys. Do it for the kids. BACKUP PLAN: Jamie Muehlhausen @ Hensley's Flying Elephant.