These are bands we especially dig, not full listings. For those, please see “Concerts and Clubs.” For more top shows featuring local acts, please see “Nightgeist”
Wednesday, April 29
PLAN A: Bob Log III, Willem Maker @ Bar Pink. From the backwoods of Alabama emerges Willem Maker, a reclusive songwriter who's supposedly spent the last 10 years recording demos and practicing in relative obscurity, and his blues-based recordings are authentic enough to merit the backing of Fat Possum Records. That's gotta count for something. BACKUP PLAN: El Monte Slim, Heavy Glow, The Old In Out @ Beauty Bar.
Thursday, April 30
PLAN A: Rufus Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche @ Belly Up Tavern. Is Rufus Wainwright an incredible entertainer? Yup. But that's what you get when your father (Loudon), mother (Kate McGarrigle), sister (Martha) and half-sister (Lucy) are all musicians. He also might be the best vocalist of our generation, and even if I can't cop to being his biggest fan, I have no problem recommending this show. PLAN B: Christmas Island, The Anasazis @ Bar Pink. Christmas Island has popped up in this column more than any other band in town, so if you haven't seen them yet, you probably haven't been going out enough. Stop blowing it. BACKUP PLAN: Unwelcome Guests @ Soda Bar.
Friday, May 1
PLAN A: 9th Wonder & Buckshot @ Brick by Brick. As one of indie hip-hop's most consistent producers, anything former Little Brother member 9th Wonder lays his hands on is likely to be good. Here, he teams with Black Moon's Buckshot, a perennially underrated MC who seems to be content with his position away from the spotlight. PLAN B: Ben Lee, Low vs. Diamond @ The Loft at UCSD. Lee gets major points subtracted for writing a song called “What's So Bad About Feeling Good?” But he's engaged to Ione Skye—who played Diane Court in Say Anything—so he's probably pretty stoked about that. BACKUP PLAN: Mike Doughty (6:30 p.m.) @ The Casbah.
Saturday, May 2
PLAN A: Joe Lally, Mr. Tube & The Flying Objects, David Scott Stone (9:30 p.m.) @ The Casbah. Former Fugazi bassist Lally has returned with muted, minimal versions of that band's coiled rhythmic attack, showing that while he may have mellowed with age, there's still punk-rock fire burning beneath the surface. PLAN B: Damien Jurado (6:30 p.m.) @ The Casbah. Heartbreakingly honest, but just as often uplifting, Jurado's melancholy tunes shouldn't put too much of a damper on your Saturday. But if they do, you can still get to bed at a decent hour. PLAN C: Pinback, Matisyahu, Mason Jennings, Bassnectar, Dirty Sweet @ Mission Bay Park. This fundraiser for San Diego Youth Services features one good act (Pinback), one so-so act (Mason Jennings) and that Jewish reggae guy who just won't go away (Matisyahu). But it's right on the beach, and proceeds go toward building a shelter for homeless kids, so there's some motivation for ya. BACKUP PLAN: Napalm Death @ SOMA.
Sunday, May 3
PLAN A: William Elliott Whitmore, Fake Problems @ The Casbah. On his latest album, Animals in the Dark, Whitmore sounds like he could be a 90-year-old ex-preacher who gave up on the church so he could spend his final days downing whiskey. Actually, he's a 30-year-old troubadour from Iowa. But, Jesus Christ, where did he get that voice? BACKUP PLAN: Stay home and watch Breaking Bad on AMC. It's the best show on television. There isn't much else going on tonight.
Monday, May 4
PLAN A: Manic Hispanic, MEX, Screamin' Yeehaws @ The Casbah. A bunch of Mexican dudes from Orange County who dress like extras from the movie Colors (Manic Hispanic) decided to cover their favorite songs with a vato bent. Despite the gimmickry, the results are still kinda funny.
Tuesday, May 5
PLAN A: The Purrs, Little Pieces @ Soda Bar. Two Seattle bands that prove you don't have to be extraordinarily original to make good songs, The Purrs and Little Pieces follow in the footsteps of forgotten Northwestern power-poppers The Posies. PLAN B: Dub Traffik Control, The Devastators @ Belly Up Tavern. Jamaica and Cinco de Mayo don't really match up, but these reggae-influenced groups are two of the most listenable San Diego has to offer. Considering how many local bands play reggae, that's a noteworthy compliment.