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, May 13
PLAN A: Lucero, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ Belly Up Tavern. Lucero is to aging punks what Springsteen was to your parents: comfort food with a side of class. Meanwhile, Black Joe Lewis sounds like the Memphis Horns getting a makeover by Mick Collins. All in all, it's a pretty good night. PLAN B: Far, fluf, The Trophy Fire, Overbreaker @ The Casbah. Ironically titled “The Next Big Thing,” this 91-cent concert brings Sacramento cult heroes Far back from the grave to perform their first show here in a really long time. Well, they have a new album coming out soon, so technically they could still be the next big thing. It's unlikely, but possible. BACKUP PLAN: Viktor Sjoberg New Jazz Ensemble @ The Loft at UCSD.
Thursday, May 14
PLAN A: Extra Golden @ Bar Pink. Half-Kenyan, half-American foursome Extra Golden puts nu-world imperialists Vampire Weekend and other pretenders to shame with an honest, ass-shaking blend of boogie rock and African Benga. PLAN B: Doves @ House of Blues. Probably the best British band that you don't listen to, Doves have released four excellent albums that approximate what Coldplay would sound like if they actually had balls. Plus, these guys have been around forever in one form or another, so they know their way around a melody. BACKUP PLAN: Cloud Cult, Say Hi, Ice Palace @ The Casbah.
Friday, May 15
PLAN A: Mogwai, Dead Meadow @ Belly Up Tavern. Dead Meadow is immortalized in television history as the only rock band to ever be name-checked on HBO's The Wire. Why? Because lead singer Jason Simon is the nephew of Wire creator David Simon. It helps to know people in high places. PLAN B: ISIS, Tombs @ The Casbah. ISIS' Aaron Turner has toned down his bark to add more space for melody and actual song structures. Just be careful about those tracks from the back catalog—Oceanic will still bite you in the face like a rabid bulldog. BACKUP PLAN: Graf Orlock, Dangers, Lewd Acts @ Che Café.
Saturday, May 16
PLAN A: Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre. How can one man (Trent Reznor) hold so much resentment for this long? Twenty years on, and he's still pissed at old girlfriends? Well, it seems to be working, so keep on screamin' out those demons, buddy. PLAN B: Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys @ The Casbah. How many times does Sandy have to come through The Casbah to let people know that his band is one of the most entertaining live acts around? Apparently, about three times a year. BACKUP PLAN: The Aggrolites, The Upbeat, The Lions @ Belly Up Tavern.
Sunday, May 17
PLAN A: Mos Def, Supernatural @ Belly Up Tavern. So hip-hop's most likeable actor still raps, huh? I don't know if this show was scheduled last-second to keep it low-profile or because it's co-opted by some clothing company, but it should be interesting to see how he fares. A new album is due later this year. PLAN B: Kill Me Tomorrow, Creepy Creeps, Underground Railroad to Candyland, The Drowning Men @ North Park Festival of the Arts (12:50 p.m.). Full disclosure: CityBeat is hosting the Bar Pink Stage at this festival. But guess what? We're also giving you the opportunity to choose from a decent beer selection while you watch live music in an outdoor setting. What a novel concept! BACKUP PLAN: Loney Dear @ The Loft at UCSD.
Monday, May 18
PLAN A: “Pagan Fest II” w/ Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Primorial, more @ Jumping Turtle. If I weren't kinda scared of blond-haired Vikings from Scandinavia, I would claim Korpiklaani's Finnish folk-metal / drinking music to be the funniest subgenre of all time. But let's be honest here—these guys probably have a ritual where they would desecrate my body on an upside-down cross and then rape my soul. PLAN B: Tech N9ne, Murs, more @ House of Blues. If there were ever a stranger pairing than a Midwest gangsta rapper who wears face paint (Tech N9ne) and a heartbroken down-to-earth dude from L.A. (Murs), I'd like to know. BACKUP PLAN: The Dollyrots, The Action Design @ Bar Pink.
Tuesday, May 19
PLAN A: The Old In Out, BRAAIINS!, Steel Tigers of Death, Android Hero @ Soda Bar. It's a Seattle (Steel Tigers, Android Hero) v. San Diego (The Old In Out, BRAAIINS!) garage-punk face-off, each band blending the mildly ridiculous with true showmanship. PLAN B: An Horse, Pilot Speed, Calico Horse @ The Casbah. OK, An Horse. I know your name might constitute proper grammar in Brisbane, but this is America. It's “A” Horse or no horse at all.