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 20
PLAN A: New York Dolls @ Belly Up Tavern. Former Dolls Johnny Thunders, Billy Murcia, Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan are dead, but that isn't stopping the “reunion” of punk rock's underappreciated godfathers. Chances are they still bring the goods. PLAN B: Fischerspooner, Ssion @ House of Blues. Under no circumstances can I condone Fischerspooner's music, but the duo is as much about performance art as it is about the tunes. Fortunately, their extravagant live shows outstrip their albums by a long shot. BACKUP PLAN: Fever Sleeves, Marasol, This is Not My Life, Lands on Fire @ The Casbah.
Thursday, May 21
PLAN A: M83, James Yuill @ Belly Up Tavern. Just when you thought '80s nostalgia had been done to death, Anthony Gonzales (M83) comes along and imagines Cocteau Twins and New Order collaborating on the soundtrack for an untitled thriller starring pre-surgery Demi Moore, James Spader and Emilio Estevez. It's crazy good. PLAN B: Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, Myka 9, Kneehighs @ 'Canes. Abstract Rude, Myka 9 and Aceyalone make up Haiku d'etat, a faction of the legendary L.A. hip-hop crew Project Blowed, who were instrumental in the evolution of L.A.'s underground scene. Hip-hop heads won't be disappointed. BACKUP PLAN: Youth Group, a.m. vibe, Nico Stai @ The Casbah.
Friday, May 22
PLAN A: Thin Man, Earthmen & Strangers, The Anasazis @ Whistle Stop Bar. Local party favorites Thin Man celebrate the release of their new LP, complete with support from a Tempe-based band (Earthmen) who effortlessly toss off a series of excellent garage-pop nuggets. PLAN B: The Dears, Great Northern, Eulogies @ The Casbah. Far removed from their initial incarnation as Smiths-worshipping whiners, The Dears have evolved into one of Canada's preeminent rock bands through 14 years of sheer perseverance. PLAN C: Boomsnake, Drew Andrews, Nut/Crackers, Snuffaluffagus @ Che Café. This quiet show filled with (mostly) local purveyors of fine folk is girlfriend-safe, but that doesn't mean it's going to bore you to tears. Think of it as therapy for your ears. BACKUP PLAN: The Virgins, Lissy Truille, Anya Marina @ Belly Up Tavern.
Saturday, May 23
PLAN A: Obits, The Lights, Drug Wars @ The Casbah. Ex-Drive Like Jehu singer / guitarist Rick Froberg moved to New York awhile back to focus on his work as a graphic artist. Returning to San Diego with Obits' heavily echoed rock 'n' roll in tow, we couldn't be happier to have him back. PLAN B: Hercules & Love Affair (DJ set), Pat Mahoney @ Spin. Both of these acts have direct connections to James Murphy's DFA Records, which means two things: 1. They have better record collections than you. 2. If you attend, expect to shake your ass. PLAN C: Tapedeck Mountain, This is Not My Life @ Soda Bar. Claiming connections to local bands such as Comfortable For You, Calico Horse, Goodbye Blue Monday and Manuok, I'm not exactly sure what This is Not My Life sounds like, but based on their previous experience, the project sounds promising.
Sunday, May 24
PLAN A: Detroit Cobras, Dex Romweber (7 p.m.) @ The Casbah. Detroit Cobras make no pretense of originality, but if you're out to have a good time (and not think too hard about it), there are very few bands around that party this hard. PLAN B: Beaters @ Che Cafe. Largely consisting of former members from R&B punks The Sess, Beaters are the best band to debut in San Diego this year. Want proof? Check out their live show, which has already enlightened the lives of a select few music fans.
Monday, May 25
PLAN A: Burnett's Bliss, Erika Davies, Trio Gadjo @ Soda Bar. Davies, a gorgeous local jazz singer, soothes listeners with gentle ukulele playing and one of the best voices in town. Oh, to be a string on that instrument… BACKUP PLAN: Da Bears, Red Cortez, Better Class of Flying Man @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, May 26
PLAN A: Brightblack Morning Light, Rio en Medio, The Focus Group @ The Casbah. Jump aboard Brightblack Morning Light's amethyst geode boat and take a ride to the “Altered State of Druggachusetts” down a river of green NyQuil, where there are no bad trips, bad vibes or bad attitudes. PLAN B: Jens Lekman @ The Loft at UCSD. Sensitive Swede Lekman crafts beautiful melodies out of twinkling loops and instrumentation, but he's self-deprecating enough not to be overly precious. It sounds like the saccharine indie of early Postcard Records but with modern electronic touches. BACKUP PLAN: Basshaters, Peninsula Project, Swanwelder @ Soda Bar.