Thursday, Sept. 3
Considering the indie-rock crowd's generally fickle nature, any band that's managed to stick it out for almost 20 years deserves a goddamn medal or something. That's how long Amherst, Mass., combo New Radiant Storm King has been kicking around. But you'd be lucky to find more than a handful of 30- or 40-somethings who even know who they are, while the Yo La Tengos of the world continue to reap the benefits of their audiences' mellowing tastes. Like The New Pornographers if the Pornos had balls, it's refined indie-pop for reformed hipsters who've cashed in their cool card, which makes it a lot better than trendy indie-pop for younger hipsters going through their beard-and-flannel phase. Preceded by the lush folk tunes of Drew Grow and The Pastors' Wives at Bar Pink.
Friday, Sept. 4
Probably the most warranted '90s hip-hop reunion in recent memory, The Pharcyde has brought all four original members (Imani, Bootie Brown, Fatlip and Slim Kid Tre) back into the fold. Of course, it's probably a bit of a money grab—the group hasn't gotten radio play in more than a dozen years, and at one point earlier in the decade, Fatlip was forced to move back in with his mom for a stint. But it's hard to forget the levity they brought to West Coast hip-hop at a time when gangsta rap was the dominant force. Not only was 1992's Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde one of the best hip-hop albums of the decade; it was also the funniest, with rhymes about everything from being tricked into dating a transsexual (“Oh Shit!”) to an entire track about dissing other people's mothers (“Ya Mama”). If you really want to get in the mood, dust off your old Starter hat and watch a few episodes of In Living Color before heading out. Local hip-hop groups Rare Form Live, The Habit and Brendan B open at 'Canes ($27).
It's always shocking when a musician best known for a certain style suddenly flips the script and heads in a different direction. But for Wes Eisold—the former vocalist for hardcore super-group Some Girls—that shock quickly becomes awe after the dark melodies of his minimal synth project Cold Cave sink in. Because Some Girls weren't the kind of group that specialized in songs (more like short bursts of madness), Eisold's transition to Cold Cave's gray, electro-tinged pop provides evidence that behind every angry punk vocalist, there's a goth kid at heart. He even takes cues from New Order and Q Lazzarus' “Goodbye Horses” (the Buffalo Bill song from The Silence of the Lambs) on “Love Comes Close.” Creepy. Italo-disco worshippers Glass Candy, scuzz-poppers Best Coast and DJs Mario Orduno, Brandon Welchez and Sir Charles add to the festivities at The Casbah ($12).
Saturday, Sept. 5
I'm usually one to champion substance over style, but it's pretty hard to make that argument if a band renders its image as perfectly as Deadbolt. Like Dick Dale leading The Cramps through a bad cannibal exploitation flick, they don't care about any wussy shit like making a connection with the listener. No, it's all about entertaining the crowd with songs about death, truck drivers, voodoo, shrunken heads and/or any combination of the four. Calling yourself “the scariest band in the world” is a lot to live up to, but then again, that's the sort of sly, self-effacing humor that makes Deadbolt one of San Diego's most underappreciated bands. At The Casbah with The Deere Johns and Bartender's Bible ($12).
Sunday, Sept. 6
As much as I love AC/DC, we don't always agree on everything. I'm sure the band is satisfied with its last 30 or so years of work, churning out solid, blues-based rock anthems like it's going out of style (note: it has been going out of style). And there was that whole thing about the band releasing their latest album only at Wal-Mart, a store with an aura so evil, I've only entered it on four occasions, two of which were while visiting my brother in Oklahoma, where it's the only place to shop. However, they also happen to be one of the greatest hard-rock bands ever. That, my friends, is indisputable. There's a reason they can make the same album over and over again—it's because they continue to kick ass live. The Answer prepares to be blown off the stage at San Diego Sports Arena ($93.50).
From the looks of it, the four young Fullerton residents from Audacity couldn't be older than 21, tops. That goes a long way in explaining their youthful energy, which echoes a long checklist of SoCal surf, garage and punk—from the Descendents' suburban frustration to the Angry Samoans' anti-PC tirades, with some Mummies grime thrown in for good measure. They also get approval from the aging punks throwing the long sold-out (and under-the-radar) North Park Awesome Fast, who have included this as the only show of the weekend that's open to the public. North Park natives The Bugs and The Bible Children open at Bar Pink.
Monday, Sept. 7
It's Labor Day. Drink a few beers, have a barbecue and enjoy the last days of summer, because all the people who are supposed to be booking bands in town are planning to do exactly that.
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