Thursday, Oct. 8
A few years back, I got involved with a film festival in L.A. called “Don't Knock the Rock,” curated by a former teacher of mine. The opening-night screening was Ghost on the Highway: A Portrait of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club, and it was followed by a reunion concert with original Gun Club members Ward Dotson, Terry Graham and Kid Congo Powers, who later played with The Cramps and Nick Cave. Of course, Pierce had been long dead at that time, but singer Thalia Zedek filled in and exorcised his ghost, performing flawless renditions of “She's Like Heroin to Me” and “Sex Beat.” It might've been the most punk show I've ever seen—they played with the passion and fire of a band half their age, and Powers was the most entertaining of the bunch, prowling the stage like a Mexican John Waters, complete with pencil-thin mustache and kitschy suit. The guy was born for rock 'n' roll, and I'd expect his latest group, The Pink Monkey Birds, to put on quite a set at Bar Pink.
Friday, Oct. 9
I can say without reservation that Future of the Left are my favorite band on the planet right now, and the best live act I've seen in years. Do yourself a favor and go to The Casbah, where they're opening for … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, but don't expect to emerge unscathed ($18).
In the late '80s, Boston's Galaxie 500 were one of the more revered groups performing what we now refer to as indie rock, taking the minimalism of The Velvet Underground's late-era love songs (see: “Pale Blue Eyes”) and drowning them in reverb and Dean Wareham's high-pitched whine. After their split in 1991, Wareham formed cult act Luna, who took Galaxie's template into poppier territories. Now, with former Luna bassist Britta Phillips, he's reverted to Velvet-y pastures as Dean & Britta. This performance sees the band providing a soundtrack to 13 original screen tests by Andy Warhol, featuring such Factory affiliates as Nico, Lou Reed and Edie Sedgwick. Considering these concerts are authorized by The Warhol Museum in New York, this is a must-see for fans of Pop Art. At The Loft @ UCSD ($26).
Saturday, Oct. 10
Armed only with two classical guitars, amplifiers, a few effects pedals and a love for classic rock and thrash metal, Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela create percussive masterpieces of flamenco-inflected rock. It would be one thing if they were simply incredible guitarists (and they are), but the way in which they're able to transform forceful instrumental displays of talent into memorable songs places them among the elite crossover acts. Anything this shred-heavy runs the risk of coming across as masturbatory, but it's pretty hard to shoot off aimless solos when there's no drums, bass or vocals to distract audiences. At 4th & B ($35).
Of all the least likely places to find a goth revival, Southern California would be at the top of the list. But despite its reputation as the epicenter for beach culture, there are still plenty of things to be unhappy about, especially if the sun is your natural enemy. As such, the Vitamin D-deficient murk of Blessure Grave, Trudgers and Secret Tones might sound more at home in Birmingham or Manchester than in San Diego and Riverside counties, but in a strange way, the downbeat attitude makes sense as a call out to other shut-ins who happen to be stuck in the brightest of places. Even innocent DIY kids No Paws (No Lions) seem to have a change in outlook as of late, as their latest track, “No Ghosts,” has a dark vibe to it. Doom and gloom lingers over the evening at Soda Bar.
Monday, Oct. 12
Lars Finberg's The Intelligence makes room for plenty of collaborators, which would explain why musicians from rudimentary L.A. rockers Wounded Lion and San Diego's finest naïve-pop trio Christmas Island make appearances on their latest album, Fake Surfers. It wouldn't be surprising in the least to see members of the latter two jump on stage for the headliners' set, which should make for an wild show at The Casbah, especially considering it's a release party for Christmas Island's first LP, Blackout Summer. Binge drinking, anyone? ($8).
Tuesday, Oct. 13
Canadian brothers John and Rob Wright have been at it with Nomeansno for longer than I've been alive. To even think about the sheer perseverance it must take to maintain a consistent touring schedule for 30 years without making concessions to the mainstream makes my head throb. And that's not even taking into account the time it must've taken to achieve such masterful command over the their instrumental interplay. This is a well-oiled punk-rock machine, further evidenced by the fact they've had to change guitarists only once throughout their entire existence. If you can imagine what The Descendents and Minutemen would have sounded like if they'd formed a band together in 1982, Nomeansno would be the closest thing. It doesn't get more complimentary than that. Vancouver blues-rock duo The Pack AD and local face-melters The Long and Short of It open at The Casbah ($15).