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, March 11
PLAN A: Sleepy Sun, Larkin Grimm @ Bar Pink. Not part of neo-hippie trends so much as a trippy update on classic rock, Sleepy Sun's communal, organic vibes emanate from a blessed drone-zone somewhere between contemporaries Dead Meadow and Brightblack Morning Light. PLAN B: Neil Halstead, Zach Gill @ The Casbah. Ex-Slowdive and Mojave 3 frontman Halstead currently plays muted, Mark Kozelek-esque tunes filled with images of the British countryside. As a result, it's about as far removed from his shoegaze past as he can get.
Thursday, March 12
PLAN A: Drew Andrews @ Whistle Stop Bar. Andrews has the kind of soothing voice and gently floating tunes that appeal to nearly all audiences across the board. Even if you're embittered by neo-folk trends (of which Andrews isn't really a part of, anyway), this is music that you can't help but surrender to. BACKUP PLAN: BRAAIINS!, The Deepsea Goes, Zombie Surf Camp @ Ken Club.
Friday, March 13
PLAN A: De La Soul, Lyrics Born @ 'Canes. De La Soul is my all-time favorite hip-hop act, which is a fairly typical white-guy thing to say, but as the only Native Tongues group that has remained together for 20 years and stayed relevant, they've done (almost) everything right. PLAN B: Thee Oh Sees, The Fresh & Onlys @ Bar Pink. Thee Oh Sees keep getting louder and more reminiscent of singer John Dwyer's defunct Coachwhips project. These are both good things, and fellow Bay Area combo The Fresh & Onlys are opening with a similarly damaged '60s pop redux. PLAN C: Delta Spirit, Get Back Loretta, Emily Wells @ The Loft at UCSD. Emily Wells collaborated with Count Bass D, underground hip-hop's most talented musician. Plus, she recorded a cover of Notorious B.I.G.'s “Juicy,” complete with violins. “If you don't know, now you know.” BACKUP PLAN: Diablo Dimes, John Meeks, The Deer Johns @ Radio Room.
Saturday, March 14
PLAN A: Sirhan Sirhan, Hostile Comb-Over, Archons @ Radio Room. Three of San Diego's most bludgeoning bands take their boots to your face over and over again. Sirhan Sirhan's latest album is called Blood. That should give a pretty good idea of what you're getting into. PLAN B: Cursive, Ladyfinger, Little Brazil @ The Casbah. If there's any band that's been unfortunately labeled with the “emo” tag, it's Cursive. Lead singer Tim Kasher is not only one of the more insightful lyricists in indie rock, but an angry son of a bitch, to boot. PLAN C: d*fRost, Behind the Wagon, Andy Clockwise, Ragsy @ O'Connells. This L.A. vs. S.D. battle of the bands pits a hard-drinking local combo (Behind the Wagon) against a catatonic multi-instrumental whiz from up north (Andy Clockwise). If it were really fair, wouldn't this be held somewhere in Orange County? (Full disclosure: CityBeat's Ed Decker put this together.
Sunday, March 15
PLAN A: Personal and the Pizzas, Wild Thing, Christmas Island @ Soda Bar. Finally, a concept that's actually funny: Personal and the Pizzas dress like the male cast of Grease, sound like a moronic Ramones cover band, and claim to be from Hoboken, N.J. (more likely: San Francisco). Pizza is the great unifier. Eat it. PLAN B: Asobi Seksu, Bell, Resplandor @ The Casbah. Like a female-fronted Spiritualized or a more approachable Cocteau Twins, Asobi Seksu baptize the audience in a pool of melodic drones and angelic vocals, causing girlfriends to swoon and boyfriends to reap the benefits. PLAN C: Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ M-Theory Music (4 p.m.). Can't argue with a free performance on a Sunday afternoon, especially when the artist does a pitch-perfect re-interpretation of every folk-rock style from the past 50 years. BACKUP PLAN: The Von Bondies @ Belly Up Tavern.
Monday, March 16
PLAN A: Past Lives, Kill Me Tomorrow, Crocodiles @ Soda Bar. In Past Lives' past lives, they were members of progressive indie bands Blood Brothers and Chromatics, among others. In my past life, I'm pretty sure I was a white tiger trained to perform in a high-profiting Las Vegas stage show. PLAN B: This Drama, The Old In Out @ Bar Pink. Far removed by location but not by sound, Spain's This Drama and San Diego's The Old In Out both kick out the garage-punk jams. BACKUP PLAN: Raul Malo, Shelby Lynne @ Belly Up Tavern.
Tuesday, March 17
PLAN A: Simian Mobile Disco @ The Casbah. Simian were a progressive pop band that—after being remixed by Justice for the massive club hit “We Are Your Friends”—morphed into Simian Mobile Disco. I kinda wish they'd revert to their former ways, but, hey, ecstasy heads need something decent to dance to. BACKUP PLAN: Jack Beats @ Beauty Bar.