Wednesday, November 25
PLAN A: Japandroids, Surfer Blood @ The Casbah (7:30 p.m.). Canadian fuzz-rockers Japandroids have had a pretty good year on the strength of their debut, Post-Nothing, but it's worth showing up extra early to this early-evening show for Surfer Blood—three south Florida youngsters that somehow combine '60s good vibrations, garage-rock and even Dinosaur Jr.-style indie rock into something all their own. Expect them to be headlining this time next year. PLAN B: The Old In Out, Shapes of Future Frames, Sus Hijos @ Radio Room. Sweaty garage-rockers The Old In Out have proven to be one of the hardest-working bands in the local scene. Both opening bands feature members from the headliner, and judging by the Future Frames show I saw a month ago (featuring Gary Hankins from Scarlet Symphony on vocals), these guys know how to spread the talent equally. BACKUP PLAN: Linnzi Zaorski @ Bar Pink.
Thursday, Nov. 26
PLAN A: Food. PLAN B: Football. PLAN C: Tryptophan coma.
Friday, Nov. 27
PLAN A: Art Fag Fest with No Age, Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, Ganglicans, Grass Widow, Pearl Harbor @ San Diego Woman's Club. I don't care who doesn't like it if I refer to this show as “Scenester Fest 2009.” I mean it with love, because there isn't a bad band on this bill. Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles are still making news (see “Locals Only” on Page 24), and No Age continue to redefine noise-pop. But, again, it's definitely worth showing up early for Best Coast (see our feature on Page 23) and San Francisco's Grass Widow, who combine lo-fi surf-punk with early-'60s girl-group R&B for what sounds like The Chiffons backed by Man or Astro-man?. PLAN B: Grampadrew, The Moons, Elysa Everson & Her Gentleman Bastards @ Tin Can Ale House.
Saturday, Nov. 28
PLAN A: Ojos Rojos, Sidro Punks @ Soda Bar. With some cool pedals and a few epic solos, just about any band can call itself “psychedelic.” But locals Sidro Punks are the real deal. I'm just waiting for someone to hook them with a good producer (seems they already have the good 'shrooms hook-up). If that happens, they'll be opening for Earthless in Amsterdam in no time. PLAN B: NROTB, Deth Hertz, Mr. White @ Voyeur. Electro from French Canada? The thought would usually make me cringe, but NROTB bring it. BACKUP PLAN: The Transit War, Spell Toronto, The Strangers Six @ The Casbah. After The Casbah hosted all those epic reunion shows last January, this one might be a little anticlimactic. I wasn't really a fan of any of these bands in their so-called heyday (which was, like, what, two years ago?), but if you like pop rock with an edge, this is your show.
Sunday, Nov. 29
PLAN A: Lualta, The Shambles, Skelpin, The Shamey Jays, The Canton Mudders @ The Casbah. A great lineup of local acts, this is also a release show for power-popsters The Shambles' first album in nine years. And judging by the advance copy I got, these vets can still play with gusto. PLAN B: Them Hills, Neal Morgan @ Soda Bar. I wouldn't imagine that there's a huge, untapped indie scene in Nevada City, Calif. (claim to fame: one of the best-preserved mining towns of the old West). But Them Hills are a gem unto themselves (91X and 94.9 should really give “All Aboard” a spin) that make me think there might be something else in Nevada City besides old buildings.
Monday, Nov. 30
PLAN A: The Tighten Ups @ Ruby Room. Tribute band? Soul / R&B revival trend-jumpers? Who cares, Laura Jane's voice is the real deal, and they're fun as shit. PLAN B: “BIKE LANE” @ Tin Can Ale House. You ever seen a bunch of fixed-gear hipsters compete on exercise bikes while chugging Pabst? Well, here you go. Enjoy.
Tuesday, Dec. 1
PLAN A: J. Tillman, Pearly Gate Music, Joel P West @ The Casbah. Enough about J. Tillman already (see Page 22), I want to talk about local troubadour Joel P West. I still get goose bumps when I think about his performance at Sezio's Live @ Luce Loft series in March. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen this guy give a bad performance, and what's more, I probably listened to “28th and NE Davis” (off his 2008 album, Dust Jacket) more than any other local song last year. PLAN B: “Too Cool For Karaoke” Benefit for Rick Lyon @ Ruby Room. Someone stole pianist Rick Lyon's sign, so you can belt out “Rebel Yell” and know it's going toward a good cause (see Page 15 for more on that).