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 25
PLAN A: Blank Dogs, Eat Skull, Naked on the Vague, Christmas Island, Blessure Grave @ Soda Bar. This outsider love-fest brings together acts from Brooklyn (Blank Dogs); Sydney, Australia (Naked on the Vague); Portland (Eat Skull); and San Diego (Christmas Island, Blessure Grave). It has the potential to be one of the best shows of the year. PLAN B: The Bronx, Trash Talk @ The Casbah. Calling your band The Bronx when you're from L.A. is asking for problems, unless you're as intimidating as singer Matt Caughthran. Last time I saw them, he was wrapping mic cords around his neck and riding on audience members' shoulders. I'm kinda surprised the guy is still alive.
Thursday, March 26
PLAN A: Pelican, Wolves in the Throne Room, Tombs @ The Casbah. Each of these groups approach metal from interesting angles, but it's Tombs who might be most deserving of your attention. Imagine Joy Division and Bauhaus songs played by Neurosis, and you're pretty close. PLAN B: Nobunny @ Ken Club. It's impossible to take anybody seriously when they're wearing a bunny mask, so just kick back, have a few beers and get on board with this Tucson native's intentionally dumb garage-rock party. PLAN C: The Donkeys, John Meeks @ Luce Loft. The second in five days of special concerts at Downtown's Luce Loft is also likely to be the best of the lot, filled with cosmic California country delights from two of the area's finest practitioners.
Friday, March 27
PLAN A: The Homosexuals, Kill Me Tomorrow, Boo and Boo Too, The Anasazis @ Soda Bar. Forgotten U.K. post-punk heroes The Homosexuals are playing shows again in hopes of gaining the recognition they were denied during their original late '70s run. The performance should be a revelation to fans and newcomers alike. PLAN B: Earthless, Red Fang, Early Man, Hostile Comb-Over @ The Casbah. The male-to-female ratio here will be approximately 10-to-1, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That way, the audience will have more opportunities for in-depth conversations about why Megadeth and post-Ozzy Black Sabbath aren't that bad, and why Old Milwaukee is better than Pabst Blue Ribbon. PLAN C: AIDS Wolf, White Mice, All Leather, Vaginals @ Che Café. All four of these bands would probably be content if you left without liking them. This may seem counterintuitive, but in their minds, showing contempt for the audience is a display of affection.
Saturday, March 28
PLAN A: Dirty Sweet, Astra, The Howls @ Ruby Room. San Diego is the last place anyone would look for mysterious prog-rock space-travelers, but Astra occasionally beam down from planet Ork to teach humans the laws of the cosmos before disappearing into the ether once again. PLAN B: Calico Horse, Demasiado @ Luce Loft. It's pretty safe to say that if you don't find something to enjoy about Calico Horse's waltzing, piano-led dirges, there's nothing wrong with them; there's probably something wrong with you.
Sunday, March 29
PLAN A: Herman Dune, Chad VanGaalen, Women @ The Casbah. Women may have the most un-Google-able name in the history of Canada, which is a giant pain in the ass when you're searching the Internet for a few morsels of basement-rock goodness. At least they didn't call themselves Gay Porn. PLAN B: MDC, Rat City Riot @ Radio Room. MDC supposedly stands for Millions of Dead Cops, which, along with songs like “John Wayne Was a Nazi” and “Henry Kissmyassinger,” made them an easy target for law-enforcement officials back in the early days of hardcore. But they're hanging in there—singer Dave Dictor is 52 years old and still raging against the, uh, machine. BACKUP PLAN: Joel P. West, The Paddle Boat @ Luce Loft.
Monday, March 30
PLAN A: San Diego Youth Symphony Jazz Ensemble @ Dizzy's. With school-funded music programs disappearing en masse, it's good to know that some people still care about nurturing the talents of young musicians. You might be surprised at just how accomplished these kids are. BACKUP PLAN: Less Than Jake, The Expendables, The Flatliners @ 'Canes.
Tuesday, March 31
PLAN A: White Denim, Apes of Wrath, Nautical Disaster @ The Casbah. Be thankful that White Denim doesn't actually wear white denim at every show. Also be thankful that they sound a lot like early Kings of Leon, but with an honest Texas choogle instead of cheap, Bible-belt gimmickry. PLAN B: Branford Marsalis @ Anthology. Not to diminish what is probably the most distinguished career in modern jazz, but Marsalis composed the theme to The Cosby Show, and it's currently the 25th anniversary of that program. Wear your worst sweater and sneak in a stash of Jell-O Pudding.