Photo by Julia Brokaw
Wednesday, October 5
PLAN A: S U R V I V E, Majeure @ Soda Bar. The Austin-based synthwave band S U R V I V E counts among its ranks the composers of the Stranger Things score, so hopefully that got your attention. Their music is dense, expansive and eerie, with lots of exquisite synthesizer melodies. BACKUP PLAN: The Devils of Loudon, DAEMOS, Silence the Prince @ The Merrow.
Thursday, October 6
PLAN A: Failure @ Music Box. I realize that back in the summer I wrote an article about how I'm not a big fan of bands touring behind classic albums. There are always exceptions, though, particularly alt-rock heroes Failure, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their epic sci-fi and drugs concept album Fantastic Planet . PLAN B: Nina Coyote eta Chica Tornado, Le Ra, Boychick @ Blonde. Nina Coyote eta Chica Tornado are a hard rocking duo from Spain's Basque region that make impressive use of their limited set up. They've got riffs for days, like a two-person Queens of the Stone Age. BACKUP PLAN: TOPS, Weyes Blood, Garden Echo @ Soda Bar.
Friday, October 7
PLAN A: Kamasi Washington @ Humphrey's by the Bay. Kamasi Washington's performance at Soda Bar last year was one of my favorite shows of 2015. With an even bigger bayside venue, there's no way his spiritual jazz excursions won't be transcendent. PLAN B: Grim Reaper, Alchemy, Sentinel, Seraphic Disgust @ Brick by Brick. Grim Reaper's been making awesome heavy metal music since the early 1980s, as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. And they're still going, showing youngsters how to do big riffs and soaring choruses right. BACKUP PLAN: Avi Buffalo, Buddy Banter, Big Bad Buffalo, Dawayne Neptune @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, October 8
PLAN A: La Sera, Springtime Carnivore @ The Hideout. La Sera's been going long enough that their track record is longer than Katy Goodman's previous band, Vivian Girls. And for that matter, they're more versatile, with a repertoire of catchy, fuzzy, jangly indie pop songs that always feel good whenever you hear them. PLAN B: Fred and Toody of Dead Moon, The Widows @ Soda Bar. Fred and Toody are veteran garage rockers from lo-fi favorites Dead Moon, who recorded a lot of great underground gems in their day. If you like your garage sounds to be a little spooky, soulful and without a lot of polish, come hear how it's done. BACKUP PLAN: Mystic Braves, The Dream Ride, Los Sweepers @ The Casbah.
Sunday, October 9
PLAN A: The Felice Brothers, Aaron Lee Tasjan @ The Casbah. I'm pretty picky about my Americana, mostly because some suspender-snapping newcomers kind of ruined it. But The Felice Brothers have some earthy, sweet sounds that still soothe the savage beast. A fine way to end Sunday night.
Monday, October 10
PLAN A: Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Oathbreaker, Gatecreeper @ Brick by Brick. Skeletonwitch is one of the more fun metal bands you'll see live, with hard-rocking thrash anthems that hit hard and often feature some triumphant hooks. Make sure to get there early for Oathbreaker, a Belgian band that combines the ethereal with the guttural in impressive ways. BACKUP PLAN: Dirty Pennies, The Phantoms, Mittens @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, October 11
PLAN A: Bosswitch, LiquidLight, Nebula Drag @ The Merrow. Bosswitch features Justin Cota of Gloomsday and Deep Sea Thunder Beast, so right off the bat you know there's bound to be some kickass guitar riffs. And there are! Bosswitch are a mix of metal and pop, much like Torche, and I'm definitely in the target audience for this kind of rock music.