Wednesday, Feb. 22
PLAN A: Iced Earth, Symphony X, Warbringer @ House of Blues. A few years ago, I regularly rocked an Iced Earth T-shirt without ever having listened to them, just because it was such a kick-ass T-shirt (total poseur status, I know). When I finally got around to listening to this Florida heavy-metal band, I was pleased to hear arena-filling riffs, falsetto vocal runs and all-around epic everything. PLAN B: Joe Nice, Pavarotti, Corey Biggs, Austin Speed, Lazerwolfe @ El Dorado. As wise as he is wild, Joe Nice has earned the right to call himself America's dubstep ambassador. Lucky for all you bass heads, he always comes to the club with a stack of dubplates (test pressings of unreleased tracks) from some of the biggest dubsteppers around. BACKUP PLAN: Anya Marina, Nena Anderson and The Mules, Little White Teeth @ The Casbah.
Thursday, Feb. 23
PLAN A: Dag Savage (Exile & Johaz), sojourn, Auditory Stimuli, Blown Celebs, Kayo J, Ytest, DJ Inform, Beat Kingdom, DJs Charlie Rock, Jaba One @ Boar Cross'n. This hip-hop jamboree will have breakdancing, beat-making and live art, but the big draw will be Dag Savage, a duo that pairs veteran underground producer Exile with lively Deep Rooted member Johaz—who's touting a solid new EP, The Alina Marin Theory. PLAN B: Ra Ra Riot, The Submarines, Papa @ Belly Up. When Alexandra Lawn left Ra Ra Riot two weeks ago, the New York indie-rock band lost an awesome (and totally hot) cello player. That's a bummer, but they'll still be delightfully buoyant (and totally hot) without her. BACKUP PLAN: Insightful, Mr. Whipple, Will Spliff, Andre Power @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, Feb. 24
PLAN A: Smoov-E, Andre Nickatina @ Porter's Pub. Eli Meltzer, aka Smoov-E, might just be the Tom Waits of rap. With his stripped-down arrangements and raunchy rhymes, his quirky songs and even quirkier videos defy pop convention. Still, I could listen to his oh-so-stylish voice all day long. PLAN B: The Soft Pack, Beaters, Plateaus @ The Casbah. Thanks to their infectious rock 'n' roll hooks, North County darlings The Soft Pack have been keeping busy lately—they opened for Nada Surf at 4th & B last month and recently hopped on a ship to play Florida's Bruise Cruise Festival. BACKUP PLAN: Le Ra, Shantelle, Trashcan Fires, The Greats @ Tin Can Ale House.
Saturday, Feb. 25
PLAN A: Grimes, born Gold, Divers, DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. Anybody who keeps up with indie-music trends would be interested in checking out Grimes, a buzztastic songwriter whom we feature on Page 25. But make sure to show up early for born Gold (formerly Gobble Gobble), a wacky electro-pop group that's known for putting on spectacular dance parties. PLAN B: Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ Anthology. South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo are probably best known in America for working with Paul Simon on 1986's Graceland, but this prolific, three-time Grammywinning choral group is great in its own right. Most recently, they bagged yet another Grammy nomination for their 2011 album Songs from a Zulu Farm. BACKUP PLAN: DMX @ 4th & B.
Sunday, Feb. 26
PLAN A: Lila Downs @ Balboa Theatre. Whether she's singing traditional ranchera or Manu Chao-style pop, Lila Downs always puts her own stamp on things. On her latest album, last year's gorgeous Pecados y Milagros, the Mexican- American songstress delivers a set of originals and Mexican standards that was released to coincide with an exhibition in Mexico City of votive paintings by Mexican artists. BACKUP PLAN: 12th Planet, Flinch @ Voyeur.
Monday, Feb. 27
PLAN A: Veronica Falls, Bleached, DJ Mario Orduno @ The Casbah. With their razor-sharp guitars, tambourine-topped beats and syrupy-sweet vocals, London indie-popsters Veronica Falls offer a bright spin on macabre themes (seriously, just watch the video for “Beachy Head”). In the process, they breathe new life into an '80s-era sound that's become all the rage in indie-music circles. BACKUP PLAN: The Darrows, Adams and Eves @ Tin Can Ale House.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
PLAN A: Reptar, Quiet Hooves, DJ Keith Sweaty @ Soda Bar. Taking their name from the Godzilla-like character from Rugrats—yes, the '90s Nickelodeon cartoon— Reptar cite artists as varied as Marky Mark and Talking Heads as influences behind their bubbly, bombastic, highly danceable electro-pop. BACKUP PLAN: Secret Fun Club, Batwings, Moosejaw, Monogamy Party @ The Tower Bar.