Wednesday, May 28
PLAN A: Eagulls, Twin Peaks, Ditches @ Soda Bar. I'll freely admit that I'm a sucker for all things post-punk, so if a gloomy group of Brits comes around with a set of jagged tunes inspired by Joy Division, count me in. Eagulls write better songs than most Ian Curtis disciples however, so they get an extra favorable endorsement from me. BACKUP PLAN: The Touchies, Javier Escovedo, The Nformals @ Tin Can Ale House.
Thursday, May 29
PLAN A: Pink Mountaintops, Giant Drag @ The Casbah. Click here for Ben Salmon's feature on scruffy psychedelic-pop outfit Pink Mountaintops, who know their way around a good hook but aren't averse to fucking with the audience when the mood strikes them. PLAN B: The Meatmen, Black Fag, The Fink Bombs, Vyper Skwad @ Soda Bar. Old-school punks The Meatmen have a cult anthem called "We're The Meatmen and You Suck!" They're loud and fast and ornery and pretty much a blast. San Diego's lucky enough to be a favorite destination for punk legends, so make some time in your schedule to welcome these hardcore curmudgeons.
Friday, May 30
PLAN A: M.I.A. @ SOMA. M.I.A. has a high publicity-stunt factor, whether it's flipping the bird during the Super Bowl or having Julian Assange open her shows. But when you get past all that, she still puts on a pretty good performance. I've seen her twice, and both times it's been a fantastic dance party. No reason to believe this'll be anything less. PLAN B: Perfect Pussy, Potty Mouth, DivaCup @ The Che Café. I caught Perfect Pussy the last time they came to San Diego (just a couple months ago), and they were about as much chaotic fun as you can imagine from a young punk band. Their new album Say Yes to Love suggests that their best work is still ahead of them, but the loud and messy time they offer is still one worth having. BACKUP PLAN: Ben Ottewell, Buddy @ House of Blues.
Saturday, May 31
PLAN A: Kill Holiday, I*Wish*I @ Soda Bar. Kill Holiday are reuniting for a special show, during which both lineups of the band will play individual sets. They began as a post-hardcore group and ended with more of a Britpop / shoegaze sound, and here you'll get to hear both. How many times have you been able to say you saw a band reunite twice in one show? PLAN B: Blackalicious, Lifesavas, The Soul Rebels, DJ Emmanuel @ Belly Up Tavern. Positive rap can be pretty corny, but Blackalicious have always had the skills to make it work. Their 2000 album Nia was an eye-opener for me, and still sounds solid 14 years later. BACKUP PLAN: Punk Rock Karaoke, Widows, The Touchies @ The Casbah.
Sunday, June 1
PLAN A: CyHi Da Prince @ Porter's Pub. CyHi the Prince (pronounced "sigh-high") got a big break in 2010 when he appeared on Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . And while he's yet to release a proper debut, his mixtape releases and more work with Kanye prove that he's an MC to watch. So why not watch him right here, while he's in town? PLAN B: Incan Abraham, Inspired and the Sleep, Joyce @ Soda Bar. Los Angeles neo-psych outfit Incan Abraham specialize in trippy pop melodies with a laid-back, dreamy sheen. They're comfortably nestled between Tame Impala and Beach House, and that's just alright with me.
Monday, June 2
PLAN A: Pinata Protest, Mochilero All Stars, Johnny Deadly Trio @ Soda Bar. It's not every day you hear a band like Pinata Protest. Billed as "Tex-Mex-punk," the group combines high-speed power-chord punk rock with the accordion melodies and bounce of border music. They're one of a kind and, more importantly, a whole lot of fun.
Tuesday, June 3
PLAN A: Kelis, Son Little @ House of Blues. Kelis is most famous for "Milkshake," but since that 2003 hit, she's taken a variety of new directions with her career, including—most recently—a cooking show. She also has a new album called Food that's funky as all get-out and features local drummer extraordinaire Jake Najor. PLAN B: Camper Van Beethoven, Curtsy @ The Casbah. You'll still hear "Take the Skinheads Bowling" or the band's cover of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men" on the radio now and then, but Camper Van Beethoven have a pretty consistent and underrated catalog—all the more reason to catch the band now, with an extensive set of songs to pull from.