Wednesday, July 13
PLAN A: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, DJ BoomStyler @ Belly Up. Seun Kuti's songs aren't half as epic as his dad's and nobody's throwing him in jail for his political lyrics. But with the help of Egypt 80, Fela Kuti's old band, the Afrobeat pioneer's saxophone-tooting son offers up some of the funkiest, most provocative Afrobeat you'll hear all year. PLAN B: H.R., Katastro, Roots Covenant, DJ Peril @ Soda Bar. H.R. is best known as the frontman of D.C. punk pioneers Bad Brains, but he won't be doing any of his legendary back flips at this show. Instead, the avowed Rastafarian will offer up echo-drenched intonations over laid-back reggae grooves. BACKUP PLAN: Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, Rodeo Ruby Love & The Maxies @ House of Blues.
Thursday, July 14
PLAN A: The Blow, He's My Brother, She's My Sister @ The Casbah. As you'll read in our feature on Page 58, The Blow's Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich has lately been exploring the bounds of music and art in an improvisational performance piece themed around pop music. It's a bit of a mystery what's exactly going to happen on stage—not even she really knows—but it's bound to be interesting. PLAN B: DJ Craze @ Voyeur. Anybody who whines that DJs aren't musicians should shut up for a second and watch DJ Craze on the decks. An award-winning turntablist, he deftly mixes hip-hop, Miami bass and dubstep to the point that individual tracks start to resemble completely new songs. But he can also get a dance floor bumping in no time. BACKUP PLAN: MC Supernatural, Abstract Rude, sojourn, Blame One, Mansini, Kahlee @ Boar Cross'n.
Friday, July 15
PLAN A: New Mexico, Chairs Missing, The Fling, DJs Brothers Ralph @ Soda Bar. New Mexico's Rob Kent and Chairs Missing's Paul Remund recently got back from a five-week tour (they were both playing in Tape Deck Mountain), and I sure am glad to have them back. While Chairs Missing's live show is simply irresistible, New Mexico's is almost legendarily rad. PLAN B: 2011 U.S. Air Guitar Championships @ The Casbah. You might think there are better things to do than watch some dude pull off “Eruption” on an imaginary guitar, but I'd choose a champion air guitarist over a crappy metalcore band any day. PLAN C: Joy, White Shrine, Sean Smith, Degero, DJ Mikey Ratt @ Tin Can Ale House. You can't go wrong with Joy's Jimi Hendrix-style blues-rock assault, but I also wouldn't want to miss San Francisco guitarist Sean Smith, whose intricate folk-rock instrumentals are downright gorgeous.
Saturday, July 16
PLAN A: The Heavy Guilt, Low Volts, Gun Runner, The Black Sands @ Glashaus Artist Collective Warehouse. The Heavy Guilt, whom we write about on this page, isn't the only band you want to check out at this show. Low Volts is a seriously badass one-man-band and Gun Runner know their way around a good pop-rock hook. PLAN B: King Khan & The Gris Gris, Shake Before Us, The Finkbombs @ The Casbah. King Khan has played in plenty of bands throughout the years—he's even collaborated with GZA of Wu-Tang Clan—but tonight this Canadian garage-rock wild man teams up with The Gris Gris, an Oakland band that infuses its retro sound with ultra-trippy psychedelic freakouts. BACKUP PLAN: Ghetto Blaster, Hepa / Titus, Kill the Capulets, Otro @ Eleven.
Sunday, July 17
PLAN A: San Diego LGBT Pride w/ Salt-N-Pepa @ Balboa Park. It's been more than 20 years since the release of “Push It,” the oft-sampled sexy-time jam that made this all-woman hip-hop powerhouse famous. But they've still got lots of attitude, their costumes are still quite wacky and their male backup dancers are as fresh-faced and handsome as ever. (See a full lineup at sdpride.org.) PLAN B: Miss Erika Davies, Trio Gadjo @ Habitat House. I couldn't think of a better place for jazz songstress Miss Erika Davies to celebrate the release of her long-awaited debut album, Galaxy Lakes. Her voice sounds great anywhere, but I suspect she'll sound truly wonderful at this intimate house venue. BACKUP PLAN: Letting Up Despite Great Faults, The Forms, Pacific Pride, Thee Goochi Boiz @ Tin Can Ale House.
Monday, July 18
PLAN A: Jeremy Messersmith, Paper Bird, Michael McGraw @ Soda Bar. You don't have to be a Star Wars geek to adore “Tatooine,” a sublime love song by Jeremy Messermith. He might be referencing Luke Skywalker's home planet, but this Minneapolis songwriter's undeniably charming indie-pop is more Wes Anderson than George Lucas. Vivid, clever and sweet, tracks like “Violet!” and “Miracles” offer the perfect soundtrack to a hipster romance.
Tuesday, July 19
PLAN A: Khaira Arby and Jeremy Messersmith Her Band, Danyavaad and The Shimmy Sisters, The Orphics @ The Casbah. Khaira Arby has more than earned her reputation as the “queen of desert rock,” as NPR refers to her. Hailing from the deserts of northern Mali, she's a stunning singer who dresses in majestic robes and sends her voice soaring over groovy drums, syncopated hand-claps and scorching electric guitar, giving fellow Malian legends Tinariwen a run for their money.
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