Wednesday, May 7
PLAN A: Riff Raff, Grandtheft @ House of Blues. Part of me thinks that suggesting Riff Raff as a Plan A is a terrible idea, simply for how high a douche quotient the show is likely to have. Then again, the gold-toofed rapper—who inspired James Franco's character in Spring Breakers —is just too over-the-top not to lend my endorsement. He's kind of a caricature, which is exactly why this might just be amazing. PLAN B: Jacco Gardner, Barbarian, Maston @ Soda Bar. Dutch singer / songwriter Jacco Gardner plays a gorgeous style of psychedelic pop that falls somewhere between Syd Barrett and Phil Spector's '60s pop productions. Listen to his album Cabinet of Curiosities from 2013, and be ready to fall in love with all of its sonic treats. BACKUP PLAN: Sister Speak, Hollow Wood, Gayle Skidmore @ The Casbah.
Thursday, May 8
PLAN A: Old 97's, Nikki Lane @ Belly Up Tavern. Texas alt-country heroes Old 97's have played many a time in San Diego, and each time, they've been well worth seeing. They just released a new album, but their catalog as a whole is pretty solid. Plus, if they play "Time Bomb," that's all the reason you need to go. PLAN B: Tom Jones, Lee Coulter @ House of Blues. Since the mid-1960s, Welsh icon Tom Jones has been pop-chart gold. The man's a certified hitmaker and, even at 73, still a likely underpants magnet. And at a venue the size of House of Blues, there's no way he won't put on a great show. BACKUP PLAN: The Midnight Pine, Trevor Beld Jimenez, Todd Day Wait's Pigpen @ Tin Can Ale House.
Friday, May 9
PLAN A: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Fear of Men, Ablebody @ The Casbah. I've long since gotten over the fact that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's name is twee as fuck. Their songs, however, have some of the best alt-rock hooks I've heard in years. PLAN B: One Way System, Mass Terror, Embalmers @ Soda Bar. One Way System are veterans of the '80s U.K. punk scene, with a blistering hardcore sound that's comparable to the likes of G.B.H. or The Exploited. Witness punk history and get yer ass kicked in the pit.
Saturday, May 10
PLAN A: Survival Knife, Beehive and the Barracudas, Hungry Ghost, DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. Click here for my feature on Olympia's Survival Knife. The band includes former members of Unwound and blends post-hardcore intensity with prog rock's ambition. PLAN B: Ghetto Blaster, Prize Hog, Diving For Earth @ Tin Can Ale House. Ghetto Blaster comprises ex-members of San Diego bands like Fishwife, Hostile Combover and Irradio, and their shows tend to get a bit chaotic—in the most kickass way, of course. Things might get a little out of hand when their noise-rock mayhem hits its peak, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun.
Sunday, May 11
PLAN A: Thundercat, Illuminauts @ The Irenic. Thundercat is, first and foremost, a bass wizard: He's got superhuman skills on the fretboard that boggle the mind. And he's an incredible R&B songwriter. If it's a combination of technical dazzle and wall-to-wall jams you're looking for, don't miss this show. PLAN B: Wild Wild Wets, Rose Windows, Jeffertitti's Nile @ Soda Bar. Seattle outfit Rose Windows do psychedelic rock with an atmospheric, meditative vibe. They're more about spacing out than hitting the audience with a bad trip, so they should provide a nice complement to local favorites Wild Wild Wets, whose trippy garage-rock sound goes bigger on hooks and noise. BACKUP PLAN: Prayers, High Functioning Flesh, DJ Mario Orduno @ The Casbah.
Monday, May 12
PLAN A: Little Bear, Crisis Arm, Foster Body, Witch Prayer @ The Che Café. Little Bear's Facebook bio describes them as "San Diego ambient doom punx," which immediately sells me on them. And a video of one of their performances more or less establishes that as exactly the right description. It's heavy and melodic, and it should be awesome.
Tuesday, May 13
PLAN A: People Under the Stairs, Joint Response, DJ Gar Gar, NN$ @ The Casbah. People Under the Stairs are veterans of underground hip-hop, blending hypnotic and crackly beats with chill rhymes. They've been around for more than 15 years, but with a new album due this month, they don't show any signs of slowing down. Also, I have no idea who DJ Gar Gar is, but I dig the name. BACKUP PLAN: NYPC, We Are Sirens, Midnight Faces @ Soda Bar.