Wednesday, Sept. 23
PLAN A: The Skull, Lord Howler, Beira, DJ Haze @ The Hideout. The Skull's guitars sound like they could give you carbon monoxide poisoning; they actually can't, so you're in luck. Just big, meaty stoner rock that grooves.
Thursday, Sept. 24
PLAN A: Titus Andronicus, Spider Bags, Baked @ The Irenic. Titus Andronicus' new album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy , is 90-plus minutes of conceptual punk that's highbrow, yet unbelievably catchy. It's easy to imagine them playing stadiums, so savor a more intimate show while you can. PLAN B: The Lemonheads, Dumb Numbers, Triptides @ Belly Up Tavern. I don't know about you, but I feel pretty comfortable saying "It's a Shame About Ray" was one of the best alt-rock songs of the '90s. I won't go so far as to say it's underrated, but I'd want to hear them play it live—wouldn't you? BACKUP PLAN: Lou Barlow, Pall Jenkins, O @ The Casbah.
Friday, Sept. 25
PLAN A: The Coathangers, Birth Defects, Flames of Durga, Shady Francos @ The Casbah. The Coathangers do garage punk with a whole lot of attitude. They're not technical dynamos, but their volume and energy more than make up for it. Plan B: Death Cab for Cutie, Best Coast @ Open Air Theatre. I'm not the Death Cab for Cutie fan that I used to be, but The Photo Album and We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes still hit all the right notes for me. I can't help but lend them my endorsement, even if I'm not crazy about their new album. BACKUP PLAN: Age of Collapse, Ruins, Crime Desire, Dhatura @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, Sept. 26
PLAN A: Shannon and the Clams, Cool Ghouls, Teenage Burritos, DJ Craig Oliver @ The Casbah. Shannon and the Clams' brand of garage pop is steeped in '50s-era rock 'n' roll, and it's a throwback in the best way. Campy, catchy and fun, Shannon and the Clams will make your weekend. PLAN B: Wild Wild Wets, Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, many others @ Adams Avenue Street Fair. The Adams Avenue Street Fair is an annual highlight, with lots of great bands performing, beer gardens, street food and other fun. And it's free! Bonus: You'll be able to get out early enough to see another show. BACKUP PLAN: Golden Void, Color, Shujaa Saati @ Tower Bar.
Sunday, Sept. 27
PLAN A: Naked Raygun, The Touchies, The Two Tens, Records With Roger @ The Casbah. Chicago's Naked Raygun were part of the same scene that produced badass punk bands like Big Black. And though their name might not be as familiar, they made some classic post-hardcore records in the '80s. They're underground legends. PLAN B: Barbarian, Birdy Bardot, Soft Lions, many others @ Adams Avenue Street Fair. Day two of the Adams Avenue Street Fair looks just as good as the first, and yet again, it's free. It only goes until 7 p.m., so if you need to work Monday morning, you won't feel quite as worn out (probably). BACKUP PLAN: Inaeona, Weight Of The Sun, Born to Rise, Terrans @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Sept. 28
PLAN A: Swervedriver, Gateway Drugs @ The Casbah. I saw Swervedriver earlier this year, and they were amazing. I see no reason why the shoegaze icons can't deliver another amazing set of guitar-heavy jams, both noisy and melodic in equal measure. PLAN B: "Radiohead Under Cover" @ The Office. The Office has been doing the "Under Cover" series for a while, and in this edition, members of Taurus Authority, The Midnight Pine and The Silent Comedy will offer their unique interpretations of Radiohead songs.
Tuesday, Sept. 29
PLAN A: Talk in Tongues, Inspired and the Sleep @ The Loft at UCSD. Talk in Tongues have a touch of psychedelia in their funky, heady pop sound, and itís good enough for me to overlook the fact they share their name with a Natalie Imbruglia song.