Wednesday, June 24
PLAN A: Au.Ra, Sextile, DJs Jon Blaj, Alex Chernow @ The Hideout. Sydney's Au.Ra make gorgeous shoegaze and dream-pop songs, laden with effects but big on melody and accessibility. Make sure to come a little early for the up-and-coming Sextile, whose name is pun-tastic! PLAN B: Hippie Sabotage, A-1, Mikos @ Soda Bar. Sacramento duo Hippie Sabotage make beat-driven pop blended with druggy synths and disorienting vocal samples. Yeah, a lot of bands do that, but theirs is pretty cool all the same, and the show is free (RSVP on the Soda Bar website). Evening planned.
Thursday, June 25
PLAN A: Head Wound City, Innerds, Crime Desire @ The Casbah. Read Seth Combs' story on hardcore supergroup Head Wound City, featuring members of The Locust and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In their first incarnation, they only played one show, so yeah, this is kind of a big deal. PLAN B: Vetiver, The Donkeys @ The Irenic. Over the past decade, Vetiver has become one of the most reliable indie rock bands in North America, and lightly psychedelic locals The Donkeys aren't far behind. If you're into solid songwriting and guitars, pencil this into your calendar. BACKUP PLAN: CJ Boyd, Kenseth Thibideau, Nathan Hubbard/Passengers @ The Hideout.
Friday, June 26
PLAN A: Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, The Devil Wears Prada, Whitechapel @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre. I'm not the biggest fan of arenas. But I'll look past my aversion for the greater good: Slayer. They're one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and they're joined by another legend: King Diamond. 'Nuff said. PLAN B: Best Coast, Bully @ Observatory North Park. I wasn't always a fan of Best Coast, but their new album California Nights won me over, thanks to some big alt-rock hooks. Good pop is good pop, and Best Coast have made their share. BACKUP PLAN: Wild Wild Wets, New Mexico, Max Pain and the Groovies, Soft Lions @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, June 27
PLAN A: Vic Mensa @ Observatory North Park. Chicago emcee Vic Mensa hasn't yet released an album, but if you've heard his house-tinged 2014 single "Down On My Luck," then you know that the dude's going to drop something amazing any day now. He's a rapper worth watching in 2015. PLAN B: Dust Moth, Kayo Dot @ Tower Bar. Kayo Dot is one of the weirdest bands in heavy music, blending doom with darkwave, and a penchant for ornate, prog-like arrangements. You won't hear another band that sounds like them all week, so get ready for something unique and cool. BACKUP PLAN: Bootsyís Rubber Band, The Earful @ Belly Up Tavern.
Sunday, June 28
PLAN A: Mono, Holly Hunt @ The Casbah. Japan's Mono don't do anything on a small scale. Their epic post-rock compositions rise and swell into massive crescendos, and you might feel some real emotions listening to them. You've been warned. BACKUP PLAN: JP Harris and the Tough Choices, Jake Loban and the Benders @ Soda Bar.
Monday, June 29
PLAN A: Big Business, Death Eyes, Lord Howler @ The Casbah. Big Business have played in San Diego many times before, and it's always a good time. They make loud and burly stoner rock with just bass, drums and vocals, and they pretty much prove that's all you need to rock an audience senseless. BACKUP PLAN: Pupppy, O-Face, Holling, Degen @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, June 30
PLAN A: The Peripherals, Panga, Patrick Lanzetta @ The Merrow. The laid-back indie pop and strummy Americana of The Peripherals isn't typically the kind of thing I'd slap a "Plan A" on, but dammit, they've earned it. They write a damn fine song, and do a vocal harmony better than most. Supporting your local music scene is never a bad idea, and if youíre going to do it, make sure to see one of the better bands.