Wednesday, Jan. 28
PLAN A: The Devil Makes Three, Joe Pug @ House of Blues. Busker rock sort of had its moment in the sun and has since more or less passed—at least until the next Lumineers record comes out. But I can get behind the old-timey speakeasy gypsy folk of The Devil Makes Three, who at least have some Tom Waits in their veins to counteract the suspenders and mustaches.
Thursday, Jan. 29
PLAN A: Karma to Burn, Sierra, Amigo, Mojave Green @ Brick by Brick. If you have any trouble finding the Karma to Burn show on Thursday, just follow the massive cloud of marijuana smoke. I'm only half kidding: The band has a long history as one of the great stoner-rock bands of our time, with chunky riffs that can stand alongside those by Kyuss and Masters of Reality. Heavy always goes better with some melody, and here you'll get both. PLAN B: The Dollyrots, The Touchies, Pleasure Fix @ Soda Bar. The Dollyrots play perky, snotty punk-pop in the vein of The Muffs or The Goops, with a little twist of Joan Jett. They can be a little on the silly side, but there's no getting around just how damn catchy they are. If it's a carefree night of hooks and dancing like an awkward teenager (but without the actual teenagers), then this is the show you're looking for. BACKUP PLAN: Nekrofilth, Weaponizer, Hammered, Christ Killer @ Tower Bar.
Friday, Jan. 30
PLAN A: Nothing, Tony Molina, Witness 9 @ Soda Bar. Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing are signed to famed metal label Relapse, though they're not a metal band, and not really even that close to being one. They have some hardcore cred, for sure, but when you get down to it, they make dense, layered guitar rock with dreamy tones. And that's just fine by me. PLAN B: Chateau, Speaker in Reverse @ Whistle Stop Bar. Dark synth-pop locals Chateau make their live debut at this show, and it's always exciting when San Diego gives birth to another interesting new band. Their track posted to Soundcloud, "Bury You," sounds like contemporary synth-based outfits like Glasser or Purity Ring, and the band shows a lot of promise. This could very well be the beginning of something big. BACKUP PLAN: Darlington, Dan Padilla, Idols Plague, Fantasy Arcade @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, Jan. 31
PLAN A: Wale, Doja Cat @ Observatory North Park. Baltimore rapper Wale first turned heads with 2008's Mixtape About Nothing, in which he used Seinfeld as a theme for some innovative conceptual ideas. He's since moved into more mainstream pop-rap territory, but the dude's still got some great songs in his catalog, and he might even break out some of the jams from that early mixtape.
Sunday, Feb. 1
PLAN A: Chips, Dip, Beer, A Giant Novelty Foam Finger @ Your House. So, I'll be straight with you—I'm not the biggest football fan. Not because of politics or anything like that, just that I get bored pretty easily. But even if you're like me, and you'd rather go see some punk bands than the Super Bowl, for instance, well, no venue is really giving you that option. Most clubs are closed, so you might as well settle into that easy chair and crack open a cold one.
Monday, Feb. 2
PLAN A: Jukebox the Ghost, Twin Forks, Secret Someones @ Soda Bar. I've seen Jukebox the Ghost live before, and while the thing I remember most is their cover of New Order's "Temptation," they're an overall solid pop group with some catchy, fun melodies. If you ever hoped that a band would cross-pollinate the styles of Vampire Weekend and Ben Folds Five, then this is the band for you. PLAN B: Pleasure Fix, The Slashes, The Bassics @ The Casbah. Pleasure Fix is a little bit punk, a little bit sleaze, and a whole lot of rock 'n' roll. Badassery—and dirty, fuzzy guitar riffs—is the name of their game, and $6 is a small price to pay for a good ass-kicking on a Monday night.
Tuesday, Feb. 3
PLAN A: LA Witch, Amerikan Bear @ The Hideout. On a basic level, LA Witch are a garage-rock band similar to the many other garage-rock acts in Southern California. But what sets them apart is the combination of eerie, dark tones they add in, making what might have been a more straightforward sound into one that haunts more than simply blows out the eardrums. It's still good fun, but fun like a beach party with ghosts. BACKUP PLAN: Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Authentic Sellout, The Bassics @ The Casbah.