Wednesday, Aug. 26
PLAN A: Black Cobra, Beira, Dhatura @ The Hideout. Anyone who reads this column with some regularity knows that I dig metal. And when it's nice and sludgy and brutal, even better. Black Cobra does all that with just guitar and drums, so they definitely get a gold star from me. PLAN B: Be Calm Honcho, AJ Froman, Botanica Chango, Kevin Burke @ Soda Bar. I kind of think the name Be Calm Honcho is terrible, but that's my problem, I need to just get over it. Their reverb-laden psych-pop sound is good enough for me to look the other way—just this once.
Thursday, Aug. 27
PLAN A: John Nolan, Little Heroine, Jimmy Ruelas @ Soda Bar. John Nolan is a member of long-running emo outfit Taking Back Sunday, of which I'm not really a fan. But his folk-tinged solo material is more to my liking. I may be a grown-ass man, but it doesn't mean I don't have feelings. BACKUP PLAN: Old Tiger, Little Red Lung, Creature and the Woods, Marqay @ The Merrow.
Friday, Aug. 28
PLAN A: “Weird Al” Yankovic @ Del Mar Racetrack. Of all the shows lined up after the Del Mar races this year, Weird Al's is the one that got me pretty excited. On a stage that size, you want to see something with a bit more dazzle than the usual feel-good, chill-time bands. Not that you won't feel good watching Weird Al, but his wacky parody-filled set is far more fun than your average concert. PLAN B: Keepers, Teenage Burritos @ Whistle Stop. Local label Volar Records is turning six this month, and to celebrate, is hosting an anniversary show at The Whistle Stop, which happens to coincide with a new 7-inch release by Keepers. Help 'em blow out the candles by rocking out to some good tunes.
Saturday, Aug. 29
PLAN A: Wild Wild Wets, JJUUJJUU, Muscle Beech, Shady Francos, Burning Palms @ The Casbah. Has it really been that long since the last San Diego Freak Out? Apparently so, because the seasonal psychedelic showcase is upon us again, with another solid lineup of Southern California psych-sters, headlined as always by the excellent Wild Wild Wets. PLAN B: The English Beat, Warsaw Poland Bros, DJ Unite @ Belly Up Tavern. You can set your watch to The English Beat's semi-annual shows in San Diego, and here they are, right on time, bringing their deep catalog of ska and new wave jams to our region. BACKUP PLAN: Fartbarf, The Stalins of Sound, Digital Lizards of Doom @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Aug. 30
PLAN A: On an On, Eliot Sumner, Dosh @ The Casbah. You would think On An On's name would be pretty much un-Google-able, but Google's apparently smart enough to know what I'm looking for. They're a polished, dreamy group with breathy vocals and soft electronics. And on a Sunday night, that actually sounds pretty refreshing.
Monday, Aug. 31
PLAN A: Garth Algar, Oddball, Cryptic Languages @ The Casbah. Not actually Dana Carvey in a wig and glasses, but an impressively raw and ass-kicking sludge-metal band that sounds a bit like High on Fire, with some thrash metal elements for good measure. Recommended for fans of all things heavy.
Tuesday, Sept. 1
PLAN A: Miguel, Dorothy @ Observatory North Park. L.A. R&B artist Miguel blends sexy soul jams with a rock ‘n' roll streak, not unlike a certain purple-clad Minneapolitan. His new album, Wildheart , is on my shortlist of best albums of 2015, and I can only imagine it'll translate well live. PLAN B: Lee “Scratch” Perry, Subatomic Sound System @ Belly Up Tavern. Lee Perry's group The Upsetters released a highly influential dub album called Super Ape almost 40 years ago, and as we near its anniversary, Perry is taking those atmospheric reggae sounds on the road. This space-age dub platter has aged remarkably well.