Every time the annual pop culture extravaganza of Comic-Con happens in San Diego, the festivities inevitably spill out well beyond the convention center and into the various nooks and crannies of the city. And that, of course, includes live music.
Much like fellow thrash metal legends Metallica did a few years back, Slayer will have a major presence at Comic-Con this year. On Thursday, July 21, the band will be playing an intimate show at the House of Blues, which is already sold out. (For reference, they played the 10-times-bigger Sleep Train Amphitheatre last year.) That said, it's Slayer, so if you need to call in some favors or shell out a little extra for tickets on the secondary market, there's no judgment here. On Friday afternoon, the band will be doing signings at the Nuclear Blast booth at 1 p.m. Make sure to have your limited-edition colored vinyl copy of Reign in Blood ready.
The House of Blues, in an ongoing tradition that's been taking place as long as I can remember, will also host a headlining show on Saturday, July 23, from ska superheroes The Aquabats. The band will be joined by Nerf Herder, whose nerd-rock cred includes a name that references Star Wars , a song-length tribute to Van Halen and, most importantly, the distinction of being the band behind the theme for Buffy the Vampire Slayer . And while you're downtown, on Thursday, July 21, beatmaking mystic and onetime San Diegan Gonjasufi will be hosting a listening party at Chee Chee for his new album Callus , which is out in August. Gonjasufi will be DJing at the event as well.
While we're on the subject of nerds, The Merrow, in keeping with past tradition, is hosting a night of nerdcore hip-hop on July 23. Mega Ran and Bitforce, who combine 8-bit production with geek culture-referencing rhymes, will headline the show, which also includes live video-game soundtrack purveyors Kirby's Dream Band, along with Vic Viper and The Koopas.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is doing a takeover of a variety of different venues in San Diego throughout Comic-Con as part of "Cool Blue Comic-Con," named after the beer brand's mustachioed retro mascot. These include events at Bluefoot in North Park, Thruster's Lounge in Pacific Beach and Chee Chee Downtown, in addition to a metal showcase at Brick by Brick on Sunday, July 24. The show will feature performances by Ashen Earth, Voices of Ruin, Ratt Black and Christ Killer, as well as an art show, games and prizes. Brick by Brick will also feature two nights of SuicideGirls Black Heart Burlesque, on July 22 and 23, featuring striptease performances from the famed alt-girl troupe with even more pop-culture nods than usual.
If you prefer your rock shows to feature bands in costume (and you're not immediately thinking of The Aquabats), then your best bet is to head to The Casbah for Ziggy Shuffledust and The Spiders from Mars. They'll perform a tribute to the late, great David Bowie on Saturday, July 23. One night before that, on Friday, July 22, Japanese metal trio Boris will play their album Pink in its entirety, which will feature no costumes Iím aware of, but it'll rip. The Casbah is also putting on a live taping of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast featuring Scott Aukerman at The Irenic on July 22, in case you want to get some laughter in before the headbanging.
“Weird Al” Yankovic
There is, however, one major concert coming to town that might surpass all of the above for sheer nerdy goodness: "Weird Al" Yankovic. Weird Al performs at the Open Air Theatre on July 21, and fans can expect essentially all of the following: Costume changes, multimedia interaction, prosthetic makeup and parody songs—lots of parody songs. Here's hoping that he ends up breaking out some of his famed pop song medleys, performed entirely on accordion, of course.
I'm already exhausted just thinking about the possibility of making it to all of these shows (or even a handful) but whether you're trying to catch 'em all or simply choosing your own adventure, there are Comic-Con week music events for fans of all stripes