PLAN A: Karl Denson @ Winstons. June was a very good month. Every Wednesday, San Diego's pint-size phenom Karl Denson set up shop and milked his saxophone for all the sex and boogie it had. The former Greyboy Allstar's partial summer residency ends tonight. www.karldenson.com.
PLAN B: Widespread Panic @ Embarcadero Marina South. Nothing says "summer" like an unsanitary-looking white man ripping a two-minute guitar solo as the remaining sunlight evaporates over the San Diego Bay. That's what you get with Athens, Ga.'s Widespread Panic-plus some horns, hash and hippies. This generation's Lynyrd Skynyrd with more black history in 'em. www.wide spreadpanic.com.
PLAN C: Jolie Holland & Sean Hayes @ The Casbah. Jolie's a former member of The Be Good Tanyas, now doing spooky acoustic tunes on her own. Sean Hayes is basically her male mirror, with a phenomenal high-note voice. Both play folk music as if the phonograph were still a technological breakthrough. www.jolieholland.com, www.seanhayesmusic.com.
PLAN D: The Slow Poisoner @ Zombie Lounge. What was once a beloved freak show of surreal folk music in the Bay Area is down to one slightly off-his-rocker troubadour-Andrew "Poisoner," a pop artist who is vaudevillian in his ability to entertain a crowd. www.theslow poisoner.com.
PLAN A: Flipper @ The Casbah. Sheer fucking spectacle. Possibly sad. Definitely confusing and agitating. Flipper was to 1979 San Francisco what The Locust is to 2006 San Diego: a deafening chaos that is so alienating you just have to see more. They were known as "the band everyone hates," yet they became a name to drop if you wanted to impress someone who lives in a squat. Yes, Cobain wore their T-shirts, probably because The Melvins did. Yes, two members have died of heroin overdose. Yes, frontman Bruce Loose walks with a cane and has used a heart monitor onstage. Like I said-sheer fucking spectacle. Hop onstage and bark "Sex Bomb" with the old farts. www.myspace.com/flip perbruceloose.
PLAN B: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals @ The Belly Up. Girl's got pipes. This Vermont band is gaining quick notoriety because Potter has that Janis Joplin roots-blues power, and her band's not bad, either. www.gracepotter.com.
PLAN A: Grand Ole Party w/ The Prayers. If you've asked, "What are some of the best new bands in San Diego right now?", this is your answer. GOP is a bit like The Gossip-a bluesy punk trio whose female drummer/singer has a huge soul shout that belies her tiny white frame. The Prayers are what happens when the members of squall-punk band The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower embrace the pop, insert harmonies and sound a tad British. Rather pleasant. www.myspace.com/grandoleparty, www.myspace.com/thefuckingprayers.
PLAN B: Fatlip w/ Higher Minds @ 'Canes. Way too long after Pharcyde called it quits, sharp-witted, scratchy-throated funnyman Fatlip finally dropped his solo debut, The Loneliest Punk. It's not great, a bit uneven. But he's still one of the best MCs in the game, and he's joined by Higher Minds, a San Diego hip-hop troupe you best hear. Now. www.myspace.com/fatlipmusic, www.highermindstate.com.
PLAN C: Thee Emergency @ Zombie Lounge. One of Seattle's buzziest new bands, who sound straight outta Motor City with their distorted blues-punk. Their vocalist, Dita Vox, is a woman with deep-lung chops, and their live shows are reportedly not tame. www.theeemergency.com.
PLAN D: Dwarves @ The Casbah. Prepare to be insulted-both by the band and by their 20-minute set. www.thedwarves.com
PLAN A: Water that plant before it dies. Now talk dirty to it. Now alphabetize your concert-ticket-stub collection and decide which show(s) you'll see Sunday. www.furnitureporn.com
PLAN A: The Rentals @ The Belly Up. Side projects usually blow. But in 1995, Matt Sharp proved that Rivers Cuomo wasn't the only nerdy pop savant in Weezer when he and a host of pals released Return of the Rentals. Geeky to the bone and unflappably charming, the album remains a benchmark of '90s rock. Now Sharp's back with a new coterie of talented pals and will debut in San Diego. Could be horrible-awkward, like teenage lovers in bed for the first time. But we doubt it. www.therentals.com.
PLAN B: Reverend Horton Heat w/ Throw Rag @ House of Blues. Every year-sometimes more than that-the good Reverend comes through town with his tried-and-true revivalist preacher shtick and double-bass psychobilly licks. Sure, they're not as edgy as they were when Sub Pop first released Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em in 1992, but they have yet to join Brian Setzer in the "novelty genre act" category. Throw Rag is your basic roots-punk band-like Social Distortion with a bit more spit and vitriol. www.reverendhortonheat.com, www.throwrag.com.
PLAN C: Flogging Molly @ Soma. The only reason we've relegated this to the night's third-best option is because this Irish-punk band should be listened to with your sixth beer in hand. Red Bulls and Skittles just aren't the same, although frontman Dave King is a kick in the pants whether you're sober or about to go streaking. www.floggingmolly.com.
PLAN A: Ozomatli @ 'Canes. What Reverend Horton Heat is to Caucasian greasers, Ozomatli is to Latino hip-hop and alternative culture. Whether it's the stoke of seeing the band enter the venue from the back of the crowd as they snake towards the stage in a conga line, the authentic funk en español or the hybrid Spanglish raps, very few people have ever left an Ozo show yawning. www.ozomatli.com.
PLAN B: Jivewire vs. One Nation Under a Groove @ The Casbah. Once a month or so, the apparently immobile, sulking hipsters at The Casbah let their guard down and bust a move. Scarves flying, ironic T-shirts soaked in sweat, geometric haircuts losing their well-groomed angles. It redeems your impression of the terminally hip.
PLAN A: Tilly and the Wall @ Che Café. This band really should have been cast aside as a novelty act by now, what with the usual role of a drummer replaced by a tap-dancer and effusive hand-clapping, not to mention the juvenile wheeeeeeee! of their songs. But those songs-on both 2004's Wild Like Children and the newest, Bottoms of Barrels-are fantastic. Slap-happy pop with enough self-doubt and earnestness to stick with you for a while. www.tillyandthewall.com.
PLAN B: Black Heart Procession w/ Dan Sartain @ The Casbah. Black Heart has long been San Diego's mix of classical music and lost-soul mystery-the saddest band in town. Their newest, The Spell, has received glowing reviews from seemingly every publication around the globe except this one. But they're still our favorite band of miserablists. Dan Sartain is a throwback-looks and sounds like what Pony Boy from The Outsiders would've had he studied Carl Perkins and grabbed a guitar. www.blackheartproces sion.com, www.myspace.com/dansartain.