(For websites listed below, MS=www.myspace.com)
PLAN A: The Knitters @ the Belly Up. Whether it's the working-class ethos or the outlaw mythology, punks make pretty good hicks. Just look at Hank III, Mike Ness, Drag the River or the members of X, whose reincarnation as the western revivalist band The Knitters has yielded two very good albums. Live, expect some originals, plus some hayseed cover songs, including rehashes of some X material. www.theknitters.net. PLAN B: Sir Splendid, Kzo Rock @ The Casbah. Sir Splendid is a throwback to lazy psychedelic pop, when reverb was as mandatory as muttonchops. Kzo Rock is an interesting one-man project that could share space on the freak-blues float with Bob Log III or Scott H. Biram. MS/sirsplendid, MS/kzorock.
PLAN A: Particle, Chicago Afrobeat Project @ the Belly Up. There are a few live bands on the planet that are a must-see--Gogol Bordello is one, L.A.'s Particle is another. With jam-band fever on the brain and disco and prog-rock in their hearts, a night with them is one overworked sweat pore after another. Chicago Afrobeat Project is as advertised--with anywhere from eight to 14 members, percussion everywhere, horns aplenty and the spirit of Fela Kuti set loose. www.particlepeople.com, www.chicagoafrobeatproject.com. PLAN B: Golden Hill Ramblers w/ The Palominos @ The Casbah. Both the Golden Hill Ramblers and The Palominos are country swing bands that bring back the good ol' days when great-grandma sat around a radio talkin' about the devil while she stomped her foot to the tunes. MS/goldenhillramblers, MS/palominosband.
PLAN A: Treasure Mammal @ The Whistle Stop. Aside from My Morning Jacket, this is the must-see show of the week. Treasure Mammal is a middle-school teacher, Abe Gill, from Phoenix whose dorky synth-pop freakouts include Jane Fonda workout tape loops, tributes to Luther Vandross, self-help mantras and stuff about doin' your mama. Live, he's known to squirm on the ground, leap on stuff (including audience members) and generally make a spectacle of himself. www.treasuremammal.com. PLAN B: This Flood Covers the Earth, Comadre, 400 Blows @ Che Cafe. This Flood Covers the Earth is a brutal, stop-start hardcore band with distorted downbeats and a vocalist, Charles Wagner, who sounds like a slighlty more coherent version of Some Girls' Wes Eisold. Redwood City's Comadre plays fast, pummeling hardcore with jolting breakdowns a bit like the Blood Brothers. L.A.'s 400 Blows is a real hybrid--metal, punk and distorted blues riffs. MS/thisfloodcoverstheearth, MS/comadre, www.400blows.net. SLEEPERS: Society! w/ The Sess @ The Ken Club (MS/questionyourauthority, MS/theses). B-Side Players, Delta Nove @ the Belly Up (www.bsideplayers.com, MS/deltanoveband).
PLAN A: Blackalicious w/ Pigeon John @ the Belly Up. Quick-mouthed smoothie Gift of Gab and Chief XCel are a bit like Ozomatli in that they play in San Diego every other day, it seems. And every time, it's the best hip-hop show in town. Pigeon John is the affable, self-effacing dude who releases one summertime hip-hop album after another. www.blackalicious.com, www.pigeonjohn.com. PLAN B: A.J. Croce w/ Gayle Skidmore & The Eskimos @ Lestat's. In terms of pure piano-pop, few do it better than San Diego's A.J. Croce. Gayle Skidmore is a local singer-songwriter standout, adding a touch of dark, orchestral feel to her adult contemporary fare. MS/gayleskidmore. PLAN C: Jakked Rabbits @ Hot Monkey Love Cafe. To hear these barely teen punks do fast, chaotic punk about beans making you "toot" is as inspiring as fart-punk gets. Not your average middle-school pop-punk tripe. MS/jakkedrabbits. SLEEPER: Seize the Night @ the Zombie Lounge (MS/seizethenightrocknroll).
PLAN A: Grand Ole Party @ the Beauty Bar. If NYE's about drinking tramp-aigne with your closest friends, then go local. Grand Ole Party is one of San Diego's breakout bands of 2006, a blues-garage trio with a female singer-drummer who breaks a sweat channeling Aretha. MS/grandoleparty. PLAN B: The Pharcyde @ Canes. Sure, there's no Slimkid Tre, but Bootie Brown and Imani Wilcox are keeping the name and weird hip-hop alive with a live band in tow. www.thepharcyde.com. PLAN C: Donovan Frankenreiter @ House of Blues. This is where the surf culture will be--watching the underrated pro-surfer-cum-troubadour strum some hippie soul-rock. www.donavonf.com. SLEEPERS: Steve Poltz & The Rugburns @ the Belly Up (www.poltz.com). He Is Legend @ Soma (www.heislegend.com). Creepy Creeps, Thee Corsairs, Monsters From Mars @ The Ken Club (MS/thecreepycreeps, www.theecorsairs.com, www.monstersfrommars.com).
Organ Transplant @ Nearest Hospital. Your liver does not appreciate your idea of a good time.
PLAN A: My Morning Jacket w/ Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ House of Blues. If you miss this show, we'd like to express our deepest condolences, because a family member must've died. If "transcendence" is still possible in popular music, My Morning Jacket will achieve it (see our feature story on Page 29). Elvis Perkins, son of Psycho actor Anthony, is one of NYC's most promising singer-songwriters, with a sad-sack, beautiful voice and a band (in Dearland) on stand-up bass and strings. www.mymorningjacket.com, www.elvisperkins.net. PLAN B: ZibraZibra @ Jumping Turtle. The Twin Cities love these barely-outta-art-high-school boys who mix electronic pop and hair-metal with a totally '80s (and totally manic) live show. www.zibrazibra.com.