PLAN A: The Coup @ The Casbah. Anyone who's sported a "Bush Isn't MY President" bumper sticker and rocked out to Public Enemy in their fuel-efficient compact should be at this Bay Area hip-hop band's show. Yes, they were the ones whose album with an image of them blowing up the World Trade Center dropped on 9/11. Gravel-voiced MC Boots Riley is up on the politics that screw the common man, but new singles like "Laugh/Love/Fuck" and "My Favorite Mutiny" will have the dance-unfriendly venue swinging.
PLAN A: Jurassic 5 @ 4th & B. It's a testament to the volume of talent in this L.A. hip-hop troupe that phenomenal deep-voiced MC Chali 2Na hasn't eclipsed the rest of his pals in J5. Written off by "harder" heads for their optimist take on old-school party hip-hop, they just keep trading verses on each successively strong album, including the brand new Feedback.
PLAN B: The Meteors @ The Casbah. According to themselves and most historians, The Meteors were the first band to spit punk rock into rockabilly, thus inventing "psychobilly." This is the 25th anniversary tour for the U.K. group, and only blood-spitting frontman P. Paul Fenech remains from the original lineup. If you've ever loved The Cramps and chuckled during a horror flick, this is your night.
PLAN C: Kite Flying Society @ Lestat's. San Diego's summery pop band (think The Shins or Rogue Wave) will officially drop their debut album, Where is the Glow?, the morning after this show.
PLAN D: Bitter:Sweet w/ Persephone's Bees @ The Beauty Bar. Two respectable female-fronted electro-pop bands this night. Bitter:Sweet is a loungy electronica project featuring Supreme Beings of Leisure founder Kiran Shahani and the swanky purr of vocalist Shana Halligan. Persephone's Bees is a bit punkier machines 'n' things project from San Francisco with Russian singer, Angelina Moysov.
PLAN A: "Sounds of the Underground" @ Soma. A solid lineup of hard rock that appeals to both the angry pimple-face and hessians starting to ask "What's a 401k?" Local melodic metal titans As I Lay Dying headline, but the supporters are also solid, with Swedish metal heroes In Flames plus Shadows Fall and the messy spectacle that is Gwar.
PLAN B: Circa Survive w/ Portugal. The Man @ House of Blues. Emo is best understood as an audio fallout from puberty. But former Saosin frontman Anthony Green made one of the few tolerable albums of the genre with Circa Survive's debut, Juturna. Proggy like Mars Volta but with Green's piercing wail that you'll either love or hate. Portugal. The Man is a strong newcomer from Portland (via Alaska), that bends electronics and indie rock with a vocalist who sounds ready for gender-reassignment surgery.
PLAN C: Violent Femmes @ Del Mar Racetrack. Simply because "Blister in the Sun" should be sung publicly once a year.
PLAN A: The Avengers @ The Casbah. Like good punks, The Avengers lasted only two years-and opened for the Sex Pistols when Rotten first touched down in America-but the San Francisco trio left quite a legend. Vocalist Penelope Houston's stage presence helped keep punk rock from becoming a fraternity of righteous dicks. They're reunited until Houston and guitarist Greg Ingraham remember they can't stand each other.
PLAN B: Al Green @ Viejas. Al Green found Jesus, lost him, found him again, wrote off all non-Jesus music and then came back to the sinful R&B we all knew and loved-all before R. Kelly was making mini soap operas. Green is what D'Angelo thought he might have been. And hearing "Let's Stay Together" at night under the Alpine stars is closer to God than most places on Earth.
PLAN C: Sputnik Monroe @ Ken Club. An Orange County band that counts at least one San Diego member, they're a proggy space-pop band for fans of Mars Volta and those who remember Space Hog.
PLAN A: Manu Chao @ Embarcadero Marina South. Manu Chao is like the Tom Waits of the Latin music world-incredibly talented, incredibly unavailable and with cult fan bases in all corners of the globe. Also like Waits, he rarely ever plays live, which makes this show one of our "Picks of the Year." Born in Paris to Spanish parents, he speaks, sings and plays in both languages, plus a few others he's picked up along the way. A must-see for any fan of Latin music.
PLAN B: The Power Chords, Manual Scan, The Atoms, Fifty On Their Heels and The Sess @ The Casbah. Probably the best all-local rock show in San Diego this month.
PLAN A: Bruce Cockburn w/ Sarah Harmer @ House of Blues. Aside for a brief stint on MTV with his '80s hit "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," Bruce Cockburn has never gotten major love from U.S. audiences the way he has in his native Canada. Call it a shame, or say that his sometimes Christian imagery and marginal efforts at rock 'n' roll material were a bit off-putting. Regardless, his new album, Life Short Call Now, is a stunner-observational poetry about our place in the world, put to a 27-piece orchestra. Sarah Harmer is another Canadian singer-songwriter who's won countless awards at home and been overlooked in the States.
PLAN A: Eagles of Death Metal w/ Peaches @ House of Blues. We just can't say it enough-Eagles of Death Metal are rock gods too busy bangin' fashion models to ascend to heaven yet. Jesse "The Devil" Hughes is a magnet on the microphone with his gay off-duty cop persona and intentionally gaudy sexual come-ons. And with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age pounding the drum kit into submission, this one could bring the House down. The other nearly equal attraction is Peaches-the psychosexual beat queen. Although her newest album, Impeach My Bush, is pretty marginal (some might say god-awful), the woman is barely 5 feet tall, shakes her ass and beats your idea of gender roles into a corner with every show. Plus, the line, "I'm only double-A, but I'm thinking triple-X" is still fantastic.
PLAN B: Rollins Band w/ X and Riverboat Gamblers @ 4th & B. This show pairs two punk standards with one solid up-and-comer. Rollins will serve as your opinionated, funny punk-jock who still screams as though he hates his vocal chords. X have aged surprisingly well, partially due to their rockabilly roots. And the Riverboat Gamblers are rock-punkers who make forgettable records but put on one of the best live shows around.