The big guns
Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista on Saturday, May 16. The first big show of the season, the co-headlining “NINJA” tour marks the first time the original lineup of Jane's has played together in more than 15 years.
No Doubt at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on Friday, May 22, and Saturday, Aug. 8. Taking more than five years off from touring certainly didn't diminish Gwen and Co.'s popularity. It's hard to sell out Cricket as is, but demand was so high for tickets that No Doubt added a second date in August.
Rock N Roll Marathon on Sunday, May 31. Dozens of bands, including The English Beat and Bedford Groove, play more than 20 stages throughout the city. Oh, and there's some kind of race happening that day as well. Starting line is in Balboa Park. www.rnrmarathon.com.
Camera Lucida at the Conrad Prebys Music Center at UCSD on Monday, June 1. Trust us, with amazing acoustics and a design from the same guy who did the Met, you want to check out UCSD's newest concert hall. This chamber-music concert features top players from the San Diego Symphony and the UCSD music program. music.ucsd.edu.
Humphrey's by the Bay is always the most intimate outdoor alternative to the summer festival shows. Be sure to check out Erykah Badu (Thursday, June 4), Tears for Fears (Monday, July 20), Chris Isaak (Friday, Sep. 4) and the triple-night threat of Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett and Jackson Browne (Aug. 10, 11 and 13). Low on cash? Find a buddy with a boat and watch from the bay. www.humphreysconcerts.com.
San Diego County Fair Concerts at Del Mar Fairgrounds. Various dates throughout summer. I imagine my East County doppelganger looks forward to the County Fair concert lineup they way I look forward to who's playing Street Scene. And with Bret Michaels (Thursday, June 18) and Joan Jett (Friday, July 3) playing this year, my doppelganger will happily miss a Rock of Love marathon for some fried Twinkies and fist pumping.
Coldplay at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on Thursday, July 16. U2 is skipping San Diego on their tour, but the second biggest band in the land is coming through, complete with those faux French military uniforms they've been sporting lately.
4 O'Clock Fridays and Saturday infield concerts at the Del Mar Racetrack. July 22 through Sept. 9. Now rivals Humphrey's as one of the city's best summer concert series, only with a decidedly younger crowd coming out not for the ponies, but for acts such as Ziggy Marley and Violent Femmes. Expect this year's lineup to be announced in June. www.dmtc.com.
Snoop Dogg and Slightly Stoopid at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 25. The world's coolest rapper and San Diego's own version of Sublime combine forces for one gigantic smoke-out. Worth it if only for the massive contact high.
Judas Priest and White Snake at SDSU Open Air Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Awesome '80s metal that conjures up visions of gay leather bars and Tawny Kitaen doing the splits on the hood of a car. What's not to like?
AC/DC at San Diego Sports Arena on Thursday, Aug. 6. These guys still put on a hell of a show, and how often do you get to see a 54-year-old Scotsman in a school-boy uniform?
Depeche Mode at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on Friday, Aug. 14. We're still not sure what exactly Andrew Fletcher does in Depeche Mode except stand around and look busy, but the rest of the electro-pop trio still puts on a hell of a show.
Green Day and Kings of Leon are playing back-to-back shows at Cox Arena at SDSU on Thursday, Aug. 20, and Friday, Aug. 21, respectively. “Sex on Fire” or “American Idiot?” How's an aging rocker to choose?
Che Underground shows at The Casbah on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30. Legendary locals like The Answers, The Gay Dennys and The Wallflowers reunite to rock The Casbah once again.
Designer Drugs at Beauty Bar on Thursday, June 4. This New York DJ duo recently played a set at El Dorado that was off the chain. Here's your second chance to see why your buddy couldn't even make it to brunch on Sunday because he was so exhausted from dancing the night before.
Radaid at Ruby Room on Saturday, June 6. If you're a fan of Si*Se, Sigur Rós or Aterciopelados, then you have to check out these electro-rockers from Guadalajara.
Holy Fuck at The Casbah on Sunday, June 7. When Yo La Tengo goes noise rock, hipster guys start to fog up their thick black frames in excitement.
Bird Park Summer Concerts at Bird Park (Upas and 28th St.) This free music series in North Park was a big success last year and features great local bands and a cool vibe. Dates TBD. www.npcasummerconcerts.org.
No Knife at Belly Up on Thursday, June 18. If you missed their first show in nearly six years at The Casbah, here's a second chance to see the legendary indie rockers.
Air Guitar Championships at The Casbah on Saturday, June 20. Watch guys with names like Hot Lixx Hulahan and Shreddy Mercury compete for the crown of world's greatest fake guitarist.
The Zeros at Bar Pink on Thursday, June 25. The all original lineup of San Diego's O.G. punks play their first show together in nearly three decades. Not to be missed.
Three Mile Pilot at Belly Up on Thursday, July 16. After nearly a decade apart, the band that eventually birthed Pinback and The Black Heart Procession is back and working on a new album.
Bedouin Soundclash at Belly Up on Thursday, July 30. Rock / reggae / electro music from Canada whose songs were featured on Grey's Anatomy. Way better than it sounds.
Independence Jam at Oceanside Pier on Sunday, June 7. You'll have to hit up craigslist for tickets to the sold-out fest, but may be worth it to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Black Keys and Metric.
The 5th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas on Saturday, June 27. The guys in Switchfoot have got the beach festival down to a science. For the past four years, they've been appealing to the bro set with surf contests, good nosh from local restaurants and mellow sounds from acts like Jason Mraz and Nickel Creek's Sean and Sara Watkins. And money raised from the fest will benefit local chapters of Stand Up For Kids. www.switchfoot.com/bro-am.
North Park Music Thing at the Lafayette Hotel (2223 El Cajon Blvd.) on Friday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 9. San Diego's version of South by Southwest will feature more than 150 musical acts spread out over 20 stages in North Park and beyond. www.northparkmusicthing.com.
Warped Tour at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre on Saturday, Aug. 22. There's nearly 100 different punk and hip-hop acts to choose from, but might be worth going just to see Gallows, Flogging Molly and P.O.S.
Street Scene on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29. We thought Green Day was a shoo-in to play, but they'll be in town the week before (see above), and we still don't know where the fest will take place. Our guess? The Beastie Boys, The Flaming Lips, Wilco and My Bloody Valentine rock Downtown. At least we hope that's the case.