Wednesday, Dec. 5
PLAN A: Death Grips, Cities Aviv @ The Casbah. With MC Ride’s savage, raw-throated rhymes and drummer Zach Hill’s lunatic production, Sacramento noise-rap group Death Grips has the wild-eyed, all-or-nothing approach of a terrorist organization. Consider, for example, how they recently got booted from Epic after dropping their new album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, online for free. PLAN B: Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ Belly Up Tavern. Time to dust off the hippie garb and spark up a doobie—Jerry Garcia’s ghost is coming to town! With The Black Crowes still on indefinite hiatus, Chris Robinson leads this band with psych-tinged country jams. (They also play the Belly Up on Thursday, Dec. 6.)
Thursday, Dec. 6
PLAN A: Monster Rally, Zochi, Mystery Cave, Sasquatch, DJ Adamnt @ Soda Bar. Headed by Cleveland beatmaker Ted Feighan, Monster Rally specializes in light, whimsical electronic music derived from retro exotica and Caribbean groove. It’s light and tropical, but a listener might also detect a hint of holiday cheer. PLAN B: David Bazan, Stagnant Pools @ The Casbah. Bazan will play the awesome Pedro the Lion album Control front to back. ’Nuff said. BACKUP PLAN: Tiësto @ Valley View Casino Center. Want to know what it’s like to be in a sea of sweaty, Day-Glocolored bodies, guided by a throbbing “EDM” beat? Go see Dutch dance kingpin Tiësto to find out.
Friday, Dec. 7
PLAN A: “Wrex the Halls” w/ The Killers, M83, Passion Pit, Tegan and Sara, The Joy Formidable, Imagine Dragons, Youngblood Hawke, Audio Addiction @ Viejas Arena. I saw M83 in L.A. recently and found it hilarious when the audience screeched along to the opening hook of their song “Midnight City.” Don’t be surprised if you’re treated to a similar, banshee-like singalong at this blowout put on by 91X. PLAN B: Curren$y, The League, Trackwide, Fly Ly, Jevy, F.O.E., Gbadd @ Porter’s Pub. Curren$y likes the good things in life—and he clearly wants to be one of those good things. That much is clear on songs like “Jet Life” and “What It Look Like,” in which everything sounds nice and sleek. BACKUP PLAN: Tom Grrrl, Watercolor Paintings, Adams & Eves, Sledding with Tigers @ Ché Café.
Saturday, Dec. 8
PLAN A: Sleep Lady, Archons, Divided by Design @ Soda Bar. Sleep Lady’s new album, So Long Lonely Ghost, has everything a post-rocker could want: monster metal riffs, complex song structures, shoegaze-y textures, even a sense of humor (one song’s called “I Wanted to Be a Penguin Forever”). Check out my review. PLAN B: J-Live, 4two7, DJ Veterano, Norm Rockwell, Daeta @ The Ruby Room. On his Facebook page, underground hip-hop vet J-Live lists “Dopeness” as his chief interest. Indeed, he’s got dope skills both on the mic and turntables, and he plays lots of dope cuts at a monthly Atlanta residency called Hot vs. Dope. BACKUP PLAN: Metric, Grand Tarantula, Beast Patrol @ House of Blues.
Sunday, Dec. 9
PLAN A: O’Death, World/Inferno, Bobby Joe Ebola @ The Casbah. Depending on the mood they’re in, New York folkies O’Death can be as wily as a feral hog or as measured as your wizened grandpa. While the quintet has penned more than a few rip-roaring rockers, they’ve also got many intimate, haunting ballads under their sleeves. PLAN B: Turbo Fruits, White Lung, Mrs. Henry @ Soda Bar. Nashville’s Turbo Fruits hold it down when it comes to fun, beer-soaked rock ’n’ roll. But they don’t stand a chance against White Lung, a gnarly Canadian punk band armed with razor-sharp riffs.
Monday, Dec. 10
PLAN A: Snoop Dogg, Pac Div, DJ Artistic @ Belly Up Tavern. Nobody can step to Snoop Dogg. Not only does he have one of the most unmistakable voices in rap, he’s also been writing some sweet reggae tunes under a new alter-ego, Snoop Lion. Expect to hear a mix of classic hits and Snoop Lion cuts (like the solid “La La La”) at this show. BACKUP PLAN: The Babies, Wet Illustrated, Painted Mirror @ Eleven.
Tuesday, Dec. 11
PLAN A: Wayne “The Train” Hancock @ The Shakedown Bar. With his weathered voice, rugged looks and rootsy repertoire of country and rockabilly, Austin musician Wayne Hancock seems like he came straight out of the 1940s. BACKUP PLAN: Thrones, Bangladesh, White Mule @ Soda Bar.