Dan Bern at Lestat’s
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Thursday 13
From Columbus, Ohio, cult-y collective the Black Swans bring their brand of haunted folk to Soda Bar to set up the April release of their fourth full-length, Don’t Blame the Stars, a concept album about earthly faith — in music, friends, and self. Some of Stars was recorded before the summer ’08 death of cofounding string-player Noel Sayer and includes the artist’s final thoughts and songs. The Swans last year released a split seven-inch with genre luminary Bonnie “Prince” Billy, a Larry Jon Wilson tribute with links to both “corker” and “collectible.” A lot of what the Swans sell is limited, so grab what you can from the merch guy. With our own “blue-collar country” duo El Monte Slim and Joe Camacho’s pedal steel settin’ it up, these’d be the sets to see Thursday night.... Else: NYC’s Wet Ink Ensemble will “combine jazz, punk, experimental, electronic, and classical music into an innovative synthesis” at the Loft at UCSD. Sounds like school.... Brent Hinds of Mastodon stretches out in West End Motel and Fiend Without a Face at Casbah. The former sounds like “Nick Cave fronting Gogol Bordello” — I could see and hear that — the latter plays “rockabilly porno metal.” One-man thrash band Pant Hoots goes first. A pant hoot isn’t nec. what you think it is...it’s how chimps say hi. There’s your one thing for today. You can go back to bed!

Friday 14
The mighty Convoy rolls into Casbah for two nights to help celebrate this month’s 22 years of rock-club awesomeness. You remember Convoy from the early oughts — put out a couple rootsy garagecana records, got the national nod with a recording of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” for Sheraton Hotels. No? They went on to form Louis XIV? One of those guys does Nervous Wreckords? Anyway, it’s kind of a big-deal reunion, and with Blackout Party on Friday and Behind the Wagon on Saturday, these shows will sell out.... For you snoozers, remix masters Teengirl Fantasy join Pictureplane and the Illuminauts at Soda Bar for a night of ’lectronic rock...up the street at Eleven, trailer-park punks the Hitchhikers catch a ride with new local hookup the Tuggs (Joey from Lady Dottie & the Diamonds, Steve from the Dragons)...pop-rock quartet the Mashtis and lounge lady Miss Erika Davies make a Whistle Stop stop, while DJ Robin Roth spins ’round sets. Dave Good had a chat with the first lady of Industry this week. Flip or click to “Blurt” for that...Texas roots-rockers Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights shine on Brick by Brick...and Soma stages one of them great big bills, featuring pop-punk by the indie kids of a Dull Science, Get Back Loretta, Stamps, and a whole bunch more bold type. Just click this for the list: somasandiego.com.

Saturday 15
Tin Can Ale House stacks up a doozie of a deal Saturday night — this weekend’s gig to get to by a gol dang mile, btfw — with the Babies (a newish band that features Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls and Kevin Morby of Woods), psych-punk by Brooklyn DIY heroes and Robert Christgau–approved So So Glos, Woodsist signees White Fence (featuring that guy from Darker My Love), and hot-shit locals Trap Gold, who also play in the Kabbs and the Old In Out.... Miss the door there, roll down to Anthology, where Kim Wilson and his Fabulous Thunderbirds will blow out their brand of Texas blues-rock...Chicago’s jazz-and-blues banjo man Otis Taylor will be out at Humphreys Backstage on the bay...We Came as Romans march into Soma to preview their new t’do, a reissue CD/DVD pack for ’09 debut To Plant a Seed...Til Two turns out some country-fried fare with Portland duo Lana Rebel and like-minded locals River City and Behind the Wagon...while L.A. newgrass nonet Old Man Markley drops their punk’d Fat Wreck Chords debut Guts N’ Teeth at Eleven with our own folk-punk big band the Downs Family.

Sunday 16
How about hallucinogenics? The androgynous big-city gypsy Teaadora Nikolova (lady voice, man hands, femme fatale pop — you tell me) brings the ambience to Tin Can Ale House with tourmates Derek Hart and Old Lava and local dreamscape faves Primitive Noyes.... No? Pluck some pop metal with new J. Mascis joint Sweet Apple and hard-rocking Dead Meadow at Casbah...or have one of them why-am-I-laughing fits with political satirist Roy Zimmerman at AcousticMusicSanDiego. Dude’s pretty funny. Suss out some of his YouTubes.

Monday 17
“And I, I must be high, to say goodbye.” Don’t be so anti-Monday this week, as alt-pop porch bands Rookie Card and Billy Midnight and a whole lotta friends (John Meeks, Joanie Mendenhall, plus members of Silent Comedy, Blackout Party, 7th Day Buskers, Rio Peligroso, and Plural) will perform Wilco’s A.M. album at Casbah.

Tuesday 18
From Downers Grove, Illinois, genre-jumping guitar gal Muriel Anderson and her pals Tierra Negra play Dizzy’s behind her saucy new t’do New World Flamenco with Tierra Negra.... Jimmy LaValle as Album Leaf will be at Casbah behind last year’s Sub Pop set A Chorus of Storytellers with neo-soul supergroup the Hot Moon and slo-fi four-piece Little White Teeth.... Shred heads, check this out: early Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth will stack ’em at Brick by Brick with loud-ass locals Brett Ellis and Taz Taylor.

Wednesday 19
Lestat’s welcomes L.A. folkie Dan Bern to its Paranormal Heights nightspot. The prolific songsmith (something like 600 songs to his credit) is degreed from the Dylan-Guthrie School of Tuneage. He is an Independent Music Awards winner for Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album for ’06 offering Breathe, a recommendable inroad to this fringe artist. For more of a retrospective, last year Bern released sort of a career compendium with Live in Los Angeles.... Best of the rest this hump night: alt-country poster boy Rhett Miller and his sometimes quartet the Old 97’s roll into Belly Up behind New West Records release The Grand Theatre, Volume One. Rock-n-soul rowdy Langhorne Slim will set the Solana Beach stage.... Tin Can Ale House will pop the top on free-jazz experimentalists Elliott Levin & the Seesaw Ensemble.... While Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger and his Jazz Trio play Anthology behind last year’s spaced-out Singularity. Prog-jazz? Why not.
Barnaby Monk

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