Thursday 2
"Bad Kids." Road-hardened Atlanta indie quartet Black Lips hit like a torrent live, as evidenced on their '06 show disc Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo, which was supposedly recorded by John Reis in TJ. Who knows. Their 2007 studio follow-up Good, Bad, Not Evil was immediate in its punk-pop catchiness and R&B rumble, giving indie kids their Strokes and jaded critics a DIY garage group to gush for. If you  haven't been kissed by Black Lips yet, pucker up, buds, as the tour bus busts for Belly Up tonight behind local Humanimals Grand Ole Party and Costa Mesa crew Japanese Motors. Bar bill of the week by a country mile.... Talking Head David Byrne's gone gray, but the multimedia artist wears it well, touring a road show of big-city proportions through  Humphrey's.  Byrne's out to tout his latest Brian Eno collaboration, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. And  there's a dance troupe!... Big-rawk experimentalists Mars Volta will charge  SDSU's Open Air Theatre with prog-rock psych-outs and leave numb drums in their wake. Taste test this  year's crit-hit Bedlam in Goliath before ordering.... Rock-roll throwbacks Ringers, Roses on Her Grave, and Desert Diamonds shine on Casbah.... While L.A.'s Roll the Tanks razes Radio Room to  ghettotech.

Friday 3
The  Frames' Glen Hansard and Czech singer-songwriter Markéta Irglová appeared in '06 art-house flick Once, a sad-sacch love story saved by the "community of song," particularly "Falling Slowly," the hit single from the fillums Academy Award–winning soundtrack disc The Swell Season. The duo now tour as the Swell Season, and you can check some YouTube takes from last  week's Austin City Limits set. Sam  Beam's top-shelf Iron and Wine in support, making this Open Air Theatre bill the big gig Friday night.... Too sickening sweet? Well, the doctor is in at Belly Up. Nawlins piano man Dr. John brings the boogie-woogie to town behind his latest ode to home, The City That Care Forgot. Blues beauty Janiva Magness splits the bill.... Else: Countrypolitan lounge lizards Joey Harris and the Mentals ride with Palominos to Whistle Stop.... Icelandic experimentalist Mugison brings Mugiboogie to Casbah for an early set (7p). Afta, dance-punk duo Data Rock drops Norwegian noise on the Middletown stage.... Jazz-guit guru Stanley Jordan plays two nights at Anthology behind his latest, State of Nature. And  don't forget your Transfer Friday night, as the local country skrunks bring it on home with a late set at the Little Italy supper club.... America is from England? Seventies folk-pop stars America ("Horse with No Name," "Ventura Highway," "Sister Golden Hair," "Tin Man," etcet etcet) colonize  Humphrey's.... More Brits?  Manchester's Smiths knockoffs James play their hit at House of Blues.... Uptown sets: Austin honky-tonkers Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers charm Bar Pink...local punk-pop trio Vena Cava'll get yer blood going at Radio Room...and Quebecois We Are Wolves lope into U31.  They're touring the Left Coast behind Total Magique, a (get this) "post-punk landscape filled with analogue  trees."

Saturday 4
Tommy Castro Band brings Bay Area blues to the Belly Up. The six-string Svengali will steal your dance shoes and borrow your best girl — hey, seen it happen. Catch up with Castro on his latest Blind Pig disc Painkiller, which won Blues Album of the Year and the man the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at the 2008 Blues Awards....  There'll be a benefit for the family of Plot/Prayers bassist Willy Graves Saturday night at Casbah, with sets by friends and cohorts Kill Me Tomorrow, Muslims, Crocodiles, and Wild Weekend. Hella bill. R.I.P., Willy.... Local roots-rockers Anna Troy Band do a CD-release thing for Wait Another Day at Bar Pink.... While pop-rock peeps lualta and Beautiful View dial in at Radio  Room.

Sunday 5
Rock Band Live promises "an interactive musical experience" at Sports Arena Sunday night, with rock-radio heavies Dashboard Confessional and Panic at the Disco and opening sets by Plain White  T's and the Cab.... The Fun DMC Tour rolls up on Casbah, with "underground hip-hop" by Los Angelinos People Under the Stairs and Shawn Jackson and Seattleites Common Market....  Boston's  rockin' reggae big band John  Brown's Body washes up in Solana Beach at Belly Up behind their latest effort Amplify.

Monday 6
Casbah's Anti-Monday meet-up hauls in Heavy Trash, featuring Jon Spencer of Pussy Galore and Blues Explosion fame. Psych-punk guitarists Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray backed by the Sadies, last year released Going Way Out with Heavy Trash, a collection of  punk'd-up blues stomps and rootsy rockabilly that fills in the color between White Stripes and Black Keys. With Danish dudes PowerSolo and our own one-man thrash band Pant Hoots, this is a Monday-night gig to get to. Book a sitter. Get some ear gear.... Outside of that, Anglo adult-contempo cat Nick Lowe ("Cruel to Be Kind," "[ What's So Funny 'bout] Peace, Love, and Understanding?") plays the Belly Up...and blues baroness Lady Dottie dons her Diamonds for another Monday nighter at U31.

Tuesday 7
Forever in blue jeans and ruining the kitsch-cool bell curve for more than 50 years, yo, Neil Diamond shines on Sports Arena Tuesday night. Believe it, the 67-year-old boozy baritone still brings it live, and  he's got fresh product, this  year's Billboard bang Home Before Dark. Oh,  he'll turn on your heart light, all right.... The Plastic People of the Universe (Czech Repub.) celebrate 40 years of touring the globe through places like Brick by Brick. Yeah! No,  it's a fine club, and the Plastic  People's Prague rock is super cool,  they're just not,  y'know, Neil  Diamond.

Wednesday 8
Indianapolis indie kids Margot and the Nuclear So and  So's drop chamber pop on Casbah with, appropriately enough, Judgement Day and Nashville newcomer David Vandervelde. With the release of this  year's symbiotic sets Animal! and Not Animal, the So and  So's were named '08 "artists to watch" by Spin. Apparently  it's a music magazine.... "King of Motown," smoove Smokey Robinson, will croon till you swoon out at Pala. Love that "Tears of a Clown" song.... Hawaiian hits Natural Vibrations riffle Canes with raga-flavored island vibes.... And Swedish "bad axe" Yngwie Malmsteen hits House of Blues in advance of next  week's release of Perpetual Flame, the  shredder's 30th release in 30 years. Guitar Hero II hangs a "Malmsteen" on ya when you nail 1000 notes.  Who's got  one?
Barnaby Monk

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