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Thursday 23
Punk perennials X mark the spot at Belly Up tonight. J.D. and Exene have spread it ‘round in their storied 30-year career, going solo and with the Knitters, but always bring it back to Billy Zoom, D.J. Bonebreak, and their punkabilly roots. This year saw the L.A. legends outperform their Coachella counterparts and make a trip to Minehead’s All Tomorrow’s Parties. Long may they run.... Jazz trio the Bad Plus add class to classic rock at Anthology. The Minneapolis avant act uses piano, bass, and drum to tackle tracks by everyone from Bowie to Sabbath. Check out the track list on this year’s For All I Care for what’s in store (“How Deep Is Your Love,” “Barracuda,” awesome!).... SD alt-rock throwbacks Fudge House Trunk Baby make their triumphant return at Radio Room. An older, wiser trio now, their melodic-rawk Space takes sound as if they mean bidness. Kids, the Trunk Babies were basement faves — along with Three Mile Pilot and Rocket — when Soma was actually south of Market.... Casbah scores a pop-rock hat-trick, staging Norman, OK’s surreal big band Starlight Mints, JP Inc. of Pleaseasaur, and our own Get Back Loretta.... Looks as if 4 et B is catering to the Comic-Con crowd this weekend, booking the very visual (costumes, bodily fluids) nomads of GWAR to play gore rock on Thursday night and Adult Swim’s comedic Tim and Eric Awesome Show to play to the crowd on Friday.... But make note, Con geeks, Everybody Gets Laid at Bar Pink, with, appropriately enough, the Old In Out.

Friday 24
Del Mar racetrack kicks off this summer’s post-race-in-the-paddock thing with Philly’s favorite son G Love & Special Sauce. The hip-hop and rock combo is out to tout last year’s comebacker Superhero Brother. Check out revivalist lead single “Peace, Love and Happiness” for the vet’s new vibe.... Afterward and upthataway at UCSD, the Loft lists Latin act Pistolera. The she-pop Brooklynites are passing through town on their way to bring big-city musica norteña to Europe.... Curio-pop acts Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Dabbers play Casbah. Casiotone is Bay Area artist Owen Ashworth’s solo venture, and his latest on Tomlab is the Pitchfork-approved Vs. Children, a treatise on the universal dilemma to breed or not to breed.... Else: odd-pop soloists Miss Erika Davies and Pant Hoots split the ticket at Whistle Stop...and Radio Room dials in a night of punkabilly bands, featuring the Chop Tops, the Strikers, and Knock Em Stiff. This gig’s sponsored by Sailor Jerry, rummies.

Saturday 25
Who let the dogs out? Superawesome punk-rawk trio the Dogs of Detroit will be at Bar Pink Saturday night with East County nomads Slab City and Zonie power trio Corvo Radio. Caught the Dogs at Casbah earlier this year, and though there’re no new tricks, the old schtick sticks. They killed.... A dog of another stripe, Snoop D-o-double-g, will kick it at Cricket with the pride of O.B., Slightly Stoopid. The “Blazed and Confused” tour also features Stephen Marley and Mickey Avalon for one well-rounded, red-eyed blend of reggae dub hop.... Casbah cooks up a “nerd-core” Con after-party with MC Lars, new animated shorts by Cyanide and Happiness, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Theater, Doomtree, MC Frontalot, and ytcracker. You do the legwork on that list, rastas, I’m going to Chula Veeesta.

Sunday 26
Sunday-nighters, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement fame will play Belly Up. The slinger-singer’s coming into his own as one the generation’s preeminent guitarists, drubbing the slacker tag with inspired riff-heavy jams on last year’s crit-hit with the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash, their fourth proper but first with drummer Janet Weiss. As of this writing, this set-to-get-to is not sold out, but it will. It should. I think.... Otherwise, novelty song stylist Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Na Na) hosts the “Lebowski Fest San Diego Movie Party” at House of Blues...and radio 94/9 hosts another of its freebies at Casbah with the Publicists, the Bloodflowers, Weezer tribbers Geezer, and the Cankles. The Canton Mudders leave tracks in the Atari Lounge and there'll be complimentary greeze and cheese from Lucha Libre.

Monday 27
Back to the Casbah Monday night, as the Middletown mainstay’s Anti-Monday meet-up’s got a good one with the Handsome Family. Family band Brett and Rennie Sparks (hubbie and wife) have for 15 years cooked up country-fried gothic tales for Chicago’s Carrot Top label that are at turns funny and horrific. Imagine a songsmithing Cormac McCarthy. Having not heard this year’s Honey Moon, recommend early collections such as Through the Trees (Uncut’s best new country album of 1998) or 2000’s strong song cycle In the Air for primers. In the Air’s “So Much Wine” stands as the Handsomes’ trademark track. Piano man Daniel Knox sets the stage for this dark-pop double bill.... Belly Up’s “Club Up and Up” stages pop-rock by Irradio with CBot and the Paperwork, while deej Lord Nelson spins round sets at the Solana Beach nightspot. Lotsa Sector 9 giveaways, skate rats.

Tuesday 28
Another big ticket at Cricket this week finds Epic act the Fray playing the amphitheater on Tuesday night. Though a critical curiosity, the Denver four-piece has enjoyed commercial success with a Grammy nod and Billboard hits. This year’s sophomore set is a self-titled affair that finds the piano-pop band at the top of the charts via a pair of smash singles, “You Found Me” and “Never Say Never”.... The Scottish six-piece Trash Can Sinatras join NYC’s Brookville at Casbah for an evening of dramatic-song seriousity.

Wednesday 29
Hump night’s a hit, but, like, how do you choose when J-pop duo the VAMPS are swooping down on Soma behind their spanking-new debut...Ray Raposa’s Castanets are premiering their upcoming Rafter-produced disc Texas Rose, the Thaw, and the Beasts (due to drop in September) at Casbah...and down the street at Anthology, Karl Denson’s KD3 will be kicking out their funked-up jazz jams...? My cousin Phil (hey, goomba!) hawks a loogie on his racing form and bets where it lands. Just a thought.... You could stay uptown, but that’s no easier, as Portland punks the Wobblies and SD supergroup Rats Eyes (Locust, Sirhan, the Combovers) tear through their 1-2-3-4! happycore at Radio Room...Soda Bar stages Long Beach garage-rock trio and always-fun Tijuana Panthers...and Bar Pink’s booked ‘09 breakouts Christmas Island, whose In the Red debut Blackout Summer is due to drop, like, any day now, with Mexi noise-pop quartet Ratas del Vaticano. (They are so going to hell.) — Barnaby Monk

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