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Thursday 16
Prepare for Black and Blue when Jake Smith, aka the White Buffalo, roams into Casbah. The oft-solo roller is back with a band behind his debut Ruff Shod release, an EP of the larger-than-life songsmith’s booming croon and pleinsong tunes. Click this for the grist: myspace.com/thewhitebuffalo. Our own rootsy rockers the Blackout Party lead off. Caught a set a couple weeks back by Holwerda & co. They played the Atari Lounge between Loons and Sadies — helluva night — but being crammed in with fans of the band rocking vintage blues jams was — fer me, anyway — it. These’d be the sets to see Thursday night.... Dude who could be Jake Smith’s papa, Leon Russell, plays 4th&B behind The Union, a collaborative collection with Russell friend and fan Elton John, who called it “a ’70s record with a modern feel.” Produced by studio guru T-Bone Burnett, The Union features Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Booker T, and Don Was and apparently has enough “passion” and “authenticity” to stupefy a music critic.... Around the bend, O.C. rap-rock crews the Kottonmouth Kings and (Hed)pe hit House of Blues behind their new t’dos, Long Live the Kings and Truth Rising, respectively.... Up north, Solana Beach hot spot Belly Up books them Tex-Mex Grammy winners Los Lobos. Almost 40-years under their wheels, this touring-recording institution boasts all five original guys who this year released their, like, 20th album, Tin Can Trust. Haven’t had the pleasure, but am wont to note it’s got heady Dead cover “West L.A. Fadeaway.”

Friday 17
Too much good stuff Friday night, crawlers, as the Tin Can Ale House fills a bill with garage-pop locals Dirty Gold and L.A. area indie kids Never Never, Catwalk, and the Clouds. A quick round of MySpacing suggests a super-solid bill of fare. I actually took to downloading the Dirty Gold ditties. Keep your ears peeled for these two kids this year.... At the bottom of Laurel, Gary Shuffler gets his Thin White Duke on as Ziggy Shuffledust and the Spiders from Mars pick up the pieces at Casbah after Diana Death does her Johnny Thunders thing, Chinese Rocks. One-man blues band Lowvolts will set it up. See if you can get yer mitts on his new blues explosion Twist Shake Grind Break.... Best of the rest: jazz-funk fusionists Greyboy Allstars and throwback rock-n-soul show Fitz and the Tantrums bring the party to Belly Up...up thataway at Ché Café, the lo-fi D/Wolves join the hi-fi Shining Through at UCSD’s campus collective...saxman-composer-poet Oliver Lake fits in fine with the Fresh Sound Music Series at Sushi...and new-math musician Kenseth Thibideau and his team roll back into town at Whistle Stop after touring for his first solo go, the stylistically schizophrenic Repetition. It works. Aspects of Physics and Riververb up first.

Saturday 18
Hear and have a blast from the past, when L.A. garage punks the Mau Maus take Til-Two. Front man Rick Wilder is the Left Coast’s answer to Iggy, “both revered and reviled.” With like-minded locals Cardiac Kidz, Northern Tigers, and the Last Years, this is one fun punk bill. You might want to stretch first.... Staying Uptown: catchy boy-girl band Light FM dials in at Soda Bar with the Very and Maren Parusel...indie experimentalists Primitive Noyes turn up at Eleven with Neon Cough and Dirty Legs...and the Conquistadors Car Club hosts their annual holiday shindig at Tower Bar, featuring greazy beats from the Corvinas, Bloodflowers, Dreamboat, and the Fink Bombs.... Downtown, out of their Santa Monica garage, Cali-pop quartet Hot TV plugs in at the Tin Can with Beta Lion and Marquez...Judas Priesting, Hillcrest residing Rob Halford’s at 4th&B behind Halford IV: Made of Metal...while Dizzy’s downtown does a Wayne Shorter trib, with local notables Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, pianoman Josh White, Rob Thorsen on bass, Brett Sanders at the traps, and doing the honors, impressive improv saxophonist Jason Robinson.

Sunday 19
Merry X-mas from Belly Up. John Doe, Exene Cervenka, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom will screen X film Unheard Music and then play their 1980 essential Los Angeles in its entirety, with more of your favorite X songs.... Lady Dottie, the Howls, and the Styletones bring some fun funky fun to Casbah’s Christmas appreciation party. It’s a freebie, folks. Go get you some.... As reported in these pages a coupla weeks back (sandiegoreader.com/news/blurt/), the original Bastard Son of Johnny Cash, Mark Stuart, moved back to town, and he and his reconvened Bastard Sons will play the Shakedown Sunday night with the Back Alley Hooligans and Mark Peter Thomas. It’s a toy drive for a children’s hospital, so hand over your Tonka, punk.

Monday 20
The Casbah’s Anti-Monday team tags local electro-pop trio Lesands, who’ve blowed up on the www. Just a few months in, early support has come from KCRW, Paste, AOL’s Spinner.com, New York Press...just lotsa places. The lads’re wrapping up an EP for early ’11 release. White Apple Tree and the Sleepwalkers stumble up first.... The Gromble, a pop-rock trio from Orange County and the headmaster of Monster School on Nicktoons, will play Soda Bar. Goodnight Beast goes first.

Tuesday 21
Ché Café is billing its fourth annual freebie with blink-182. I have no idea if that’s for reals, but that’s what it says right here: checafe.ucsd.edu/events.... This, from jpisgreat.com, is for reals, sort of: “For your viewing pleasure, JP Inc. will be doing some concerts in California with a band called Pinback. I think they are a smooth jazz band, so it should be really fun!” JP Inc. is one JP Hasson of Pleaseeasaur. Before the Comedy Central “artist” tours with Pinback, he’ll take his “truly original and wacked out multimedia experience” to Casbah. Devo-Misfits package DevFits is on the bill, while sobering slo-fi trio Little White Teeth will lend a voice of reason to the proceedings.

Wednesday 22
Humpnight highlights’d have to be C.L.A.’s (Carnivorous Lunar Activity, onceuponatime) annual reunion show at Casbah with country skrunks Behind the Wagon and 90 Proof Pissers in support...and the Show Us Your Face thing for Facebookers at Belly Up. Go meet your friends in all their gross anatomy and catch acousticat Josh Damigo and pop-rock quartet Endoxi, while DJs Carlos Cutlture and Digital Opinion spin ’round sets.
Barnaby Monk

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