Father John Misty at Open Air Theater on June 6
  • Father John Misty at Open Air Theater on June 6
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The Dickies

The Dickies

The Dickies

  • Saturday, May 18, 2019, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $18

Pop-punk originators the Dickies have never been shy about their love for the Ramones, and not just the pure pop masterworks co-created by Phil Spector. The San Fernando Valley band worships every twisted doo-wopian hook their New York forefathers ever committed to vinyl, and it shows on virtually all of their releases. They even have their own Rock & Roll High School, the 1988 cult flick Killer Klowns From Outer Space, for which that year’s version of the Dickies wrote the theme music. They’ve far outlived Joey and the boys now, with 40 years of history and over two dozen ex-band members behind them, several now deceased (including a suicide, heart trouble, pneumonia, and a heroin overdose while touring with the Smashing Pumpkins). The Dickies pretty much gave up on recording new music after All This and Puppet Stew in 2001. They’ve mainly been cruising on the fumes of various live albums, EPs, and video compilations, which have been bringing them to San Diego pretty much annually for the last decade, as they’ve made the rounds from House of Blues to 4th & B, Til Two, the Griffin, the Jumping Turtle, Brick by Brick, and the Casbah. Their next local appearance happens May 18 at Soda Bar, where it’s likely that you’ll hear a lot of their recent concert album, Banana Splits, titled for their most famous offbeat cover tune, from a 1960s kid’s TV show by H.R. Pufnstuf creators Sid & Marty Krofft. Given that the tour poster features the giant Saturday morning cartoon robot Gigantor, it’s a safe bet that their beloved cover of that ‘toon’s theme song will appear on the setlist as well. They’ve also been favoring crowds lately with a hilariously overblown take on “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues that sounds like something Angels & Airwaves would inflict straight-faced and serious onto a horrified audience of Blink-182 fans.

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Father John Misty and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

  • Thursday, June 6, 2019, 8 p.m.
  • Open Air Theatre, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego

The first co-headlining bill featuring Father John Misty and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit kicks off June 6 at SDSU’s Open Air Theatre. 37 year-old Maryland songsmith Misty, aka Josh Tillman, is still banging the drums for last year’s God’s Favorite Customer, his fourth full-length as Father John (after recording several albums between 2003 and 2010 as J. Tillman). That album, his second in two years (following 2017’s Pure Comedy), became a nearly required entry on well over a dozen “Best of 2018” polls at Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, and even NPR and Esquire. It doesn’t hurt that the record included ink-friendly collaborators such as Weyes Blood and Mark Ronson, but the real attraction is Misty’s Lennonesque confessionals, including/especially the self-titled self-referential track “Mr. Tillman” (which the original accidental Apple stream of the album had titled as “Mr. Tillman, Please Exit the Lobby”). Four-time Grammy winners Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit have two recent releases to support; The Nashville Sound, which spawned the Grammy-winning Best Americana Roots Song “If We Were Vampires,” and a concert album called Live From the Ryman. The bill includes 21 year-old Jade Bird, who scored two top-ten hits off last year’s Something American EP, “Lottery” and “Uh Huh.” She’ll be releasing her debut self-titled album in April, just six weeks before the San Diego show, and it’s entirely possible that, by the time she takes SDSU’s outdoor stage, she’ll be far outselling the most recent records by both featured acts.

Coheed & Cambria

Coheed & Cambria

Coheed & Cambria and Mastodon

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
  • Petco Park, 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego

There’s already a theme emerging in this summer’s deluge of concert announcements – co-headliners. Consolidating multiple popular performers at the top of their game is nothing new, as it’s apparently easier to avoid arguments over who gets to sit atop the bill if you let two different acts share the view from up there. Usually both groups are basically playing to the exact same demographic, but not every team-up pairs two sides of the same coin. The Unheavenly Skye Tour hitting Petco Park on June 26 is co-headlined by prog rockers Coheed & Cambria and somewhat dissimilar hard rock heroes Mastodon. The former is promoting their recent ethereal album The Unheavenly Creatures, while the latter plans to perform their entire thudding 2009 full-length Crack the Skye. The record from Coheed & Cambria (who also occasionally co-create comic books based on their music) furthers their tendency toward 1970s-inspired concept albums, this one set within the Armory Wars universe. The aural equivalent of a Marvel Avengers movie, it debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart and reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. Mastodon may be best known for their soundtrack work on Monsters University, the sci-fi comic book western Jonah Hex, and the Academy Award-winning comedy The Big Short, and members have appeared in episodes of HBO’s sword-n-sex drama Game of Thrones. The bill includes Buffalo New York-based hardcore punk rockers Every Time I Die, who are reportedly working on their ninth full-length.

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers

The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer

  • Sunday, November 24, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
  • Viejas Arena, 5500 Canyon Crest Drive, San Diego

Another just-announced touring team-up brings Grammy Award-winning duo the Chainsmokers and multiplatinum pop stars 5 Seconds of Summer to Viejas Arena on November 24. The 41-date World War Joy Tour seems a natural extension of the recent Chainsmokers single “Who Do You Love,” on which the members of 5 Seconds of Summer make guest appearances. At this writing, the track tops the iTunes chart and has already earned around 14 million streams, and the Chainsmokers are still racking up huge numbers with last year’s Sick Boy album, especially the hit single “This Feeling” featuring Kelsea Ballerini. 5 Seconds of Summer have staked their claim as the first and only band in chart history (among non-vocal-groups, anyway) to see their first three studio albums enter the chart at number one. The title track from the third, “Youngblood,” topped the Spotify playlist Today’s Top Hits, where it remained for 20 consecutive weeks. The bill includes 19 year-old Canadian pop star Lennon Stella, known as Maddie Conrad on the Nashville TV show, whose debut solo EP Love, Me recently debuted in the top five of Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart. Like Jade Bird at SDSU, her rapidly ascending star may soon eclipse those of her two host headliners.

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