Four of the Best Live Bands in San Diego

San Diego is increasingly becoming a more attractive destinations for touring bands to play, and there’s certainly no shortage of places for bands to play in town. But it would be a mistake to overlook the many excellent homegrown musicians that make San Diego’s music scene unique. San Diego had an explosion of talent in the early ’90s, and since then, has given rise to a long list of unique, innovative bands. There are a few bands today that stand out for being great live acts, however, and if you get the chance to see them, don’t pass it up.

Rocket from the Crypt

Rocket from the Crypt

Since the early ’90s, Rocket from the Crypt has been an iconic staple of the San Diego music scene, thanks to their legendary live shows, which include a long list of great rock ‘n’ roll songs (which most fans know all the words to) and a constantly changing wardrobe of matching onstage uniforms. They took a six-year break beginning in 2006, but since reuniting, their shows have been just as thrilling as they were in the early days.

> Hear more of Rocket from the Crypt

The Burning of Rome

The Burning of Rome

If you’ve spent a good amount of time in San Diego and you haven’t seen The Burning of Rome, you’re missing out on a guaranteed good time. Their raw, but theatrical indie rock tunes are catchy and full of energy, but even better yet is their live presence, particularly guitarist Joe Aguilar, whose animated antics will keep your eyes glued to him through the duration of the show.

> Hear more of The Burning of Rome

Wild Wild Wets

Wild Wild Wets

First and foremost, Wild Wild Wets simply write great songs. That’s a good starting point for why they’re worth investigating, but their live show becomes a sensory experience that involves psychedelic projections and heavy doses of reverb and effects. It’s a trip. They also curate a quarterly showcase of similar-minded but eclectic bands from San Diego and Los Angeles called the San Diego Freak Out, which is never anything less than an uproarious party.

> Hear more of Wild Wild Wets

The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble - Live Bands in San Diego

If you want something that has a little more groove than grit, then there’s a lot happening in the local funk and soul community. The best of the bunch is The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, whose “cinematic soul” style is like the lost soundtrack to a 1970s crime drama. They groove hard, but with some subtle nuances – not that those nuances are crucial when you’re getting down to their concise, highly danceable funk when they’re onstage.

> Hear more of The Soul Fire Ensemble

> Hear More Live Bands in San Diego

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Jeff Terich

About Jeff Terich

Jeff Terich is the music editor of San Diego CityBeat and has been writing about music for over a decade. A contributor to top music magazines including American Songwriter and ALARM Magazine, Jeff is also the founder of Treblezine.com, an independent music feature and review site. On the video side, Jeff is a co-host of Unherd, a local music TV show on ABC 10.

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