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.
Jeff Terich

4 Family-Friendly Concerts in San Diego

If you’re the type that wants to rock out on the weekends, but have children, it’s hard to reconcile those two things. Not every concert is friendly to all ages, nor is there an overwhelming number of places where you can take the whole family and have an outing that everyone will enjoy. But it doesn’t take too much digging to find some concerts that you can bring the kids to. Here’s a roundup of some of the better options for family-friendly concerts in San Diego.

School of Rock Concerts

Family friendly rock concerts aren’t always so easy to come by, but when the kids are the ones putting on the show, it certainly adds an interesting option to the table. School of Rock offers music education to kids with an emphasis on the “rock,” and several times a year they put on concerts showcasing either the work of a particular artist, ranging from icons like Led Zeppelin to more esoteric acts like Neutral Milk Hotel, or thematic shows, such as the popular annual local music covers show. The venues change each time, having been held as locales such as House of Blues and The Irenic, but there’s really no bad place to see junior find the rock star within.

> Browse School of Rock San Diego Concerts

San Diego County Fair Concerts

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There’s nothing quite like a trip to the fair. Every summer, the San Diego County Fair offers families a chance to indulge in all kinds of fried concoctions, carnival rides and, of course, live concerts. As it turns out, most of those shows are open to all ages, and this year’s 2016 lineup includes some big names, including Brian Wilson, Joan Jett, Carly Rae Jepsen and X Ambassadors. So make a day of it: Gobble some fried cheese, pet some friendly sheep and take in a concert before heading back home.

> Browse the San Diego County Fair Concert Line Up

Balboa Park Organ Pavilion Concerts

Spreckels Organ Pavilion Summer Concerts

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park has been regularly hosting Sunday afternoon performances for years, which are always free and open to all ages. However, of late those shows have expanded from being mostly classical to incorporating more contemporary rock, pop and experimental music. Civic organist Carol Williams recently led a pair of tributes to the music of David Bowie, and in 2014, she collaborated with local punk band Drive Like Jehu on their first live show in 20 years.

> Find out more about the Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Point Loma Summer Concerts

Point Loma Summer Concerts

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair (Point Loma Summer Concerts)

Taking the family to the park is never a bad thing to do on summer weekends. Everyone gets out of the house, gets some fresh air and takes part in something that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. But add music to the equation and it’s even better. The Point Loma summer concert series in Point Loma Park features a variety of concerts featuring local bands outdoors in a comfortable and fun setting that’s accessible to everyone. Even better, there’s a raffle each year, with proceeds going toward music education and music nonprofits.

> Check out the Point Loma Summer Concerts Lineup

> Browse San Diego Summer Music

4 of the Best All Ages Live Music Venues in San Diego

Featured photo courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair.
Jeff Terich

4 Must See 2016 Summer Concerts in San Diego

There’s a lot of competition for live music in San Diego, and the competition doesn’t always come from other live shows. Beaches, parks, museums, galleries – there’s no shortage of options for fun summer activities, but if you’re starting to figure out your summer plans, I’d like to suggest marking a few select dates on your calendar for some great concerts coming to town between June and September. I’ve assembled some great options for those seeking out a great live music experience this summer, from old-schoolers to newcomers, be it rock, pop or R&B. Start planning now – you don’t want to miss ’em.

Brian Wilson

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds celebrates a milestone 50-year anniversary this year, and founding member and singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is playing the album in its entirety on tour. One of the stops is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the concert is free to ticketholders at the San Diego County Fair, which is a major plus. God only knows there aren’t many opportunities to hear one of the great artists of our time perform the entirety of one of the best albums ever released, especially without paying a steep ticket price, so wouldn’t it be nice to be there when it happens?

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 30, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: Free to fair goers. Reserved Seating – $16-$118
> Find out more about Brian Wilson at the San Diego County Fair

Savages

Three of the best shows I’ve seen in the last year and a half were all played by Savages. The London-based outfit has a dynamic stage presence, intense but big-hearted, loud yet overflowing with charm. It doesn’t hurt that their two albums, Silence Yourself and Adore Life are two of the best indie rock/post-punk records of the past five years, and in a live settings they grow into something even more powerful. This one’s at the top of my list, and should definitely be up there on yours as well.

Where: Observatory North Park – 2891 University Ave, San Diego, CA, 92104, USA
When: July 29, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $25
> Get Tickets to Savages at Observatory North Park

Duran Duran/Chic

Individually, I’d be pretty enthusiastic about recommending a show that featured either Duran Duran or Chic, but both bands? That’s definitely a must see. New wave icons Duran Duran have been on tour with disco/funk legends Chic since earlier this spring, but their double-headlining old-school dance party makes their way to Sleep Train’s outdoor stage right in the middle of summer, making for a perfect night of vintage jams in an open-air setting. Freak out!

Where: Sleep Train Amphitheatre – 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
When: August 2, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: $36-$152
> Get Tickets to Duran Duran: The Paper Gods Tour with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers

Anderson .Paak

California’s Anderson .Paak (the period is intentional) has been making funky, just slightly psychedelic R&B for a few years now, but his new album Malibu has made him an early MVP for 2016. His style is a mix of ’70s-era soul a la Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye, filtered through contemporary electronic and hip-hop sounds, with more than his fair share of unique quirks. His music is pure joy, and nothing but good times are guaranteed when he hits the stage.

Where: House of Blues San Diego – 1055 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $20-$45
> Get Tickets to Anderson .Paak at House of Blues San Diego

> Explore more of San Diego’s Concerts and Music Scene

Jeff Terich

Four of the Best Live Bands in San Diego

The Burning of Rome

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

Jeff Terich

4 of the Best Jazz Clubs Throughout San Diego

Jazz Band - Croce's Park West
Jazz Band - Croce's Park West

Photo courtesy of Croce’s Park West

San Diego has more than its share of small-, medium- and large-sized venues to see rock and pop music. But beneath the din of the punks and the beatmakers, there’s a small but thriving jazz scene in San Diego that always has something to offer, whether it grooves in the pocket or goes wild with free improvisation. Pick up on what San Diego jazz musicians are laying down at these clubs.

Croce’s Park West

For the traditional jazz experience in San Diego, there’s no better place to start than Croce’s. After 30 years in the Gaslamp Quarter, owner Ingrid Croce recently relocated the restaurant and jazz club to Bankers Hill, where it continues to host live jazz musicians nightly, as well as during their Sunday jazz brunch. Serious jazz heads and casual listeners alike will feel right at home here.

Where: 2760 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about Croce’s Park West

Seven Grand

Seven Grand isn’t exclusively a jazz club. It is, first and foremost, a whiskey bar, and if you want to taste some top shelf bourbons or scotches before the show, there’s a lot to choose from. But around 9:00 PM, the stage opens up to an eclectic lineup of acts, from the weekly Gilbert Castellanos jazz jam to the more modern approach of artists like Ian Tordella. And best yet, there’s never a cover for any of its shows.

Where: 3054 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Seven Grand

Dizzy’s

Dizzy’s, admittedly, is in a peculiar spot. By day, it’s the showroom for San Diego Jet Ski Rentals, so if you think you’ve ended up in the wrong spot, just keep that in mind. But it turns out that a big, open showroom for watercraft is actually a fine spot for a jazz concert. It’s spacious, and with excellent acoustics, and there’s no noisy bar scene to distract from the subtler performances. If you want an antidote to the louder and more chaotic clubs, this is the jazz venue for you.

Where: 4275 Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Dizzy’s

The Loft at UCSD

A casual coffeehouse, wine bar and music venue all combined into one space on the UC San Diego campus, The Loft has had quite a few notable touring and local bands on its stage. But a hefty chunk of its music programming comprises jazz, both conventional and avant-garde – much of it courtesy of some talented locals (and students to boot!). It’s a comfortable space to chill, but just remember, it closes while school’s out for the summer.

Where: 911 Lyman Lane, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about The Loft at UCSD

> Explore San Diego’s Jazz and Music Scene

Jeff Terich

4 of the Best All Ages Live Music Venues in San Diego

The Irenic - An All Ages Music Venue in San Diego
The Irenic - An All Ages Music Venue in San Diego

The Irenic – An All Ages Music Venue in San Diego

San Diego is a haven for bargoers – the explosion of the craft beer scene has proven that this is a town that enjoys an IPA or two. But for those not yet of legal drinking age, that means being able to see live music can be a bit more complicated. As it turns out, however, there are several great options for under-21 music fans, and here is a handful of the best all ages live music venues.

The Irenic

If The Irenic looks like a church, that’s because, technically it is. Operating as Mission Gathering on Sundays, North Park’s The Irenic acts as a functional and non-denominational music venue the rest of the week. Its live music program is diverse, hosting everything from punk to electronic and indie rock throughout the year. And all ages are welcome at every show, making it a perfect spot for kids with a thirst for live music.

Where: 3090 Polk Ave., San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about The Irenic

Lestat’s

A little bit mellower than other venues in town, Lestat’s regularly showcases folk and singer/songwriters in San Diego, with occasional touring acts coming through as well. So if you’d rather ease into the live music scene with something a bit more laid-back, it’s a comfortable and friendly spot, with a coffeehouse next door that’s open late at night, just in case the show lets out early (just check in with your folks, they worry).

Where: 3343 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Lestat’s

House of Blues

From marquee touring bands on its main stage to smaller indie acts in its Voodoo Room, the House of Blues – located in the Gaslamp Quarter – can have anywhere between one and three shows happening on any given night. And while it’s not strictly an all ages venue, a great many of its shows are open to those under 21. Just make sure to check their website before buying tickets to avoid confusion.

Where: 1055 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about House of Blues

Observatory North Park

Like the House of Blues, the 1,100-capacity Observatory North Park isn’t an all-ages venue every night; sometimes it’s limited to 18-and-up audiences, and occasionally, 21 and up. But a quick look at the calendar reveals that most of the time, the venue is pretty teen-friendly, and under certain circumstances – like Future Islands’ two upcoming shows in September – bands will book separate shows for two different age groups.

Where: 2891 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Observatory North Park

> Discover More All Ages Fun in San Diego

Jeff Terich

5 Summer Concert Picks in San Diego – 2015

Taylor Swift - The 1989 World Tour

It’s no secret that San Diego is a great city for live music. It’s home to legendary bars like The Casbah, historic venues like The Observatory (formerly the North Park Theater), and open-air venues like Humphreys. And in just the last month, none other than The Rolling Stones paid a visit to the city with a blockbuster concert at Petco Park. The concert calendar only keeps getting better through the summer, however, with headlining acts that range from younger buzz bands to living legends. Here are five of the best bets for summer concerts in San Diego.

Best Coast

Best Coast

Best Coast hail from Los Angeles, but their ultra-catchy, melodic indie pop and aesthetic that celebrates all things California could just as easily be the soundtrack for San Diego. And when they come to the Observatory in North Park, it most certainly will be. The group just released their third album, California Nights, and it’s a more mature and nuanced, though no less accessible collection of pop gems. Swoon to their moody dream-pop ballads and have a giddy sing-along to favorites like “The Only Place.”

Where: Observatory North Park – 2891 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
When: June 26, 2015
Cost: $25
> Get Tickets for Best Coast at Observatory North Park

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is 82 years old, but the country music legend is still as musically active as ever, having just released Django and Jimmie, his new collaboration with fellow icon Merle Haggard. Willie’s catalog is so deep and varied that you never really know what you’re going to hear. Some standards from Stardust? An outlaw number from his Shotgun Willie days? A selection or two from the Red-Headed Stranger? All of the above, perhaps, with a sprinkling of Hank Williams covers and “On the Road,” come encore time. Timeless classics, all of them.

Where: Harrah’s Resort Southern California – 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center, CA 92082
When: July 24, 2015
Cost: $55-$125
> Get Tickets for Willie Nelson

 

Echo & the Bunnymen

Echo and the Bunnymen

Those of us who grew up in the ’80s have a special kind of reverence for new wave/post-punk favorites Echo & the Bunnymen. From their debut album Crocodiles on up to their self-titled 1987 album, they pretty much owned the decade (not to mention placement of their songs in films like The Lost Boys and Pretty in Pink). And though they’re probably not touring with a string section like they did when they were playing Ocean Rain in its entirety, that doesn’t mean you won’t get a chance to hear “The Killing Moon.”

Where: Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay – 2241 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
When: August 6, 2015
> Get Tickets for Echo & The Bunnymen

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

Gotta have that funk! George Clinton didn’t invent funk, but he most certainly helped shape it in the 1970s with his bands Funkadelic and Parliament. Those two separate entities and their cosmic, conceptual catalogs have been merged into one psychedelic funk revue, and the hits run deep: “Flash Light,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” etc. Free your mind and your hindquarters will follow.

Where: House of Blues – 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 19, 2015
Cost: $30-$45
> Get Tickets for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

Taylor Swift – The 1989 World Tour

Taylor Swift - The 1989 World Tour

Taylor Swift has come a long way since starting off her career as America’s teenage country sweetheart. She’s pretty much conquered the pop game, and the ubiquity of “Shake It Off” is proof enough at that. I tend to prefer the songs on Red (“State of Grace” is the jam), but whatever era of Taylor you consider best, this will no doubt be one of the biggest concerts of the summer.

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 29, 2015
Cost: $97-$479
> Get Tickets for Taylor Swift – The 1989 World Tour

> Hear More During One of San Diego’s Summer Concerts

Jeff Terich

Best Live Music Venues in San Diego

lestats normal heights san diego live music venue

For decades, San Diego has had a vibrant and eclectic local music scene, and that’s reflected in the number of great places to see live music in town. There are dozens upon dozens of clubs, bars, theaters, coffeehouses and arenas to see a show — so many that it can be overwhelming to figure out where and when to go. Depending on where you go you can get a very different experience, so here are recommendations for a handful of the best places to see live music in San Diego.

The Casbah

the casbah san diego live music venue

The Casbah is your best bet for rock music.

In January, this local institution celebrates its 25th anniversary, and in those 25 years, The Casbah has played host to an incredible list of bands that includes The White Stripes, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, among hundreds of other greats. The midtown rock club is small, but on any given night there’s great music to see, cold beer flowing from the taps, and some vintage video games in the Atari Lounge if you feel like taking an 8-bit break. The vibe and kitschy decor is cool, but the main reason to come is the talent that occupies the stage, all year long.

Belly Up Tavern

belly up tavern san diego live music venue

M83 plays at the Belly Up in Solana Beach in 2009.

There aren’t as many great venues in North County as there are in the city of San Diego, but one of the best just happens to be in Solana Beach, just a short hop from the coast. The Belly Up Tavern is one of the bigger clubs in the county, with a capacity of 650, and its sound is impeccable. Plus, if you’re feeling peckish, the Wild Note Cafe — a full service restaurant — is adjacent to the club. Have a bite before you rock out.

Lestat’s

lestats normal heights san diego live music venue

Lestat’s is an intimate venue to see singer/songwriters.

For a more intimate, mellow live music experience, head to Normal Heights and catch an acoustic showcase at Lestat’s. A coffeehouse with an adjacent seated venue, Lestat’s is a prime venue to hear great local and touring folk acts or singer/songwriters. It’s laid back, comfortable, and open 24 hours! So if you feel like curling up in one of its comfy chairs and keeping the espresso flowing after the music stops, go ahead and make yourself at home.

Open Air Theatre

san diego state university open air theater live music

The Open Air Theater is big enough for large acts to play, but small enough to still feel close to the performers.

For bigger names, there are a handful of giant arenas that pull in some of the biggest acts in the country, but a good middle ground is San Diego State University’s Open Air Theatre, which is big enough to house a marquee act, but still small enough not to require a Jumbotron. The sound is great, and it’s outdoors, so patrons can listen to their favorite band while lounging under the stars.

This is just a sampling of the many live music venues in San Diego, but pick a night to visit any of these four and you’re guaranteed a good time.

jeff terich san diego music critic best san diego live music venuesJeff 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, Jeff is also the founder of Treblezine.com, an independent music feature and review site.