29 Reasons to Listen Live in San Diego

Take a musical leap! Famed Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini, born February 29, 1792, turns 55-leap-years-young today! And if Google is celebrating a musical leap day, who are we to argue? In no particular order, here are 29 reasons to listen live in San Diego.

  1. The Belly Up Tavern– voted “San Diego’s Best Live Music Venue” even before it was made famous by a visit from Prince Harry of Wales
  2. Celebrating singer-songwriter Jim Croce with great food, wine and nightly live music at Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar. Here, here!
  3. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at 4th and B on March 30, 2012
  4. All-you-can-eat Southern inspired buffet and gospel performances at the House of Blue’s World Famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. Hallelujah!
  5. Donning a fedora and pretending you are a part of the Rat Pack at Anthology supper club.
  6. Emerging art and pop culture collide at The Loft: UCSD, with Jenny Owen Youngs on March 2, 2012.
  7. The Casbah’s guaranteed cool factor- whatever you decide to see.
  8. DJ Scooter “playing all the coolest s*%t you’ve never heard of” at Analog Bar every Tuesday at 9 pm.
  9. A place that takes jazz seriously, Dizzy’s: where music matters most.
  10. MIXTAPE– the Greatest Hits of the 80s, at the Horton Grand Theatre, extended through April 29, 2012.
  11. Seeing a concert at Humphrey’s by the Bay, whether you buy a ticket, or pull up a boat. 😉
  12. San Diego Symphony’s annual outdoor Summer Pops concert series performed on San Diego Bay.
  13. Flamenco fever at Café Sevilla with rumba guitarist Joef of the Gypsy kings family.
  14. Listening FREE to music ranging from folk to rockabilly at Adam’s Avenue Unplugged, April 21-22, 2012.
  15. Music worth seeing at San Diego Opera with Don Pasquale, March 10-18, 2012.
  16. Catching home grown talent with the potential for national greatness:  The Silent Comedy, Cuckoo Chaos, Hyena perform regularly around town.
  17. Treating club music as an art and a DJ as a god, at Voyeur, voted #68 of the Top 100 Clubs in the WORLD by DJ Magazine in 2011.
  18. Listening to the San Diego Symphony in the original Fox Theatre, opened in 1929.
  19. Van Halen at the Viejas Arena June 14, 2012.
  20. Celebrating the Saxophone with SAXibit at the Museum of Making Music, May 19-November 30, 2012.
  21. The VIP experience of Taylor Guitars Private Dining Room at Anthology, named after the locally based, world renowned guitar manufacturer and Anthology sponsor, Taylor Guitars.
  22. Free shows in the hippest of hoods, Bar Pink in North Park.
  23. Elvis Costello or Rufus Wainwright at Humphrey’s by the Bay. How to choose?
  24. The balance of intelligence and entertainment at ArtPower UC San Diego.
  25. Close proximity to a slew of buzz-worthy bands at Soda Bar.
  26. The highly entertaining, audience request-driven duel of two talented piano players at The Shout House.
  27. The recently renovated and restored 83 year old Balboa Theatre, hosting a diverse line up of performances.
  28. Street fairs! Whatever the fair, live music is there! Try OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off Festival, Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, Pride Festival, holiday block parties in the Gaslamp Quarter or ArtWalk in Little Italy.
  29. And last but certainly not least, San Diego Opera celebrates birthday boy Rossini’s “55th” with The Barber of Seville, April 21-29, 2012.

What are your reasons for listening?


Listen Live in San Diego: When Every Day is Mardi Gras!

Officially, Fat Tuesday falls on February 21, 2012. And when Sir Simon Cowell himself says that “DJ’s are the new rock stars,” it is fair to pay homage in this blog to the 4 stages and rotating DJ’s of Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego on Tuesday, February 21. But while I may give up carbs or cuss words for the Lenten season, I certainly am not giving up live music – which makes every day Mardi Gras for me! What will be your musical Mardi Gras this year?

House of Blues

Mardi Gras music starts at 3:00 pm on February 21 and is free for all revelers. Perfect. My office is a block away. Continue the party on February 29 with Indie pop-rock of the British persuasion. The Kooks will be performing their “catchy as hell” tunes for all of us who won’t see them at Bonnaroo this summer.

RaRaRiot coming to the BellyUp Tavern

RaRaRiot coming to the Belly Up Tavern

Belly Up Tavern

So the CAKE show is sold out, but the Belly Up delivers such consistent quality that this doesn’t concern me. If you have a predilection for plaid shirts and converse, enjoy the sweet Paul Simon-inspired falsetto of Indie rock Ra Ra Riot on Thursday, February 23. I support any band that jams with a cello. Of course, there is still a chance to see what 40-plus years of rocking out looks like with classic rock favorite, America, performing February 26.

Birch North Park Theatre

Birch North Park Theatre

Birch North Park Theatre

Probably not your first thought as a live music venue, but I love taking in a show at the beautifully refurbished Birch for the sheer proximity to the bars, restaurants and culture of North Park’s young, indie neighborhood. While they always have a full season of theater to enjoy, it is a great, old school venue for a variety of bands as well. For instance, on March 2, Girls, performing with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, will grace the stage with their contagious energy and a few more plaid shirts. 😉

Enjoy this next few weeks of music everyone! And have an awesome Mardi Gras! As always, let me know what shows you want to see!


Listen Live in San Diego and Win Tickets to America at the Belly Up

Last Saturday night Ozomatli blew the roof off the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, ending their high-octane show playing out in the crowd. Leaving punch-drunk and grinning, I realized this is the specialty-du-jour of the happening-yet-intimate Belly Up Tavern. Perfectly sized and situated for optimal sight and sound, every show has a distinct block-party feel, if said party took place in a ridiculously talented neighborhood.

Here are a few upcoming shows throughout San Diego you don’t want to miss:

Belly Up Tavern

And who wouldn’t want these guys at their block party? America, the perennial classic-rock favorite, will be gracing the Belly Up on February 26, at 8:00 pm with chart-topping tunes like “A Horse with No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair.” If you can’t wait until then, head up this Friday, February 3 for An Evening with Keller Williams in his spectacular one-man (sometimes barefoot) show.


Impress your sweetheart with a super swank supper this February 14, 2012. Singer John Vincent & The John Cain Orchestra will do the crooning and wooing for you with A Valentine’s Day Tribute to Sinatra as you dine in style on 3 delicious courses.

4th & B

Come see VH1 “You Oughta Know” artists on the rise, MUTEMATH, on February 3 for a guaranteed good time. “We’re not good at being dark,” says singer/keyboardist Paul Meany about their new album, Odd Soul, “so we wanted to see how far we could go into creating something glaringly bright.” That seems like San Diego to me!

It’s your chance to experience the Belly Up Tavern with 2 free tickets to America, performing February 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm. Comment on this blog by 10:00 am on Wednesday, February 8, to enter. Please include your e-mail so we can get a hold of you! Good luck!


Listen Live in San Diego: January 19 – February 2, 2012

Thank you, Martin Luther King Day, for being the holiday after the Holidays we all needed. Now, welcome back to the 5 day work week. The year has officially started. Luckily, a plethora of great live music around San Diego in the coming weeks is sure to keep that holiday magic alive.


Hump Day Pick: If you need to do something today, I suggest hitting up Olin and the Moon tonight, January 18, OR catch them next week on January 25. Either way, their music is infused with the “endearing hope that a good song can cure even the worst hang over,” a sentiment that also pertains to the rest of your week.

House of Blues

See the solo acoustic Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional this Friday, January 20. And what do you think about this fun San Diego connection? The song “Stolen” was filmed at the famous Hotel Del Coronado, but there is something a little off in regards to the weather…can you guess what it is?

4th & B

Nada Surf performs January 28 in conjunction with the release of their new album on January 24, The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy. Their specific blend of rhythmic groove and introspective chords shaped around Caws’ soulful voice has made Nada Surf a crowd favorite since the nineties, and on January 28 they will be joined by San Diego based favorites, The Soft Pack, Cuckoo Chaos and Republic of Letters.

Belly Up Tavern

Get your tickets fast for Ozomatli on Friday, January 27th. This Los Angeles group is an urban collision of hip hop, salsa, samba, funk, East L.A. R&B, New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga living by the mantra: we’ll take you around the world by taking you around L.A. I’m excited to see them at their already sold out show on Saturday, January 28th, and hoping someone other than me will recreate this Drew Barrymore/Ozomalti classic.


Live Music in San Diego: Nostalgia Rocks

Push past the throngs of bodies to the front of the room. The anticipation builds as everyone waits for the headlining act to take the stage. You eagerly sip your drink, chatting with a friend, and then…the lights go down and the music kicks out. Nothing compares to seeing your favorite band live, and whether you prefer under-the-radar punk bands at a dingy dive bar or elegant jazz at a sleek and sophisticated club, you’ll find live music to suit any accoustic taste in San Diego.

If you’re heading to San Diego this winter, you might start feeling a little nostalgic. Not because of the Victorian buildings decked out in classic holiday decor, but because of the great 80s and 90s-era bands gracing San Diego stages during December and January:

Camper Van Beethoven plays at the Belly Up Tavern

The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach offers up some seriously good music with a not-so-serious attitude when Camper Van Beethoven takes the stage on Dec. 27. Describing themselves as “surrealist absurdist folk,” the band is known for their 1985 classic “Take the Skinheads Bowling.”

Public Enemy plays at 4th and B

The legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy comes to downtown’s 4th and B on Jan. 15. Don’t miss this chance to check out the music that influenced everyone from the Beastie Boys to Nirvana.

Wilco plays Copley Symphony Hall

Since their first album didn’t come out until 1994, Wilco may not be considered a nostalgic act, but their bittersweet ballads can make you long for a past that may have never existed in the first place. Their show at Copley Symphony Hall on Jan. 22 is sure to sell out.

With so much great live music coming to San Diego, which shows will you go see?



Live Music in San Diego: Nov 26 – Dec 3

Thanksgiving is upon us. And while we’ll all indulge in the bounty of the season – with an oversized helping of turkey or that extra slice of pumpkin pie – the best way to shake off that tryptophan-induced coma is by seeing some live music.

San Diego’s robust music scene offers diverse options for concert goers. From intimate venues and expansive outdoor arenas, to iconic rock clubs and moody jazz halls, you can quench your thirst for good live music any day of the week.

So get off that couch, leave the Thanksgiving leftovers at home and indulge your senses with some lively performances.

Here are some great shows at some of my favorite local venues:

Saturday, November 26
Crooked Fingers at THE CASBAH
w/Strand of Oaks & Little White Teeth
Doors open at 8:30 p.m.
$12, 21 and up

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Led by singer Eric Bachmann, this North Carolina-based band recently released their sixth full length record, Breaks in the Armor.

November 30 & December 1
Boney James at ANTHOLOGY
Shows at 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm
$19 – $98, All ages

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A three-time Grammy Award nominee, Soul Train Award winner and a pioneer of urban jazz, Saxophonist BONEY JAMES combines traditional jazz with elements of R&B and hip-hop.

Wednesday, Nov 30th
B.B. King w/ Walter Trout at Belly Up
8:00 pm
Doors at 7:00 pm
$99.00 / $104.00 day of show, 21 and up

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Don’t miss this chance to see the reigning King of the Blues, B.B. King up close and personal at this local favorite intimate venue in Solana Beach!

Saturday, December 3
The Holiday Hootenanny! at the Jenny Craig Pavilion at USD
My Morning Jacket, Two Door Cinema Club, Matt & Kim, Delta Spirit, and the Blackout Party
7:00 pm
$40 +, All Ages

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This annual holiday concert festival has a line-up that will surely get you movin’ & groovin’ for the holidays.


The Belly Up Tavern Music Rocks North County San Diego’s Nightlife!

No matter what kind of band visitors crave, from the legendary stars to the innovative upstarts, San Diego’s live music venues have something for everyone. Venues range from raucous to refined, and the music is live all night, every night in San Diego.

The internationally acclaimed Belly Up Tavern, est. 1974, in North County San Diego’s Solana Beach has a long history of hosting rock royalty and most recently, British royalty. The early stomping grounds of Eddie Vedder and a current neighborhood stop for Jason Mraz, the Belly Up Tavern is continually voted “San Diego’s Best Live Music Venue” by local publications as well as being named one of the hottest clubs on the west coast by Rolling Stone Magazine. With shows almost every night, there is a fit for every fancy. Here are two of my suggestions:

On November 17, at 8:00 pm, They Might Be Giants is celebrating the release of their brand new album, Join Us, and 30 years of uninterrupted rocking! Huzzah! Of course, having grown up in the ‘90s, TMBG’s particular brand of alternative rock is forever cemented in my mind via two iconic pop culture kid’s shows – Tiny Toon Adventures and Malcom in the Middle. You’re not the boss of me!

On December 3, at 8:00 pm, North County San Diego’s own two-time Grammy award-winning pop star, Jason Mraz will be staying in. In town that is. General tickets for his show, “You are Loved,” go on sale at noon, Friday, November 10. Get them before they’re gone! He is loved, after all!

Want to relive the ‘90s at the Belly Up Tavern? Leave a comment on this blog post and be entered to win two tickets to They Might Be Giants on November 17. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, Nov. 14, so be sure to post before 10:00 am on Monday!