Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Belly Up

If you've lived in San Diego for any amount of time, you've likely been to the Belly Up. It's actually not located in San Diego proper, but up the coast a bit, in Solana Beach. It gets my vote for best music venue in the San Diego area.

It's small, it's unique, it has great sound, two bars, lots of wood, a good ratio of seating to floor space, and it books great and varied talent.

It's not hard to get up close and personal. It's almost always a convivial crowd, at least at the shows I go to, so if you really need to be front row, it's not hard to make it happen. It's also a good place to score after-show goodies, like set lists and guitar picks.

Jacquie scored me a sweet pick from Ben Harper that says simply, BEN.  I LOVE IT. Although I can't quite remember where it is, so I don't have a photo for you. But rest assured it's somewhere safe. (But you get what that means, right? Ben was there up on that small stage right in front of us. Swoon.)

Last year on my birthday I had tickets to a show there. It was actually in the middle of a magical birthday-week Belly Up line-up. I saw three of my all-time favorites acts all within 8 days: Trevor Hall Sunday night, Xavier Rudd Thursday night, then Rising Appalachia the following Sunday night. (They really should have some sort of frequent flyer program.)

Here's the set list from that May 28th, 2015 Xavier Rudd show:

I originally had tickets to see Xavier on my birthday proper, the night before, May 27th, but I got an email from the Belly Up a month or two before the date saying that he would not be performing on that night. I'd need to trade my tickets in for the next night's show.

Come to find out, the Rolling Stones played a private party there the night of the 27th instead. The ROLLING STONES! And I was still holding a Belly Up ticket for that night AND it was my birthday. I should have gone up there an begged to get in. But I guess chances were slim when you're paying (a rumored) 2.7 - 3 million dollars to have them play, and you can only bring ~500 people, that's 6k a head!

But it's not all about the big names, the Belly Up is also a great place to see up and coming talent. My man's band, The Moves Collective, debuted there last Friday night - opening up for Hot Buttered Rum.

It was exciting. The energy was high.

I got to go backstage!

Ok, it's not crazy or anything, but that fridge did hold pitchers of IPA & other goodies. And there was this sweet pre-gig jam.

And then, right on time, they hit the stage. And there I was, front row, like on so many other nights at the Belly Up, dancing and singing along.


Pat said...

What so fun and what a great night! I would love to go sometime but maybe the Lawrence Welk resort (same distance, different direction) is more my speed?
Love, Mom

jacquie said...

Super cool, man! Sorry to have missed it. Happy early birthday, buddy!


Waxing Nostalgic in Central PA said...

love this post because I so love and miss my "local" bar, Belly UP...and I so love and miss Solana Beach!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Wow, what a cool spot. I'm going Belly Up just thinking about the Belly Up.

You've got some birthday magic mojo going on, girlfriend; stay with it -- you're clearly doing something right.


And now I'm not sure if I should go Belly Up or Belly Down.

These things confound me.