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Belly Up Turns 40! Live Performance By Donavon Frankenreiter & KPBS Taping


  • WHEN Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at
  • WHERE Belly Up Tavern, 143 S Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, CA
    Map | Website
  • AGES Not available
  • COST Free

This September marks the 40th anniversary of the vision conceived by Dave Hodges and Greg Gilholm, two lifelong friends who dreamed of bestowing their small community of Solana Beach with a local watering hole where people throughout San Diego could enjoy a refreshing drink. Evolving over time into the popular live music venue San Diegans know and love today, the Belly Up is an intrinsic part of Southern California’s music scene that locally- and nationally-renowned musicians praise for its premium acoustics and welcoming atmosphere.

Music did not play a role in Belly Up’s early history, but it wasn’t long before the bar’s billiards and pinball appendages were traded for a low-rise stage. Local bluegrass bands were among the first to grace Belly Up’s new stage, but after a few years the club took a turn toward the blues, attracting famed artists like Bo Diddley, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, and many others throughout the 1980s. The 1990s saw the Belly Up through a noticeable genre expansion as reggae, hip hop, rock and pop acts gravitated toward the eclectic venue that managed to fit all tastes.

Today’s Belly Up provides several widely-appreciated perks to the average concert attendee that they don’t see at most other venues. Free parking, a complimentary coat check. low drink prices, and a 600 capacity venue that provides both space and intimacy through its thoughtful design make the Belly Up a regional destination for live music. Identified by Rolling Stone Magazine as, “one of the hottest live music clubs on the West Coast,” Belly Up consistently earns the San Diego Music Awards’ “Best Live Music Venue” title.

Nationally acclaimed bands have played the club when they were fledglings including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Jack Johnson, and John Mayer - while other famous acts have come to the club to do something fun and more intimate than their usual larger venue performances – artists like Jimmy Buffet, Green Day, Death Cab for Cutie, Joe Walsh, and Foster The People. Almost every major national artist based in San Diego has played the club more than once, artists like Jason Mraz, J.J. Cale, Switchfoot, Blink 182, POD, and even Burt Bacharach while a pantheon of legends have traveled through the club including Willie Nelson, BB King, Tom Jones, The Neville Brothers, and Curtis Mayfield. And, of course, waves and waves of great bands keep coming through the club, acts like Damian Marley, Alt J, Thievery Corporation, and Snoop Dogg, as well as locally based artists that tour nationally, like Slightly Stoopid, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Steve Poltz, and Tristan Prettyman.

Jokingly named for the club’s potential to go “belly up,” Belly Up Tavern is now an enduring institution that has gained momentum with each new era. Purchased by current owners Phil Berkovitz and Steve Goldberg in 2003, Belly Up continues to thrive not only at the Solana Beach venue but also through its outside booking business which procures entertainment for many other organizations, including the Del Mar Racetrack, the San Diego Padres, Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, and the Competitor Group (organizer of the Rock and Roll Marathons in San Diego and nationwide). The club also has a growing partnership with another iconic San Diego music venue, The Casbah, that includes co-promoting shows at the recently renovated North Park Theater downtown, and has a sister club in Colorado -- The Belly Up Aspen -- which has been bringing the Belly Up’s brand of “great entertainment in a quality setting” to the Rocky Mountains for the past nine years.

Evolving to keep pace with the tech-savvy 21st century, the the Belly Up also is now a global presence via the internet. The recently launched Belly Up Live website, that is a digital download and streaming site where people can easily find and download professionally mixed and mastered versions of many of their favorite concerts. Launched in January, the site has over 50 artists already, including Donovan Frankenreiter, Cowboy Junkies, Matthew Sweet, and Rusted Root.

In celebration of this landmark anniversary, the Belly Up is teaming up with KPBS to tape a series of low-priced shows for the 3rd season of LIVE AT THE BELLY UP, which will air Fridays on KPBS-TV in January and February 2015. The first shows feature Belly Up favorite Donavon Frankenreiter on Tuesday, September 23rd, followed by a special presentation of the new band Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene), with more artists and shows still to be announced.

The Belly Up is also very active in local and national charity organizations and has hosted great events for groups to raise money for a variety of causes including the Switchfoot Bro-Am, Toys for Tots, Groovin with the Godfather for ALS, Rob Machado Foundation’s Benefit Concert and the Jason Mraz Foundation.

Rockin’ since 1974, the Belly Up continues to bring the best in entertainment to their customers and looks forward to another 40 years!

Dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Always check the event organizer's website for the most updated schedule before attending.

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