“The number could be off by a few in either direction, but I think it’s been around 520.” Carey Driscoll says he’s lost count of the number of shows he has produced over ten years as part of his AMSD Concerts at the Normal Heights United Methodist Church, but that’s over. He is moving the series to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Euclid Avenue in East San Diego. The reason, Driscoll says, is that the Normal Heights church has retained a new minister and he wants to change the footprint of the seating.
1370 Euclid Avenue, City Heights
“He’s going to an in-the-round setup that wouldn’t work for concerts, and the change will reduce capacity, too. But I really appreciate the fact that we were able to use the church for ten great years, and we would have stayed there as long as the series existed if not for the changes they’re going to be making.”
Driscoll began production on July 25, 2003, with a single concert at the now-defunct Valley Music store in El Cajon before moving the series to a community center in Normal Heights where he staged a half dozen more shows. The Methodist church on Mansfield worked better for Driscoll’s needs because of the superior acoustics, the central location, and an audience that, as Driscoll puts it, “comes for the music and respects the artists by not talking nonstop during their performances. And,” he says, “a lot of churches have little to no evening activity, so getting the dates I need for the shows I want to book is far more likely.”
The new location appeals for the same reasons, he says, including “affordable rent that will enable me to continue bringing in the excellent acts that were virtually unknown in this area, but with enough seating capacity that I can also book the acts that draw 200 to 250.” Over the years, AMSD has brought to town concert notables such as Al Kooper, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Loudon Wainwright III, Dave Alvin, Janis Ian, Ambrosia, the Strawbs, and Judy Collins. The new venue will also allow Driscoll to use multiple rooms for intermission and post-concert gatherings and performer meet-and-greets, a kitchen, and an artist’s green room. Driscoll says he looked at a number of churches before making the deal.
- Friday, February 7, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
2900 Highland Avenue (Sweetwater High School),
“I’d guess that the only people at the new venue who even knew we existed are the couple of longtime AMSD concertgoers who suggested that their church might agree to rent to us, and [they] made the case on our behalf to the decision-makers there.”
As of press time, the first show listed at the new venue is bluesman Guy Davis, appearing on February 7.