Independent as ever, Belly Up Tavern books its own booker, Peter McDevitt.
  • Independent as ever, Belly Up Tavern books its own booker, Peter McDevitt.
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Most clubs that host national acts rely on one of the “big three” concert companies — AEG, Live Nation/House of Blues, Nederlander — to route headliners to their stages.

Belly Up

143 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

The Belly Up Tavern has never done the corporate concert thing. It’s been independent for all of its 40 years.

When its talent-buyer Eric Milstead left to work for AEG in Los Angeles last month, it was up to Belly Up talent-director Chris Goldsmith to select his replacement. (Goldsmith just won his seventh Grammy for Best Blues Album for coproducing Get Up! by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite.)

Milstead picked a talent-booker from another independent club: Peter McDevitt, from the 900-capacity Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri will take over the Belly Up bookings.

“Like the Belly Up, the folks who work at the Blue Note are more like family,” says McDevitt, 34. “People support each other. It’s not like that at a corporate machine. We are fiercely independent.”

What does that mean?

“Like the time we told Ticketmaster to take a hike three years ago. Ticketmaster is owned by Live Nation. It didn’t seem right to have your competitor handle your tickets.... To give you another example, we have a sticker in our office [that reads] ‘Fuck Clear Channel.’”

McDevitt says he had never been to San Diego before.

“They flew me out for my final interview. As soon as I got off the plane, I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

He says the first show he organized was the Dismemberment Plan in 1999.

“I was 19. My first sold-out show was Fugazi in 2001. This was one of my favorite bands in high school. That showed me that this is what I wanted to do.”

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Comments

Ken Harrison Feb. 12, 2014 @ 3:04 p.m.

Note to Belly Up bookers - Get the Time Jumpers out here, please!!!!! Or Cow Bop from L.A., or the hilarious Doyle and Debbie Show from Nashville. Jr. Brown welcomed back anytime. Are The Bus Boys still performing?

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