Concert Reviews

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Umphrey's McGee hypnotizes Observatory

Reeling in the years with the progressive jam band

As far as concert performances go, Umphrey’s McGee can run hot and cold. Sunday night, they were on fire. Normally reminiscent of a free-form rock group like Phish, Umphrey’s McGee brought their sound down to ...

A deep performance at the La Jolla Symphony

Verdi Requiem has the power to move us

As the text “libera me” hung in the air no one applauded. The tone evaporated and still no one applauded. I was sitting on my hands because I was caught up in the sacred feminine ...

Fanclub lets the flannel fly

Scottish alt-rockers Teenage Fanclub deliver the hits and Here to Belly Up

Touring in support of their 2016 album, Here, the Scottish alt-rock band Teenage Fanclub marched into the Belly Up and delivered a set composed of fan favorites. Fittingly, the band started with “Start Again” off ...

Shins return to sound if not form

Indie rockers' Heartworms better than the band on this night

The Shins’ return to San Diego after a five-year hiatus — for two nights at the Observatory — was special for more reasons than just the long absence and mini residency. To start, for many ...

Return of the Gold Dust Woman

Stevie Nicks and Pretenders pack the house at Viejas

Stevie Nicks fans waited in anticipation for months after an extension of Nicks's 2016 tour was announced last fall. When her show arrived in San Diego at SDSU’s Viejas Arena on March 2, the performers ...

A childlike concert at San Diego Symphony

How do you make Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 fresh and new?

When it comes to concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, the one turned out by the San Diego Symphony on March 4 was special. Never in my life could I have imagined anyone conducting like ...

Dave Wakeling beats back the storm

The English Beat hits with the hits

Despite a torrential downpour, fans packed the Belly Up in Solana Beach for a fun-filled evening with the English Beat. Just shy of his 61st birthday, Dave Wakeling acted like an old-time vaudevillian as he ...

Slim Cessna's hillbilly hootenanny

Gothic Americana act takes Soda Bar a little higher

How does one begin to describe Slim Cessna’s Auto Club? The band, forming 25 years ago in Denver, defies categorization, though many have tried. Some have labeled their sound — a wickedly enchanting mix of ...

Blind Boys of Alabama still hungry after 80 years

"The Blind Boys of Alabama like to eat."

Maybe someone warned him about the Belly Up Tavern’s location in laid-back Solana Beach. Maybe it was the venue’s seated-show setup. Maybe it was because his group was playing on a Sunday night. Whatever it ...

Hot Snake surprise

The dormant quartet gets together for a night

It was announced on Monday afternoon that the Hot Snakes would be playing an impromptu show later that night at John Reis’s Bar Pink in North Park. The four of them, packed onto the little ...

Itzhak Perlman sold out Symphony Hall

The venerable master of the violin plays for a packed house

Symphony CEO Martha Gilmore made some lovely statements before Saturday night’s symphony concert. She also made a sly remark about the house being sold out for the music of Erich Korngold. Of course, the house ...

Midge Ure remembers Bowie during Casbah concert

"...a man who changed the face of music forever"

Midge Ure, at 63 years of age, can still rock the house. The former member of Ultravox, Visage, and Thin Lizzy brought his three-piece band to the Casbah, where they played songs spanning his career. ...

Bowie's birthday bash

Three acts offer highlights of his musical life

Have you ever had a magic night involving music? This was one of those nights. Led by my psychedelic bolo tie, I walked into the Casbah with no expectations. Ziggy Shuffledust started us off. Having ...

Dandy Warhols dandy but distant

Distortland's San Diego tour stop not the Dandy's best outing

On a rainy December night, the Dandy Warhols rolled into the Belly Up on their Distortland tour. As much as I dig the Dandys, I have to say this latest show in San Diego was ...

Two Door Cinema Club's last hurrah at Harrah's

Irish indie-pop act bids farewell to 2016

A final hurrah was given for Irish indie-pop band Two Door Cinema Club, as they performed their last concert of 2016, stopping at Harrah’s Resort SoCal in San Diego for a set of mild madness ...

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