Soma San Diego
|Address||3350 Sports Arena Boulevard|
San Diego, California
|Capacity||2,700 (mainstage) 500 (sidestage)|
|Current use||music venue|
SOMA is a concert venue in the Midway neighborhood of San Diego, California, adjacent to the San Diego Sports Arena. It is an all-ages venue with a strict alcohol-free policy to permit attendance by minors. It has been described as San Diego's "leading all-ages venue for punk and alternative-rock concerts." It is located at 3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
SOMA was originally opened in the early 1990s by Len Paul at an old warehouse in downtown San Diego on 555 Union Street, just south of Market Street – hence the name “SOuth of MArket." At that time, the venue was mostly known as a dance club, but eventually made the transition to hosting live music. One unique feature of the club was that, in addition to the main concert hall located on the ground floor, it had a basement area, known as "The Dungeon" that held approximately 100 people. It was in the dungeon that many local San Diego bands got their first opportunity to play at the club. If bands could bring in a large enough following, they would be given the opportunity to play upstairs on the main stage, in support of more popular local acts or nationally touring acts. At this downtown location some well-known San Diego bands such as Rocket from the Crypt, blink-182, Unwritten Law, Stone Temple Pilots, and Buck-O-Nine built a strong local following before moving on to tour nationally in the mid 1990s.
In 1994, SOMA moved to a former warehouse on Metro Street, just south of the University of San Diego. Major artists such as Faith No More, Fugazi, Pavement, Radiohead, The Ramones, The Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer performed here, as well as many local bands. The venue closed in 1999.
In 2002, Paul reopened SOMA at its current home, a former multiplex movie theater that was renovated into a concert venue. Walls dividing individual theaters were torn down to create one large area for the main stage. It can hold up to 2,700 occupants in its main hall, and the side stage can accommodate 500+. Many of the theater's old production offices have been turned into dressing rooms for the bands which overlook the audience. There is a snack bar and merchandise area in the lobby.
In 2004, Switchfoot performed a sold-out show that was later released as a DVD titled Live in San Diego. Dave Matthews Band's performance at Soma in 1995, broadcast live on radio, was later released as part of their Live Trax series.
On 16 June 2018, As I Lay Dying performed for the first time as a band since lead singer, Tim Lambesis was released from prison in late 2016. According to Tim, the concert was about gratitude for the opportunity to play as a band again and gratitude for fans.
- "Live music promoter lands in S.D." San Diego Union Tribune. July 13, 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2012.