Mercury News alerted me to the fact that different people are booking the Warfield these days. It used to be booked by Livenation (formerly Clear Channel Entertainment, formerly Bill Graham Presents) but now it’s booked by Anschutz Entertainment Group-owned Goldenvoice, also out of Southern California. They’re perhaps best known for booking Coachella.
How did they get the Warfield? (From the Mercury News:)
Goldenvoice also has the advantage of some very deep pockets. The company, which began promoting punk shows in L.A. 20 years ago, is now owned by AEG, billionaire Philip Anschutz’s corporate behemoth whose interests range from owning the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings to producing Celine Dion’s residency in Vegas.
It was Anschutz’s purchase of the San Francisco Examiner in 2004 that enabled Goldenvoice to get a toehold in the market. The Examiner deal included the Warfield property, so when the lease came up, Live Nation was out and Goldenvoice was in.
From the article, I see that the Warfield was shut down for renovations but the changes (“The sound board has been moved downstairs…The locations of two bars have been shifted slightly, and the whole place has been spruced up with new paint and carpet.”) seem pretty minor. Given how much I disliked the venue before, I don’t think those will entice me back.
On the other hand, I think this is an interesting development in the local scene. While I wish everything was booked by small DIY promoters with inexpensive shows it’d a good thing that LiveNation doesn’t have such a stranglehold on the medium-to-large size rooms in the City. In that size range, Another Planet Entertainment (run by ex-Bill Graham Presents people) books occasional shows at the Grand Ballroom (at which Goldenvoice has been setting up shows too), Palace of Fine Arts, and Paramount Theater in Oakland, LiveNation had the Fillmore, Warfield and Mountain Winery completely under their control in addition to booking some shows at the Palace of Fine Arts, etc. So as much as I want small, independent and/ or local promoters to be booking the cities venues, at least there’s some competition in that size range at this point.
If you’re curious as to who they’re booking, Goldenvoice lists all of the Warfield shows.
 I should note that a lot of the bookers are local and independent in the small club range: Great American, Slim’s, Bimbo’s, Bottom of the Hill, Cafe du Nord, and Swedish American.