Boston is a nurturing and encouraging town for local musicians. It has some legendary venues, as well as scores of bars, dance clubs and other places that provide a stage and a regular audience for bands, singers and other musicians of all genres. With tens of thousands of college students and a large population of young adults all hungry for live entertainment, Boston offers a welcoming environment for fresh talent. Here are just five places in Boston to go for those who want to support, or just sample, the local music scene.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave.
Allston, MA 02134
Arguably the “premiere live performance venue” in Boston (or so their Facebook page proclaims), Brighton Music Hall in Allston may be small, but for any band that wants to make it in Boston, this is the place where they need to play. It doesn’t matter whether they play traditional rock, metal, funk, soul – or any other genre, this is where local artists aspire to play, and with good reason. A very affordable venue where people can dance and groove to the music, the Brighton Music Hall attracts a young and appreciative crowd. Among the musicians scheduled to appear in mid-to-late April are Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Grendel, 3Teeth and Saba, along with many more.
The Plough and Stars
912 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Like any good, authentic Irish pub, The Plough and Stars is a place where good music and good beer both flow. There has been live music here every night since it opened in 1969, and from Sunday through Thursday there is no cover charge (and on Friday and Saturday nights the cover charge is a mere five dollars). Wednesday nights are always Blues Jam nights, and Mondays are singer/songwriter showcase nights. The food is good, the beer is cold, the atmosphere is warm, and the music is local. In April the little stage at the pub will see the likes of Johnny Trama and the B3 Kings, Gin Daisy and D’funkt, as well as Pyramid Thieves and Gin Daisy.
52 Church St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Although it looks like little more than a gastropub with a stage, The Sinclair in Cambridge has a post of honor in the Boston music scene. From tribute bands to blues guitarists, The Sinclair attracts performers in many musical genres from all over the region. Among the upcoming artists scheduled to appear this spring, for example, are Matt Costa, Elizabeth & the Catapults, Superchunk, The Grateful Ball and The Travelin’ McCourys.
967 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
There aren’t many places these days where a local band can play to a crowd of nearly a thousand, but that is exactly what The Paradise is all about. Tickets for most shows are under $50 (sometimes much less), and the drinks are very reasonably priced. The Paradise books mostly local and regional bands, but a number of groups that are fairly well known outside New England also show up on their stage. This spring, for example, the stage will see the likes of L7, Badfish, Skizzy Mars, Smokepump and Panda Bear, just to name a few.
279 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
Once an opera house, The Royale is a “megaclub” – a bigger than usual multi-level night club with big-name local DJs, celebrity bartenders, and a list of headliners to make any music venue jealous. This spring, for example, Brian Fallon & the Howling Weather, Kate Nash, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Marion Hill will all perform, mostly to sell-out crowds. This is a place to party, to dance, to hear great music, and, according to their web site, is also “the ultimate event destination” for anyone who has something they want to celebrate.
Related: Boston’s Best Folk Music Venues
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