Boston’s Best Places To Discover New Music

January 3, 2013 6:00 AM

(Photo credit : MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Big-budget, major concert venues can be a great place to watch a high-profile act or classic rock legend, but sometimes less is better. Boston has more than its fair share of intimate live music halls where the major stars and indie sensations play on a nightly basis. It’s at venues like these where new music is made, and in-the-know fans get to stake their claim as being there before it all started. Here are five such area venues; places where new music lives, breathes and thrives.
Photo Credit: Church of Boston

Photo Credit: Church of Boston

69 Kilmarnock St.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 236-7600

Parishioners at this Church have a slightly different way of worship here on Friday and Saturday nights; the kind of prayer that prostrates itself at the altar of good food, stiff drinks and (not so) heavenly rock ‘n’ roll style. Indie, metal and punk bands offer praise to the guitar gods on a regular basis here at Church, while the restaurant portion of the place packs ’em in with comfort food cuisine guaranteed to get motors running for the attached, 225-person capacity music hall. Simply put, Church of Boston is one of the coolest places to see, be seen and, more importantly, catch killer new music.

Related: Best Live Latin Music In Boston

Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 562-8800

The city’s long-standing and respected Paradise Rock Club has hosted everything from hot up-and-comers and local legends to established, big-name acts, retaining all of the while its super-cool reputation as an old-school rock joint. Although hardcore metal and punk fans may be disappointed to learn The Paradise employs a no-tolerance policy on moshing and slam dancing, those who simply want to watch a great show with superb sound will find plenty to like at The Dise.

(credit: Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub/Ilya Mirman)

(credit: Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub/Ilya Mirman)

The Middle East
472 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 864-3278

The Middle East is another venue Bostonians know very well; a place where countless of the city’s music-obsessed contingent — from indie hipsters to hip hop fans and rough/ready metallers — have checked out the next big thing at either of the Middle East’s up or downstairs stages. The club, already famous for its food and live entertainment in the dining hall, has hosted a wide variety of musical acts over the years, never playing favorites or getting nailed down to a particular type of vibe or style. Instead, The Middle East is a place every Boston music fan has likely visited at least once; an institution where new, live music is a way of life.

Related: Boston’s Best Bars and Clubs With Retro Nights

(Photo Credit: TT The Bears/Facebook)

(Photo Credit: TT The Bears/Facebook)

T.T. The Bear’s Place
10 Brookline St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 492-0082

Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from The Middle East, T.T. The Bear’s is more than just a little music venue with a strange name; it’s a place where many major acts cut their teeth before making it to the big time and where tomorrow’s hip sensations still thrill audiences on a nightly basis. T.T. the Bear’s is a place that made its name on live music, celebrating the medium with an honest and palpable love of the arts. T.T.’s commits to hosting live music seven nights a week, a service that has earned it the city’s respect and patronage since it opened its doors back in 1985. This one is no fluke; T.T. the Bear’s is the real deal.

(credit: Great Scott)

(credit: Great Scott)

Great Scott
1222 Commonwealth Ave.
Allston, MA 02134
(617) 566-9014

They don’t call it “Allston Rock City” for nothing. This Boston suburb has drawn the city’s student and arts community for years with its bars, clubs, tattoo parlors and restaurants. Great Scott was there from the start, showcasing a wealth of local talent from the alternative, indie and heavy genres of music. The venue also hosts large-scale gigs, while even venturing into stand up comedy, hip hop and DJ sets. While perhaps not enjoying as high profile an image as some of its contemporaries, Great Scott has nevertheless endured and thrived within the hearts of Allston’s rock faithful.

George Pacheco has been writing professionally about arts and entertainment for over a decade. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, George currently resides in a humble New England home with his wife, cat and massive music and film collection. His work can be found at