In this economy it can be hard to find the money to enjoy great concert experiences. So you want to find the best places to see a band without winding up with buyer’s remorse after a bad experience. If you look in the right places, many venues offer an intimate opportunity to see up-and-coming or major-label artists without breaking the bank.
The Midwest offers a particularly fertile ground for such venues. A few hours of driving separate Indianapolis from Cincinnati, Louisville from Nashville. And those four cities offer many fine venues where you can catch your favorite artist in a small enough space for the qualities of their music not to be drowned in stadium or ampitheater echo.
MURAT EGYPTIAN ROOM – Indianapolis, Indiana
The Murat Egyption Room, located in downtown Indianapolis, draws both developing acts and major-label stars, but with room for only 2,000 general admission fans per concert, it provides an intimate experience for music fans. And as part of the historic Murat Shrine, the oldest stage house in downtown Indianapolis, it’s also a historic location which helps give Indy’s downtown area a great deal of character.
BOGARTS – Cincinnati, Ohio
Located at 2621 Vine Street, in the heart of the Corryville neighborhood of Cincinnati, Bogarts is about as intimate a setting you could find to view a live performance. Originally a vaudeville theater built in 1905, the venue is a particularly good place to see bands while they’re still on the way up. You and a few hundred fellow fans can get right up close with the bands, for a memorable experience you can brag about later.
HEADLINERS MUSIC HALL – Louisville, Kentucky
Headliners provided a launching pad for bands like Fall Out Boy to be seen by a few hundred fans at a time, and they still provide a place for music fans in the region to catch acts in a variety of genres, from rock to jam-bands, many of them below the radar enough to be true finds. The place looks quite nondescript from the outside, but once you get through the doors you’ll understand why this is one of the best small club venues in the city to hear new music.
THE MERCY LOUNGE / CANNERY BALLROOM – Nashville, Tennessee
If your tastes lean toward the indie side, The Mercy Lounge and Cannery Ballroom in Nashville is the place for you. In a space that holds around 500 music fans, the venue built its name in the 90s when bands like Jane’s Addiction and Midnight Oil came through. They frequently have shows with tickets under $20, so you won’t break the bank when wanting to check out one of your favorite indies.