Favorite music venues


The State Theater in Kalamazoo is an absolute gem. Several years ago they had a historic tour group go through the theater and they dropped the “fire screen” down for them to see it. You can see the organ is still there, restored from the old silent movie days. It is a majestic and magical place. I’ve seen so many great shows there and the acoustics are superior.

My top 5 shows there:
Tom Waits - Big Time tour
Wilco - Ghost is Born tour
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Easy Tiger period
The Arcangels - only tour
John Prine - Bruised Orange tour


The Off Ramp will always have a place in my heart since I saw so so many shows there. If I was out on a weekend at all, I was usually there.

Not to much to look at, capacity of 300-ish, but everybody played there. They had ‘hash after the bash,’ which was breakfast served at 1 am for 50 cents–eggs, potatoes and toast. You just got a paper plate served to you from a small table and you stood there and ate it.

Here’s a sample of sets of people who played in a few weeks when it was in its prime (not every show, but notable ones), think I was at all these shows. Usually $7 to get in:

Some pics

Actually one pic. Apparently no one brought a camera unless they were going to Pearl Jams first show, which I did not because I do not care for them. So only pics are in my head I suppose.


Great idea for a thread! There are some stunning theaters in this country, including the Palace in Louisville, where I’ve seen some great shows. And yet, I would have to say that the Birchmere in Alexandria is my favorite. There’s nothing special about the architecture; it’s basically an ugly 1970s concrete building. But artists love the place. They go out of their way to say how welcome they always feel when they go there and how appreciative the audience is. I’ve seen some fantastic shows there. Kathleen Edwards, Kelly Willis, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle, Hayes Carll, Amanda Shires… Every time they seemed to put on a special show because it was the Birchmere. I lived down the street from it when I was working in DC, and it was the only thing I liked about living there.


Club Soda in Kalamazoo was my favorite bar that served music. It was a tiny place that packed in crowds for great shows.

I saw the Fabulous Thunderbirds there twice, John Hammond, Peter Case, The Verve Pipe and of course the God Bullies.

The “local” bands from Ann Arbor that played were my favorites - The Blue Front Persuaders, Mustard Plug, Duke Tomato and the All Star Frogs and the Bosstones.


The Peach Pit After Dark


The Louisville Palace is pretty much a masterpiece.

Of course I love the 9:30 Club in DC. Legendary venue.

The Ryman has to be up there as well.

I also very much love The Brown Theatre and Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville.

And the venue of my youth: Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The Tower Theater outside of Philly is super cool. Saw an all-time favorite Radiohead show there.

My favorite venue in New York: Town Hall.

Plus, Radio City. So cool. Saw my very first My Morning Jacket show at Radio City. :slight_smile:


The Stoughton Opera House is a great place. It’s a tiny theater upstairs in the Stoughton City Hall. I saw Eilen Jewell and Steve Earle there. The last show I saw was at the Luckenbach Dance Hall, which was pretty special too.


I saw My Morning Jacket in at the Chicago Theater, which is quite a majestic place as well.


The 5th Avenue Theater is a favorite. I saw Tom Waits there on the Mule Variations tour. We were last row nosebleed despite showing up early to a random drug store and waiting in line for tickets. He entered the theater through the lobby with a megaphone. Glitter in his pockets, dust on the stage, mirror ball hat. Maybe my favorite concert ever. I saw Lucinda Williams the night before but front row center, literally. I called for tickets a minute early and the extremely cool girl held me on the phone until they went on sale. https://images.app.goo.gl/BuBmHcb1NM4NuqTEA


Love the Chicago Theater. I saw He Who Shall Not Be Named there. And no, it wasn’t Voldemort.


I would have loved to see Waits on that Glitter and Doom tour. I saw him six or seven times, but all way back when.

Here is a review I found of one of the first times I saw him at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, another great old theater. It was a midnight concert that had Andy Pratt as the warm up band. He started an hour late and was booed off the stage after two songs only to have Waits wait another hour or so before he came on. He stumbled up to the front of the stage with a half gallon of Jack Daniels that he kept drinking from (probably a prop, but maybe not). Great concert, that didn’t get done until about 4 in the morning, then had to drive the 2 hours home.


I saw him at another lovely theater, The Paramount for the Real Gone Tour. I never had an early opportunity other than the bridge school shows he did. Such a rare bird.


I used to work at the Paramount. Aside from the famous Nirvana homecoming show, two favorites were two nights of solo Neil Young and a Melvins show.


On of my favorite shows there was Joan Osborne. Her voice really filled up that place.