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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Scene and be seen at local live music venues

Published: March 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

For many, the quality of a live show is not just dependent on the caliber of the bands performing. The concert venue itself can often either make or break a show, and it can greatly affect a person's first-hand experience. Boston is certainly not a city short on concert locales with varying characteristics. This is a brief look at many of these popular venues in alphabetical order, and a guide for things to remember the next time you attend a show in Boston.

15 Landsdowne Street
Boston, MA 02215

Located near Fenway Park, the Avalon is perhaps the most illustrious concert venue in Boston. Having hosted acts such as Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and the Grateful Dead since its beginnings as a concert venue in 1969, the building has a distinct feeling of history to it, having undergone many changes throughout the years. The concert venue holds over 2,000 people, and also serves as a very popular club usually with a packed crowd. Fans remain standing, with the opportunity to get as close to the band as physically possible. The venue boasts the most expensive sound system and lighting in Boston as well as a spacious dance floor. Tickets for shows at the Avalon usually range between $10-25 , and there is generally a good mix between students and younger professionals in the crowd. There is no official dress code, but concert-goers should try and look stylish in order to avoid ridicule.

13 Landsdowne Street
Boston, MA 02215

Situated right next door to the Avalon, the Axis is not quite as glitzy as the Avalon, but still hosts its share of great live acts. The Axis is also a club in the same fashion as the Avalon. The Axis tends to offer a variety of alternative, dance, and electronica acts. Some say the venue evokes feelings of being in a dungeon, while others enjoy its two floor setup and variety of music. Tickets are usually a bit cheaper or comparable to their nextdoor neighbors. The Axis crowd is generally younger than that of the Avalon. Axis Upstairs has occasional lesbian nights throughout the year;

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Bank of America Pavilion
290 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210

The Pavilion is a bit difficult to get to, but it is a great mid-range venue to see a concert. Located on the Boston Harbor, the Pavilion is a giant open-air amphitheater and resembles a huge circus tent. The Pavilion hosts a wide variety of acts during the summer months that range from big names like Beck, Muse, Radiohead, and Bloc Party to lesser -known blues and jazz acts. The Pavilion has both standing and arranged seating. There is also a concourse that offers food, souvenirs, restrooms, and a breath of fresh air. Tickets for shows at the Pavilion usually range between $20-50, although there are often special promotions such as Ten Dollar Tuesday,” where tickets can be bought on the cheap.

Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
The Paradise has been open for 30 years and has hosted many prominent musicians. With a capacity of just 650 people, the Paradise has a distinctly intimate feel, and serves as a more informal and friendly atmosphere. The Paradise also hosts a good number of up-and-coming bands for reasonable prices ($10-$30). Fans that take in a concert here do not have to worry about ever being too far from the action. The venue caters to students and visitors in their 20's and 30's, as it features a dance floor and comfortable couches for those who don't want to stand. Another enticement to go see a show at the Paradise is the unusually cheap prices for both food and drinks.

The Middle East
480 Mass Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

Right next to T.T. the Bear's Place is the Middle East, a small club that offers an eclectic mixture of every kind of music imaginable. It also possesses three different settings on two floors, known simply as upstairs, the corner, and downstairs. The Middle East is one of the best places to see a local act for almost nothing, though occasionally some recognizable names perform too. Crowds are generally fairly small, usually reaching 550 people at the most. The venue also possesses a tasty middle eastern restaurant on top of everything else.

The Orpheum Theater
1 Hamilton Pl
Boston, MA 02108

The Orpheum is located in a somewhat obscure location, this being right at a dead end street in the middle of Boston, but it is a classy venue to see a show. The Orpheum hosts many midrange acts or musicians who have just made it big, along with a wide variety of comedians. The Orpheum has a classic feel to it, which makes sense when considering it has been in use since 1852. The Orpheum is assigned seating and it sells out very often. Tickets are for the most part in the $25-$55 range.

The Roxy Nightclub
279 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
The Roxy is located at the center of the Theater District in Boston and is located on multiple stories. Though it is only open for business three nights a week, the Roxy brings a mixture of dance, techno and rock bands to its doors with a capacity of about 2,000 people. The Roxy is known for its high ceilings and curving balcony, helping make it trendy and good for socializing. Acts usually range between $15-$20, but food and drinks are very highly priced, while the lines are usually fairly long. Visitors should be dressed fairly nicely as the Roxy has higher dress standards than most of the other venues.

TD Banknorth Garden
100 Legends Way
Boston, MA 02114

The Garden, the home of the Bruins and the Celtics, usually hosts only a few concerts every couple of months, but they are almost always big names, such as the upcoming Christina Aguilera show on March 30. The arena opened in 1995 and is easily accessible via North Station, and has a seating capacity of just under 20,000 people. Stadium seating means the audience is sitting or standing at an assigned seat for the shows here. Tickets are almost always more expensive at the Garden than any other venue (besides the rare Fenway Park shows). The big trade off for concerts that take place at the Garden is that concert goers generally sacrifice proximity and intimacy found in a smaller club to see an artist with major name recognition.

T.T. the Bear's Place
10 Brookline Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Voted the best live music club in 2001 and 2002 in Boston, T.T. the Bear's Place is located in Central square and is a mid-sized venue that can be intimate and rowdy at the same time. T.T. has been a must go to since the 1980's with nightly crowds usually reaching around 300 people. The club hosts many underground and local acts, while it also welcomes anyone over 18 to come hear a wide range of both big name and no name bands. Tickets are extremely affordable, often less than $10.