10 Awesome Venues to Experience Live Music in NYC

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I love music. Who doesn’t! Someone without a soul, probably.

I love the feeling when that perfect song, or perfect chord, strikes me in the heart exactly. When that perfect song either mirrors exactly how I’m already feeling, or makes me feel something new.

Music is special, and New York City is a great city to live in if you love music.

Namely, because there are a whole bunch of places to see music here. Do you like going to Madison Square Garden and paying $80 to see Jay-Z? Well, actually that sounds pretty awesome, but sometimes us peasants can’t afford shelling out that $80, so... here are some awesome places to see live music if you, like me, have limited spending funds.

And you like actually watching the musician with your eyes, rather than, you know... on a screen.

1. The Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey Street)

[via Allister Reynolds/Flickr]

This small, intimate, phenomenal acoustics concert hall is a great spot to see your favorite band live.

Why? You might ask. The answer is that you have a great spot from anywhere in the room, anywhere. It’s not like your favorite band is a hundred feet from you. They’re more like fifteen.

With a lineup of dope bands playing every night of the week, and requiring a measly $20 for admission into their kingdom of music, I am definitely on board with this venue. Anyone want to go with me this weekend?

2. Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place)

[via Steven Pisano/Flickr]

At the beginning of this article I was planning to rail against Irving Plaza, and against Live Nation’s monopolization of the music industry, but then I went to Irving Plaza’s website, clicked on the Jukebox the Ghost concert (because they’re a super awesome band), and the tickets were actually extremely reasonable.

[via Steven Pisano/Flickr]

$26 for general admission? Alright, alright. I’ll take it.

Plus, if you’re bringing excellent music to the people of NYC, you can’t really be all bad, right? This venue has three bars on all three levels, it’s big, but not too big, and top-notch sound quality.

3. Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen Street)

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[via Gus Philippas/Flickr]

Aaaah I love it here. This is the best place to see live music in NYC.

Talk about indie. Talk about wonderful, soul-acknowledging music, the one that gets inside you and power washes your emotions. So some of these performers aren’t famous yet (yet is the key word here). That doesn’t mean they’re less awesome.

Also, this venue is usually free. That’s right, you heard me correctly: free. And in 'Murica. Okay, so there is a one-drink minimum for each set, but please don’t try and pretend you weren’t planning to drink anyway.

There are three stages with different performers at each, and each is bound to provide their own new sound.

If you’re looking for Friday night plans, please take my advice and head to Rockwood Music Hall and shove your way into the cozy, intimate scene of New Yorkers all jumping wildly to the beat. Bring a date, bring a friend, go on your own. Either way, you will not be disappointed.

4. Radio City Music Hall (1260 6th Avenue)

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[via Flickr]

This NYC staple, home of the Rockettes, is simply gorgeous, timeless, and stunning.

This is particularly true during the holiday season. The diamond chandelier sparkles, the velvet curtains and the circular stage at the front of the room is a really affecting, meaningful atmosphere.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 3.22.24 AM
[via Jim Davidson/Flickr]

Also, the cushions are thick and butt-friendly. If you live in NYC and haven’t been to Radio City Music Hall, you should head to their website right now and get yourself tickets.

Warning: the place can get a tad pricey. Lady Gaga tickets start at $60, which I guess makes sense. You’ll have to shell out at least $50 to get a peek at some big names, but if you’ve just been paid and have some cash to blow, you should definitely check it out.

Or, if you head here for the right band, one who hasn’t quite hit that point where they’ve been blasted on repeat by all popular radio stations in America-- you might get away with paying $30. Which is chill.

5. Supply House (1647 2nd Avenue)

[via Facebook]

I cannot rave about this bar enough. I really can’t.

If you’re willing to take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to the Upper East Side, get off at 86th Street, and head two Avenues east, you will not be disappointed. I mean it.

This is the best bar in Manhattan, and I’ve been to a lot of bars in Manhattan.

If you love Bob Marley, Sublime, or any Rastafari music that makes you happy to be alive, come on a Thursday night and see Joss Sticks. He covers all kinds of happy music from Jack Johnson to Lorde, and even occasionally plays his own stuff, which is so excellent I can’t even handle it. He’s a real gem. They don’t just have live music Thursdays, though.

They have live music every weekday, and it’s usually very relaxed, indie bands playing some really great, strummy, lyrically intelligent music. The best part? You don’t have to pay a cent, really. If you want to go, sit at the bar, have a beer and listen to lovely music, this is your scene.

They also have pretty great food, in my opinion. I am very partial to their buffalo chicken fingers. Beware of this place on the weekends, though. It gets pretty clubby, and there is definitely no live music on Friday and Saturday nights. You have to hit up Supply House on a weeknight to catch the chill scene.