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The Greatest American Music Venues (According to Musicians)

on April 27, 2016, 11:30am
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Dean Wareham

“My favorite venue is the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan, where I have played many times since it opened in 1998. It’s run by good people, sounds perfect onstage, and is excellent from the audience perspective too, with good sight lines no matter where you are standing, a quality sound system, and a bar downstairs that is a nice place to hang out after or before the show.”



“Baby’s Alright: We played our first gig in New York here (despite being sickly jet-lagged), had one of our best gigs to date – also saw fellow Australians King Gizzard + the Lizard Wizard play a secret show here while we were passing through, and it was top notch.”


At the start of this year, we were very lucky to play Shea Stadium in Brooklyn. We got a taxi to the address and looked around and couldn’t see anything that would suggest there’d be a venue around there, but someone eventually popped their head out of a door and let us in. As well as putting on shows, it doubles up as a recording studio and a practice space. Places like Shea Stadium were hugely important to us when we started our band. They’re key to establishing a musical community at a grassroots level. For us, it was great to see another independent hub in a different country.

Electric Eye

Our favourite venue is The White Horse in East Austin, TX. It’s an old, country dance hall that actually has a real horse outside. We’ve never played there, but it’s great for watching real country music and for pouring down whiskey while hipsters and guys in cowboy hats dance late at night.



“My favorite concert venue is the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. It’s an amazingly run venue. You show up there, and the staff is capable and nice, which, believe it or not, is a rare thing. And it’s always a great show. It’s lovely to be taken care of, the sound is always great, and the crowds are some of the best.”


“The Hollywood Bowl. Not because it sounds the best, because it doesn’t sound that good if you’re not in the first 10 boxes, but it’s where I saw Radiohead in 11th grade, and that solidified me wanting to play music. It’s just such a beautiful place to see a band.”


“The best memories of places we’ve played in the US are of a student house party we played in Kansas City last October at 5830 Bell Rd., Shawnee, KA. Ahaha, it was the most crazy show we’ve played.”


Julia Holter

“For years, I was just playing shows in LA that were in gallery spaces or people’s houses, and that was fine. I never had a huge issue with that because you bring everything. You bring your own amps. There’s no P.A. in those situations. In terms of venues once you’re a touring musician, it would be frustrating in Los Angeles because there just wasn’t a venue that really had decent sound. The one that just opened, Teragram Ballroom, is really great, and I’m really happy that it’s there now.”

La Sera

“We pick The Echo in Los Angeles! I have been to/played at The Echo way more times than anywhere else in the country. It’s right down the street from my house, and it feels like home to me. Todd saw Elliott Smith there, so that pretty much sums it up. Anywhere that you saw Elliott Smith play is the best venue in the country.”

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