A list of famous bands from Boston reads like a who’s who of popular music. A sampler would include Aerosmith, The Cars, The Dropkick Murphy’s, and, of course, Boston. These and untold anonymous bands have cut their musical teeth on the thriving Boston live music scene. Here are the best venues we found, in no particular order.
Paradise Rock Club
Pay no attention to the view-blocking post almost directly in front of the main stage at the Paradise Rock Club. It adds that cool kind of mystique that a legit music venue needs to stay foremost in the minds and ears of local rock aficionados. This club predominantly features local bands but don’t be surprised to see an up-and-comer now and then.
The Middle East
Promoters from coast-to-coast know this club as a kickin’ scene for both local and national acts. In the 1980s, it offered alternative and indie bands a place to make noise besides the basement. Choose from the small Upstairs stage, the larger converted bowling alley known as Downstairs, or the Corner in the restaurant. Don’t be surprised to see belly dancers plying their trade or the sometimes interesting menu options.
With a name like Royale, you can figure this place has a touch of class. Formerly known as Roxy, the new owners applied a major remodel to the venue. What’s left is a huge space with the sort of panache that includes a marble entrance, plush seats, a superior sound and light experience, and VIP balconies. The band roster is a diverse selection that includes rock, hip-hop, pop, and indie.
Maybe the best music experience in Harvard Square, Sinclair boasts a yummy restaurant experience with which to feed your belly before venturing deeper into the classy, high-energy club. The venue has great sight lines to the stage from any seat or from the balcony. Sinclair made its bones with the indie scene and still boasts the best in low-budget rocking to be found.
Best of the Rest
Obviously, there are too many great live music spots in Boston to list but don’t forget about Toad for Americana/roots rock, or House of Blues for raw blues.
If you find yourself in Boston with a little time to kill, try any of these excellent music venues to have a great night out.