Sometimes it’s the smallest places that offer up the best opportunities for catching a great band. We admit, it’s hard to choose just a few musical venues from across the country, but here are a few worthy of note.
Orange Peel, Asheville, North Carolina
Housed in a former skating rink, The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club definitely keeps the music thumping. It may be a small venue at the corner of Biltmore and Hilliard Avenue in downtown Asheville, but it draws some big talent. The Smashing Pumpkins came to town in 2007 for a nine-show run and the venue has also hosted such talent as Imagine Dragons, Dawes, Sonic Youth, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, My Morning Jacket, Sara Bareilles, the Beastie Boys and many more. The Orange Peel’s ability to draw major acts hasn’t gone unnoticed. Rolling Stone Magazine named it one of the top five rock clubs in the country in 2008. It’s also received accolades from a variety of other publications.
There’s a rich history surrounding the Tabernacle building in Atlanta. Started in 1910 as The Broughton Tabernacle it was run by Dr. Leonard Gaston Broughton who served as pastor and physician. It housed an infirmary as well as a Baptist Church. In the mid-80s the congregation found another place to worship and the building sat empty. It was turned into a House of Blues club by the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Different owners have operated it as a music venue throughout the years. Live Nation currently runs it as The Tabernacle featuring some of the biggest musical acts in the business.
Bluebird Café, Nashville, Tennessee
Its outer appearance really doesn’t reveal the secrets it contains, but The Bluebird Café in Nashville is one of the great places for musicians to be discovered. It’s located in a strip mall. With only 90 seats, it’s a small intimate setting. Up and coming musicians hope to play there and established singers and songwriters still enjoy an invitation. As far as being discovered—this is where Garth Brooks was first noticed.
House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois
They say when the house is packed at the House of Blues, you can feel the building swaying with the music. House of Blues Chicago first opened in 1996 and has hosted a who’s who list of musicians throughout the years—everyone from The Who and Al Green to Pearl Jam and Jurassic 5. Check the websites of all these venues for the most up-to-date calendars of upcoming shows.