Ask a musician where their favorite place to perform is, and their answer will almost always be New York City —- well, either that or their hometown.
Ask a New Yorker where their favorite music venue is and the answer is not so simple.
Finding good music venues in New York City is like ordering food online — it depends what you’re in the mood for and how much cash you’re willing to spend. There’s a multitude of locations throughout the city to go see a live show and each one has its own character, crowd and charm. If you start to factor in the non-traditional and DIY venues, the possible choices are almost endless (well, unless Vice has something to do with that).
On any given night, finding what’s going on can be slightly overwhelming. Luckily when it comes to live music in the city there are some great sites that help you navigate through the noise. Here are a few to check out and maybe subscribe to:
I won’t tell you where to go for the best show because that is ultimately up to personal preference, but here are some tips for those not so familiar with New York and need help picking out the best venue to catch some live music.
This mainly applies to venues outside of Manhattan, but location is only as good as the nearest subway. Very few shows might be worth the extra mile walk from train or Uber ride home. Other items to look for when mapping out venues are food spots and banks in the area. Some locations have neither nearby.
This factor is relative to the performer. However, there are definitely some venues that, while they have enough room for a large crowd, ultimately work better with a smaller show. Many traditional venues have seating maps, even if a show is GA, that can help gauge the size prior to attending.
If it is a small venue hosting an unticketed or free show, always get there early. How early depends on how popular the performer is: some Brooklyn Night Bazaar events are still accepting new attendees up until their headlining performance, but some shows hosted by major companies will have lines forming hours before doors.
Predetermining the crowd before a show is a slightly complex equation which factors in both a venue’s typical attendee and a performance’s typical fan, plus the cost of the show and minus bar options, raised to the number of bathrooms inside. The answer is almost always an estimate.
Yelp and Foursquare are usually good places to find some comments about the crowd at a venue. But keep in mind most positive experiences are not reviewed.
Hopefully, this helps you be more prepared before going to your next show. After a while in New York, most of this will become instinctive.
See you at a show!
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn for DIYDS Events Blog. Republished here with permission.