For most people the first concert they go to is a real rite of passage. Live music provokes a completely different emotional, physical and even spiritual reaction. You feel every chord change in your body. After a concert by the latest big-name band, however, your wallet can be as empty as your hangover is huge.
There’s different kind of venue for every live music fan. Music can happen any where at any time. Many local bars and clubs are regular spots that host music weekly, sometimes daily. No matter what your budget, if you’re in the mood for some live tunes, a concert could be as close as your local bar.
Stadium concerts provide lots of entertainment and excitement, but they’re also incredibly expensive. Even with a $200 ticket, your seats may be less than ideal. You could end up regretting the expense and wishing you’d saved your cash and instead watched the concert on TV at home. If you do decide to go to the stadium, avoid buying the overpriced merchandise and $50 T-shirts. You’re going to be spending an absolute fortune on a bottle of water in any case. Plus you run the risk of getting security on your back if you try to sneak in snacks or contraband. If you can’t splash out for front row seats, you may want to give the big stadium concerts a miss.
Open-mic nights give you a fantastic opportunity to check out local music talent. An added bonus is that these are usually free! The musicians want to get noticed, and bars will often have drink specials to attract customers. You don’t need binoculars to see the musicians performing, and there’s plenty of seating for you and your friends. So you can simply sit back, relax with a few drinks and enjoy your night.
Many bars host music nights with a range of local and traveling bands on the bill. While you and your group of friends will need to pay a cover charge to get in, the cost is only going to be about as much as you’d pay for a single T-shirt at a Britney Spears concert. The great thing about going to see new bands is that at this point they’re going to be more about the music and the fans rather than the money. So they won’t mind your cries of encore to get maximum value from your night!
Local music gigs enable you to get closer to the music performers. At big concerts there’s a huge distance between you and your favorite performers, and you run the risk of being tasered by security for simply trying to get an autograph. With smaller crowds you can ask for all the autographs you want.
Meeting the musicians is one of the most magical experiences of live music. Stadium security is paid to keep you watching and not touching. Posing for photos and getting rock stars to record a voicemail message is a backstage privilege reserved only for those with a bulging bank account. Check your favorite band’s website for their next stop at a smaller, more intimate location.
Broaden your taste in music. Get there earlier enough to hear the rest of the bands on the set list. Not every great musical talent can be found on the American Idol audition line. You might discover the next Rolling Stones at the bar down the street.
Local shows support local businesses, bands, and the arts. Everyone started somewhere with the support of music lovers at small venues. Save the anonymous, obstructed-view stadium seats for the lottery winners. Your local bands will be happy to see you at the bar.