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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 5 Best Cities In America For Live Music

Live Music image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
I'm not too sure how scientific this list is (it comes from, but most of it does make sense if you have any feel for music in the United States. Here are the (supposedly) 5 best cities in America for live music:

5. Los Angeles

4. New Orleans

3. Brooklyn

2. Austin

1. Portland

I must say that having Portland at #1 bothers me, but I haven't been there in such a long time that I can't say for sure just how much live music it has. Any Portland readers out there that can verify its music scene? Also, what kind of venues does it offer?


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Wes Davenport said...

I love Portland's music scene. Well run venues with supportive crowds. But I am surprised Nashville didn't make the list.

BuckyCore said...

I currently live in Portland, and this is all I can say about why it may be #1. It's taking into account the population ratio to live events, the fact that it has continuous live events in open, public spaces such the Pionere Squre and that it's public radio is considered the best of the best for musical offerings. I do think this list is slanted because of the popularity of the town. Portlandia sure has made Portland the hippest town. But I think this is still wrong. NOLA could draw circles many times around for the same thing I pointed out about Portland

Anonymous said...

1. Nashville
2. Los Angeles
3. New York
4. Austin
5. Chicago
6. San Francisco
7. Porland
8. Las Vegas
9. Miami

Fred Decker said...

Chicago isn't on the list and doesn't deserve to be in my opinion. Chicago has a rich music heritage, but the current situation doesn't live up to it as far as I can tell.

The inclusion of Brooklyn surprised me. What is going on there?

Anonymous said...

I live in Portland. I'm not sure I totally agree with the rating. There is a fairly enthusiastic blues following here (with a large annual festival at the waterfront lasting most of a week). There is also a small nucleus of older players that honed their chops years ago playing 5 hours a night, 6 nights a week, that still gig around town (in a handful of pretty decent jazz clubs). The pop music scene has been described as very “hipster” oriented, and a few local examples have gone national. I have friends with bands that lean toward R&B which seldom goes over very well here (too bad). I’ve been out of the country market for decades, so I can’t comment with any authority. There are several reasonable venues that go with solo singer/song-writer acts. Some more eclectic styles (Irish-acoustic, Greek, etc) do pretty well in some specialized clubs.

There are factors that deter making a living from music here however. There aren’t any “pay to play” clubs that I’m aware of, but many clubs book three bands per night who’s only income is a share of the door, and any merch they sell. The culture is fairly accepting of musicians, and the environment makes it fairly easy to meet other players and share gigs.

Anonymous said...

Living in LA, there is just live music everywhere here. Venues of all sizes. I don't see how the ratio of events to population should make much difference, because(as long as there is room for people in the venue) you have more choices. There is no way Portland (or ANY of the other cities listed) offers more live music choices, day in and day out, than LA. Quality is more of a subjective criteria. For sheer numbers, LA has gotta be at the top.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Brooklyn is not a city.


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