Top 10 Music Scenes in the U.S.A.
First submitted to HeadCount by Chris Reed.
10. Washington, DC
The nation’s capital is not only a hotbed of politics. From hardcore groups like Fugazi to Chuck Brown, the father of go-go, many influential artists call the city home. The 930 Club has a virtual monopoly on club shows. No wonder it’s the busiest venue in the country. When you hit a show in DC, you never know what you might get!
9. Atlanta & Athens, GA
What do the Goodie Mob, Outkast and Gladys Knight & the Pips all have in common? They all hail from the ATL! If hip-hop and R&B are not your speed, head 70 miles East and hit up the 40 Watt Club to see the newest indie band that is sure to hit the national spotlight in the near future. Widespread Panic, the B-52s and Bubba Sparxxx all emerged from the Athens scene, as well as a lesser known band called R.E.M.
8. Nashville, TN
The main reason Nashville ranks so high is because, quite simply, it is an awesome place! It is the country music capital of the world. Home of the Grand Ole Opry and Music Row, it is not so much a matter of who came from Nashville, but rather, who hasn’t spent time in the studio or performing in one of the local venues. Home to a diverse array or artists such as Dolly Parton, Jack White and the Kings of Leon, it also gave birth to the influential Cyrus clan – Miley, Billy Ray and of course, Billy Ray’s mullet.
7. Portland, OR
This cutting edge city may be the nation’s leader in street food, but it is also a hotbed of some of indie rock’s pioneers. The Decemberists, The Dandy Warhols and The Shins all claim this as home. Hit up MusicFestNW in September to hear some of the latest bands on the scene before they are done.
6. Chicago, IL
The Windy City, is a hub for live music. As a major stopover for pretty much every band traveling from coast to coast, Chicago boasts numerous venues as well as many acts originating in the city. It also happens to be the permanent home of Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival. If you don’t know that Chicago blues also originated here, you don’t know diddly.
5. New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is arguably the birthplace of jazz. Walk down Bourbon Street and you cannot escape the music floating out of open doorways, beckoning you into smoky jazz halls and quaint cafes and bars. However, NOLA also has a presence in many other musical scenes. Who can forget this classic from the heavy metal gods, Goatwhore? Hip-hop also has roots in NOLA. Before Lady Gaga sang about her Telephone and Beyonce warbled about her Videophone, New Orleans native Master P was rapping about his Sidekick.
4. Seattle, WA
Grunge, flannel & coffee – a triumvirate made in heaven. Pearl Jam and Nirvana may be the most recognizable names that came from this Pacific Northwest hotbed of culture but Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were hot on their heels. With a laid back atmosphere and ever-present mist in the air, Seattle has given rise to many of the most influential bands of the 20th Century. And Candlebox.
3. San Francisco, CA
Some of the best venues in the country can be found in San Francisco – the Fillmore, the Warfield & the Bottom of the Hill. The free spirit of the City by the Bay lends itself to a vibrant music scene. San Fran and the surrounding bay area gave rise to influential acts such as The Grateful Dead, Santana & The Steve Miller Band. It is also the home of Tony! Toni! Toné! and M.C. Hammer, but that is from an era many of us try to forget.
2. New York, NY
Beastie Boys, Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, TV on the Radio, Billie Holiday – such a diverse array of artists and venues. The cultural diversity of the five boroughs lends itself to a vibrant cacophony of sounds. Brooklyn’s music scene alone is often seen as the heart of modern indie rock. While the ‘Brooklyn vibe’ used to generally mean bands that sounded suspiciously like Animal Collective, current acts are bleeping and blooping their way in new and exciting directions.
1. Austin, TX
As a “scene” you can’t beat Austin. Whether you are eating the brisket at Stubb’s while listening to Matisyahu’s latest tunes or hanging out at Antone’s, something is ALWAYS going down in this music capital of the world. South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival are the preeminent events every year for the music enthusiast. Every lover of music, regardless of preferred genre, must make a pilgrimage to Austin sometime in their lives.