The Underdogs: Four Lesser-Known Best Cities For Live Music

Forget the famous music metropolises and flock to these underrated underground curiosities to immerse yourself in the melodies of a more down-to-earth musical experience!

Salt Lake City, Utah

Distinctive Features:

Counter-Culture Creativity

Salt Lake City’s music scene is a rambunctious rebellion against its roots. It was originally the ideological outsiders that made some noise, countering the conservative culture by proudly proclaiming their differences in song. Punk, especially, to rage against the religious machine! Now, both the devout and the odd ones out come together in sound, making for some of the loudest listeners around.

The Great Genre Gallivanter

The sounds around the Great Salt Lake stray from staying the same with groups giddy about all genres! Ranking no. 1 across all musical styles in iHeart Radio’s Google Trends analysis, Salt Lake city-slickers savor all styles and keep an open mind when it comes to music!

Voguish Venues:

  • Historical: The Great Saltair! Dance through the decades in this vast veteran vestige. The music is on fire, but luckily, it has survived three monumental ones already!
  • Local: Kilby Court! Get your gigs the old-fashioned way, in a garage, and enjoy everything from avant-garde grunge to big bands!
  • Finest Festival: Hail hip-hop in the beehive state by getting funky in the fairpark at Salt Lake City’s Hive Music Festival!
  • Associated Artists: The Killers’ lead singer and The Used sprouted from Salt Lake. Imagine Dragons imagined their first songs here and dragged them to Vegas after winning the battle of the bands!

Olympia, Washington

Distinctive Features:

Riotous Relic

Olympia is observed as the origin of the ‘90’s "riot grrrl" revolution! Combining feminism, punk, and politics, this spirited scene started in Olympia and then swept the states with symbolic displays of destroying male domination. Teaming together to tackle taboo topics, these avid feminists took action through art and activism, making music into a movement!

Puny Yet Powerful

Mindless of its mere 46,000 residents, Olympia receives $88.3 million in revenue from music each year! Never going a night without a show, this scene shows its strong song-stamina by conducting about 15 concerts weekly. Crash in this capital city to jam out after your job, where musical works are not just for the weekends!

Voguish Venues:

  • Historical: Capitol Theater! Hide from humanity and get hooked on history and diverse ditties in this distinguished arts domicile!
  • Local: Music on the Mounds! Fund your favorites at this all-ages art gallery, where the 100% of the proceeds from the gig will go to the guys who gave their all!
  • Dynamic: Rhythm & Rye! Get jazz’d up, let an open mic open your heart, or get crunk at a colossal concert in a dive bar that definitely dives into music!
  • Finest Festival: Get freaky at Olympia’s Experimental Music Festival with a frenzy of “fringe audio performances”!
  • Associated Artists: Modest Mouse dawned their debut album in Olympia, and Kurt Cobain used to hang out here before hitting it big-time! 

Joshua Tree, California

Distinctive Features:

Oddball Oasis

Loads of less-than-lackluster art lovers leave the lavish L.A. lifestyle to hide away in this haven! Famous figures often come here to find their flow and mingle with musical mentees eye-to-eye. Here, there is no mold to maintain in music, so it flows freely and authentically—and oftens gets odd!

Rad Radio and Recordings

Joshua Tree’s radio stations mean to move music all across the Mojave Desert, airing radio shows from artistic avatar and “mayor” Teddy Quinn and other art aficionados! Additionally, recordings like the renowned Desert Sessions resound at the town’s Rancho de la Luna recording studio.

Voguish Venues:

  • Historical: Pappy and Harriet’s! View big-city icons in this small-town vestige of handcrafted history, whose realty was refurbished from a famous western film facade!
  • Local: Joshua Tree Saloon! Catch music four times a week while you catch up with your comrades in this hospitable hangout!
  • Dynamic: Furstwurld! Gawk at all genres of art, film, and music in this magnificent museum!
  • Finest Festival: Folks flocked from everywhere when Coachella came in 1999, which is when the festival first flourished!
  • Associated Artists: In this town, Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age was crowned and Kyuss’s stoner rock became renowned!

Madison, Wisconsin

Distinctive Features:

Stellar Statistics

This stellar capital city is full of symphony! It fills the fifth-highest slot for density of distributors, labels, publishers, and studios in the States, and its rock shows-to-residents ratio is only on the rear of Austin’s. It’s also aloft on the list for least expensive concert tickets, so breaking out of your cage without breaking the bank is a breeze in this steezy spot!

Arms Open to Artists

The midwestern manners of Madison's masses cultivate a comfortable atmosphere for artists. It’s typical for a touring band to receive a round of drinks and a room to rest in after the rowdiness! House shows are also headlined, making it a city where every music lover feels at home!

Voguish Venues:

  • Historical: Majestic Theatre! Take in the majesty of the music, as well as memoirs, at Madison’s oldest theater!
  • Friendly: High Noon Saloon! Shake hands with the bands at this cozy community commune!
  • Dynamic: Orpheum Theater! Get funky on the floor, breathe easy on the balcony, or go over-the-top in an opera throne while your ears titillate to the top artists of our time!
  • Finest Festival: Savor the sweet sounds of the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival, where you can pick up musical tricks at a workshop or start picking at a jam session!

Associated Artists: Garbage grew up in this place, and prominent producer Butch Vig started Smart Studios, supplying Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins to the scene!