How do I find live music by up-and-coming bands in my area (NYC)?
September 4, 2006 10:40 PM   Subscribe

How do I find live music by up-and-coming bands in my area (NYC)?

I'm getting interested in some indie bands and want to see them play, but they have already gotten big and are playing only in bigger venues. How do I find bands before they get big in small venues for not much money? And specifically how can I find bands of a particular type and where they are playing locally?

More specifically I'm interested in bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Maximo Park, Editors, Kaiser Chiefs etc. The are bands that don't really fit any particular category so it's hard to search by category, but if I can find a website that can help me find similar bands playing locally, that would be great! I am in the NYC area.
posted by kenzi23 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
When I was interested in local music back in the late 1990s, I had back then. Nowadays there's myspace and and webtunes and all kindsa places. Unfortunately there's not ONE resource. For awhile it looked like was gonna be THE place but now it's more spread out and you have to google a bit.

I'd suggest finding out about the venues in your area. Where you'd be willing to hang, and then investigate whatever bands they have scheduled for the next few weeks, or whenever you think you'd be able to go. When I was really into it, even if the genre wasn't normally my cup of tea, I learned that going to a small venue and buying a couple drinks, hanging out with friends and listening to a new band was always a lot of fun, even if I didn't normally like that kinda music. One has to be open minded when experimenting with undiscovered talent anyway. They're often experimenting themselves - mixing genres and trying new things and they don't always work but even when it's bad it can still be pretty good. And if you don't enjoy the evening, at least you're not out hundreds of bucks like you would be if you went to the big concerts.

Oh, and I know she may not be your cup of tea, but if you ever get a chance to see Jenny Bruce, just go. Then email me and rub it in. You lucky expletitive for living in NYC - you can just go see her whenever she's playing! =P
posted by ZachsMind at 10:58 PM on September 4, 2006

Start going to some of the smaller venues regularly. It's been a few years since I lived in New York, but...Piano's, Arlene's, Mercury, the LES is filled with tiny places that bands are playing nightly. Make friends with the bartenders, and ask them who's coming that you may be interested in. The CJM festival will be going on soon...listen to the buzz coming off of that.

Visit pollstar daily to see who's coming where and when. And don't forget about the good old pitchfork to keep your indie cred up and running.

One last thing...sxsw happens every year in March, so keep your ear to the ground about who, locally, will be going to play there. It's a good indication of who may be the "next big thing".
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 11:03 PM on September 4, 2006

It's all about going to shows, going to shows, and going to more shows. Find people who share your tastes in music, see what bands they're listening to, and then go to more shows with them. Meet more people. Wash rinse repeat. Arlene's Grocery, Mercury, Maxwell's (in Hoboken), there's a veritable wellspring of places to see great bands. You'll see a lot of shit, too, but it's also a great opportunity to develop your taste in music and figure out how you determine whether or not a band is worthy of your attention and effort. Check out Mark McAdam -- I'm not sure when his next show in NYC is, but he's local and he's rather phenomenal.
posted by incessant at 11:23 PM on September 4, 2006

I find listening to santa monica's KCRW (via itunes) quite helpful. the bands they highlight during their program morning becomes eclectic often are on tour anyway and nic hartcourt has a rather admirable sense for picking out the up and coming in your kind of scene.

(among the npr affiliates I have yet to find any that can take it up with the two LA stations KCRW and KPCC, btw)

also good: the flavorpill new york newsletter.
posted by krautland at 11:37 PM on September 4, 2006

BROOKLYN VEGAN is the answer to your prayers. Trust me. Would I lie? :>
posted by bim at 5:14 AM on September 5, 2006 is a good source.
posted by gsh at 5:40 AM on September 5, 2006

If I were still young enough (there were no internets for the masses in my day so we depended on mix tapes from obsessive friends) I'd get the paper where the local venues advertise (is it still the Village Voice and NY Press?) and then I'd go to the Myspace page for each band and sample their music. Once I found two or three local bands that I really liked I'd Google or Technorati both names and see what comes up. More often than not you'll find someone blogging about the local bands they like and you'll find other bands to sample from people who are into the same music as you. It's hit and miss but I've used it before with some success.
posted by any major dude at 5:46 AM on September 5, 2006

You'll see a lot of shit, too,

Repeated for truth.
posted by smackfu at 7:05 AM on September 5, 2006

Subscribe to the NY Happenings Yahoo group. Also look at Oh My Rockness.
posted by cushie at 7:08 AM on September 5, 2006

I used to go to a few shows a week in NY at some of the smaller clubs, just to get an idea of what was out there.

Subscribe to Nonsense NYC, check the Mercury Lounge schedule a few times a month. Pollstar won't update you on some of the really small stuff, so periodically check the Websites for Pete's Candy Store and the like. With the cheap shows like those at the Mercury and Pete's, you can go and hate the music yet still not feel like you've wasted money.
posted by brina at 7:28 AM on September 5, 2006

Jambase might offer some selection.
posted by mic stand at 9:00 AM on September 5, 2006

As a NYC music blogger myself, I'll recommend NYC music blogs. There are tons of us and it becomes pretty clear pretty fast the type of shows that are sparking interest in the community. Generally Brooklyn Vegan is your best bet since all big news and tourdates tend to get posted there. Oh My Rockness is a great listing, but might not necc give you great insight into which of the many things to see. A lot of sites such as mine list recommended shows coming up.

Start keeping bookmarks of your favorite music blogs with your type of tastes and you'll easily see which new bands are coming to town and are drawing interest. Productshop, Central Village, Heartonastick, Village Indian, Modernage, Underrated, Crackers United and Musicsnobbery are just a handful of others.

Take chances. Go to lots of shows. Not all will be good, but you might just find something great.
posted by yeti at 9:35 AM on September 5, 2006

I'm interested in bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Maximo Park, Editors, Kaiser Chiefs etc. The are bands that don't really fit any particular category so it's hard to search by category

Sounds to me that you like British bands, at least, that is the broad category all of those fit into aside from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Before those bands that you named played Webster Hall and Irving Plaza and Warsaw, they were playing the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge. BTW, the folks who book Webster also book Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge. (Ex: the Arctic Monkeys sold out shows at the Merc and Bowery before getting into those bigger venues.) Headlining either of those places is a milestone in any indie band's career, IMO. So is getting a residency at Pianos, but on a smaller scale. As is opening for another more well-known band. (Once upon a time, I saw this little-known band called the Arcade Fire opening for someone...)

And yeti is right: find out who in the NYC indie blog world aligns most closely with your tastes. You'll have far too many bands to check out once you start reading. Particularly because many of the people writing those blogs are out seeing bands several times a week, writing up reviews, taking pictures, and are always scanning calendars for upcoming shows.

Oh My Rockness is the Pollstar of the NYC indie world. Personally, I use to manage my show calendar -- and I'm scanning the Bowery Presents/Bowery Ballroom/Mercury Lounge calendars a few times weekly.

I find that Flavorpill's recommendations often aren't timely enough since you'll want to find out about a show more than a few days before it happens. Nonsense NYC is a cool events list but isn't purely focused on up and coming bands.

Another source I haven't seen mentioned is in-stores. Both Other Music and Soundfix have great artists doing in-store performances, and quite often.

Blogs like Crackers United and Gothamist put on showcases of emerging talent. The Beg Yr Pardon showcase is another one that comes to mine.

Oh, and yeti's blog is also very good. (Hi Jerry.)

Good luck, and bring earplugs.
posted by kathryn at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2006

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