New York is a cultural hub, and its thriving music scene reflects this. It has produced some of the world’s most well-known music acts, from Simon and Garfunkel to Billy Joel and Lady Gaga. It is also a favorite destination among bands and solo performers to put on live concerts. This is why it has many top venues that are great for watching both big acts, and new and upcoming performers. Here are four venues we think you should check out.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan may be the home of the Rockettes, but it definitely offers a lot more. It is dubbed the “Showplace of the Nation,” and that’s because it has hosted top acts since opening in 1932. Some notables concerts include Pink Floyd in 1973, The Grateful Dead in 1980, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in 2015, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera last year, and Mariah Carey just this March. That’s an impressive lineup for a venue that fell into debt in 1978 and was on the brink of closure. Then in 1979, Rockefeller Center Inc. gave it a facelift. Since then, Radio City Music Hall has become one of the Big Apple’s cultural hubs, as the famed hall also hosts theater plays, television shows, Christmas specials, and sports.
Madison Square Garden
The Garden is one of the most famous concert venues in the world. Among the iconic musical acts that have performed there are John Lennon (1974, in what would turn out to be his final concert appearance), Elvis Presley (1972), Kiss (1977), Billy Joel (1978), Madonna (1985 and 2015), Bruce Springsteen (47 times), and U2 (28 times). It is a Big Apple landmark, and the preferred destination of the music industry’s biggest stars. If you have the chance, try and see at least one concert here during your life.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
In Colectivo Piloto’s call for partners to produce The Brooklyn Music Scene documentary, it notes how the Lower East Side has evolved from a bastion of independent music production to a home of mainstream music. This evolution has coincided with Brooklyn’s economic surge in recent years, which has transformed it into the fastest growing district in New York. Yoreevo reports that there has been heavy investment in the borough over the past few years, and this has helped shape Brooklyn into one of New York’s cultural hubs for music and arts. This development is mirrored by music venues opening in Greenpoint, Bushwick, and Williamsburg, with the best arguably being the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It is run by local promoter Bowery Presents, and is an updated version of the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan. The two are similarly sized, though the inside of the Music Hall is more spacious and comfy. Formerly known as Northsix, the Music Hall of Williamsburg is arguably the best room in Brooklyn to watch indie-rock bands and up-and-coming hip-hop acts.
Hammerstein was chosen by popular pop group Perfume as the kick-off venue for the North America leg of their fourth world tour. That says a lot about this Midtown Manhattan venue. What started out as an opera house has now been turned into a venerable live music site, with Bryan Adams, Jane’s Addiction, Incubus, and Avenged Sevenfold all performing here. Hammerstein Ballroom is the smallest venue on this list, but this is an advantage as it offers an intimate experience that none of the other venues can give.
If you are traveling to New York soon be sure to check the websites of the above concert venues for a listing of the next bands playing. Not visit to New York is complete without seeing one music act live.