Live Aid

Eighteen secrets to seeing music around here

sweetfoalsPhoto: Michael Spencer

B

oston is an underrated music town. Aerosmith, J. Geils Band, the Cars, and the city’s namesake put us on the map. Morphine, Mission of Burma, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and the Pixies kept it alive through the ’80s and ’90s. The Dropkick Murphys cued up our city’s anthem (especially in the arenas and stadiums), and then Passion Pit put us ahead of the hipsters. With two of the world’s most celebrated institutions for musical craft, Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory, Boston is a breeding ground for the world’s best talent, and from all genres, too. The greatest part? The talent is always getting around, and usually you can see it happen for little or nothing at the door. Here’s how to do music in this city, the right way. Wallace

1

Free jazz in all styles seven nights a week, plus, the Tuesday band is known as WTF (the F stands for “funk”)

2

A neighborhood pub in Somerville where there’s rarely a cover, with the best reggae and dub residencies in the land

3

An out-of-the-way Cambridge tavern with legendary Wednesday- and Friday-night bands

4

A tiny Porter Square pub that prides itself on never charging a cover

5

A record store near Berklee that has everything

6

A legendary folk club in Harvard Square

7

The best bluegrass near and far …

8

… and the best soul band near and far, playing every Thursday for the past half decade

9

One of the longest-running drum ’n’ bass dance nights in the country

10

A far-out jazz and trance collective that you owe it to yourself to see

11

The guitarist other guitarists in town look up to

12

The singer-songwriter who plays with everyone

13

A charged-up punk folk band that plays in the round

14

A weekly sing-along in a place you’d never think to look

15

A record store where vinyl is still king

16

A live-music venue that makes Tuesday the new Saturday

17

How to get in on the VIP club at a hip live-music venue

18

Where to catch good local bands before they get famous

19

A little-known (except to purists) music space

20

An intimate underground venue with a vibe all its own

21

Where to find one of the best Marley cover bands

22

A pub with a weekly session that never gets old

23

A local bar with weekly reggae and no cover

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