By Allen Foster
You know it when you feel it. That connection. When a song knows you so well, you feel both vulnerable and exhilarated. That’s the magic of music. A song becomes the anthem of your soul when it understands you so well it can proclaim who you truly are!
The local music scene is one of the best places for this to happen. And wouldn’t you know it, Philadelphia has one of the most vibrant and dynamic local music scenes in the country. If you want these artists to rise and thrive so they can continue to create work that resonates so profoundly throughout your entire being, then it’s up to you to show your support. The best way to do that is to see a live show and purchase whatever music and merchandise your favorite artist has to offer. Here are some of the best places you can go to do exactly that.
412 W. Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Although opera singer Karen Saillant Bygott and her husband first purchased the property back in 1988, the birth of The Fire didn’t happen until over a decade later. In 1999, Karen removed one of the pool tables from the “shot and a beer” bar to make room for a small stage that would allow her music students a place to perform. Over the past 20 years, The Fire has grown to become known as one of the most artist-friendly venues in the city. Shows include everything from hip-hop to rock to country to classical. The facility even features a recording studio so bands can produce a live album directly from the stage.
World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Just off of I-76, only a few blocks from 30th Street Station, featuring ample street or lot parking, the World Cafe Live is one of the easiest independent music venues to get to in Philadelphia. With two stages offering either an intimate setting or a concert hall type of experience, and boasting over 500 shows a year, it is one of the most versatile and busiest performance establishments in town. Add the superior sound quality and it’s no wonder why the World Cafe Live has hosted some of the most important local music events in Philadelphia such as Boy Wonder’s The Hype! and Elena Brokus’ Future Stars showcase, which spotlights the fastest rising young talent in the region.
The Grape Room
105 Grape St.
Manayunk, PA 19127
Formerly The Grape Street Pub, The Grape Room provides two different listening experiences for its patrons. Located just a few steps from Main Street in Manayunk, the venues that have inhabited this building have been supporting local artists for decades. Upstairs, The Grape Room has a space that accommodate up to 50 people, while the downstairs room can fit 100. Besides concerts and open mics, The Grape Room also hosts an open jam night so area musicians can gather to network and perform.
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25 E. State St.
Doylestown, PA 18901
Although buying tickets or paying a cover to see a live performance is arguably the best way to show support for your favorite local artists, don’t overlook the time-honored practice of purchasing a CD. At Siren Records in Doylestown, you can hang out at a cool place with hip people, engage in a debate with fellow music aficionados about which guitar player has the hottest licks, turn strangers on to new bands, and purchase the music of your favorite local artists. Relive the good ole days at an authentic record store that stocks not only CDs, but tons of vinyl as well!
Not just street corners, but train stations, “El” stops, or anywhere else a performer sets up camp. A busker can quite literally make any space his or her stage. When you walk by and hear a song that elevates your vibe, let that person know the music made your day special. Toss a few bucks into his or her tip jar and support local music in the most direct and satisfying way possible!
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