Worcester, MA is known for its crowded...well...everything with its cluster of colleges and apartment housing, and all the pizza joints, clubs and bars to keep the residents drinking and hopping (and spending their money there instead of driving down to Boston). Some of the live music venues aren't very appealing from the outside, are small, a little rowdy and can smell funny at times when it rains, but they are unmatched when it comes to hosting some of the best local metal music out there today. College students and other metal fans who may living off of meager income or looking for a quick music fix don't have to spend their money on a big show at the DCU Center or Tsongas Arena when they can spend a $10 cover to hear something just as rippin by an up and coming local band. And those bands put on great shows and don't charge an arm and a leg because they appreciate those fans and supporters.
So, where are these holes in the wall where a music lover can go to get a cheap beer, ringing ears, and little mosh for the musical soul?
The Palladium - 261 Main St. - Recently updated venue that can boast having some of the best national metal acts play on one of their two stages (credits include Sevendust, Killswitch Engage, Mudvayne, Slipknot, 311, and local boys Godsmack just to name a few), but also has hosted some incredible local talent. Its an all ages venue and their prices are usually pretty decent. The only downside, expect to pay for parking if you drive in unless you don't mind a little walk from one of the cheaper lots nearby and always lock your car. See who's playing there next at www.thepalladium.net.
Tammany Hall - 43 Pleasant St. - Right up the street from the Palladium, this venue brings in some of Worcester's regulars and out of town commuters who want to hear some great local music. It has an industrial feel with it's brick exposed walls and there are some pool tables and a bar offering a daily $1 shot which is usually some fruity concoction and pretty tasty. The bands are almost always awesome, and the sound is pretty good given the limited space. This is a great place to go if you have eclectic music tastes as they host not only metal bands, but also rock and acoustic talent from the area. Find out more at http://www.myspace.com/tamhall.
Lucky Dog Music Hall -89 Green St. - It may not be the prettiest spot to visit, but they offer a lot of shows with no cover charge at all. They've been known to have themed nights where women are encouraged to don their sexiest nurse or schoolgirl costume, and they pretty much stick to rock & roll. Wednesdays are always free and have a few bands on their lineup and their regular band, Flock of A**holes, plays every Thursday. They have Karaoke and film nights too. A lot of variety for someone on a budget. See what's happening at www.luckydogmusic.com.
The Raven - 258 Pleasant St. - If you didn't know it was there, you might drive right by it and it would be your loss entirely. So consider this the bug in your ear that's burrowing into your brain to make sure the name sticks. The Raven. You know, the big black bird. Think Edgar Allen Poe or the Simpson's parody of it. This is not a large place, but it has a wide open floor plan and acoustics to die for. It's decorated with signed guitars and other rock & roll memorabilia, has a couple pool tables and a bar that sells $2 and $3 draft beer. Its a laid back and casual place where you can throw all your worries to the wind and get a cheap drink and hear some really amazing talent. Check them out at www.theravenrox.com.
Ralph's Diner - 148 Grove St. - The green old fashioned diner building that is the place to be if you really want to see the newest underground bands you have and have not heard of. They are all about the rock and are known for their Metal Thursdays. Their bartenders make amazing (and by amazing I mean strong and worth your money) drinks, and its a neighborhood gem. See what they have going on at www.myspace.com/ralphsdiner.
If there's an incredible concert happening at the DCU or Tsongas, by all means wait in line or spend a fortune at Ticketmaster on your ticket if its a show worth seeing. Who wouldn't if its a good show? If you're looking for new music, a good time or just something to do on a weeknight or otherwise quiet weekend, the local venues or "dives" of Worcester are the place to be, especially for some great rock and metal, and you can spend less than $5 on a beer instead of $10 on a stale pretzel.