Skip to content

rock nyc's Annual Round Up Of Local Music Venues 2012

Yes Folks, it's that time of year when we round out and rate all the major music venues in the area. Or at least most of them. No Glasslands for instance, indeed exceedingly little from Brooklyn as a whole and maybe because it is hours away from where I live! Best Buy wins again, and Gramercy is first runner up, and for similar reasons, a mix of General Admission seating and standing. However, Best Buy has too many late endings. Midnight for Odd Future and 1am for Disco Biscuits this year alone! Any place I've missed is because I didn't visit…

Apollo Theater – Sure, it is a legend in its own time, and it has been cleaned up nicely. And bands? Stand where James Brown stands! Still expensive and still a long A Train from Midtown – Grade: B

Arlene's Grocery – Down a flight of stairs and you are at one of the best clubs in Manhattan. Friendly and cheap with a great booker. You can't miss here, even when it's sold out – Grade: A-

Barclay Center – Still a bitch to actually enter, plus the seats aren't all that and there is zero distance between one row and the next. Still, a very easy commute: On NYE it took me an hour from Atlantic Avenue to Astoria – Grade: B-

BB Kings – The way they have the seating arranged in a horse shoe means the Standing Room positions don't become so crowded that you can't see over the heads to the point of stage blindness. The food is OK and a little pricey and tickets aren't cheap for a major act, but if you move yourself to the side of the stage you can get so close Page McConnell will be sweating on you – Grade: B+

Beacon Theater – Cablevision did a great job of renovating the space five years without ruining the sound which is maybe the second best in the city. Prices are the equal of MSG though acts aren't always as good, Orchestra was $50 10 years ago, it is $150 Plus today. But even the Upper Balcony is closer than T5 – Grade: B+

Best Buy – Along with the GA seating, there are three separate levels to the stage, insuring anybody who wants to can see just fine. Best Buy (formerly Nokia) is a sparkly, clean and cool auditorium with food, drink, and a lounge area. Couldn't be better – Grade: A

Blue Note – Sure it is legendary but it is a bitch to see anything in – Grade: B-

Bowery Ballroom – A great bar downstairs, terrific floor, just big enough so if you get there really late you can see fine even from the back of the room, the balcony? If you get lucky and stand just after the VIP section, the view is almost the equal of MHOW – Grade: B+

Bowery Electric – The booker must have been raised at MAx's in the 1970s. This is the place to catch bands you loved 30 years ag, in an intimate venue. Floor, balcony (more like four steps up, bar, rest rooms to the back. What's not to like? Grade: B

Carnegie Hall – Sure, the acoustic are awesome but the seats suck, half of em are obstructed, the balcony is too high and the staff are a pain in the ass – Grade: B

Central Park Summerstage – Get there early and it is great, get there late and less so. Plus the GA seatings are to the side and fill up fast – Grade: B

Gramercy Theater – Great place for 2nd tier hardcore. Like terrific, plus with General Admission seats and standing so there is always plenty of room, even when they are sold out. – Grade: A

Hammerstein Ballroom – If you can get 1st or 2nd balcony reserved seating be my guest my all means. But if you can't, forget about it. I've had terrible terrible sightlines to Frank Ocean and (a couple of years ago) Portishead. If I can't get balcony I'll pass unless it is a real must see. PS: I followed up a T5 Odd Future gig where I couldn't see a thing with a terrific HB 1st Balcony seat that was simply awesome – Grade: C

Highline Ballroom – It depends, if it is a sold out show don't go anywhere near the balcony, you wouldn't see a thing. But for a second tier band, get a steak and a side table and enjoy – Grade: B-

IZOD Arena – Miles away from anywhere, this old fashioned hell hole is everything an Arena should pass on. Even its name sucks – grade: C-

Irving Plaza – If you get there early enough you can get real good sightlines but if you get there late, no way. But here's a trick: go to the back of the floor, buy a drink, and watch the set through the mirror – Grade: C+

Le Poison Rouge – Ecletic room for art rock nd hardcore. Great booker – Grade: B+

Madison Square Garden – Dolan has been renovating the World's Greatest Arena and every change has been for the worst for the average rock fans. If you bought a ticket and it is in the 200s, check the row before you start throwing Hosannas, you might well be further up than the old 300s. Plus I hate the bar seats, what the hell is the concept there? However, the sound is better than it ever was – Grade: B-

Mercury Theater – Musicians who are big in the UK but haven't broken Stateside play this place. Also? Indie bands who should've broken mainstream but haven't show up as well. Plus, no backstage so musicians have to walk through the audience to get to the stage, and usually can't be bothered with encores! – Grade" A-

MetLife – Nicer than Giants Stadium and the screens are mammoth and the sound not bad considering. Takes a Springsteen to fill it… – Grade: B-

Music Hall Of Williamsburg – If you get there not early but ON TIME, go straight to the left or the right , up four stairs and to the edge of the stage and you will have the best sitelines in the city. PS: show up late and the sitelines are still pretty good – Grade: A-

Pianos – The Ludlow Street mainstay and one of the best rooms in town, small, yes, but the standard bearer for the modern day rock shop. The smaller stage upstage is just as good – Grade: A-

Prudential Center – MSG kid brother, younger, cuter, a NJ Rail trip to get to and where I saw BIGBANG and Radiohead and Red Hot Chilli Peppers among others. However, bands don't tend to bring their A Game. The food is terrible – Grade: B

Radio City Music Hall – renovated a decade or so ago, it is all red and lovely with the best seats in town and great legroom. Grade: A

Roseland – From the middle of the floor at this diabolical music venue YOU STILL CAN'T SEE A DAMN THING. Nothing. Nada. Head after head, that is it. One long stretch of floor, if you are at the back you might as well not be there at all. The entire balcony is reserved for VIPs and the basement is a waste of space. This place ruined both Beyonce and New Order for me. I loath it with two exceptions: in the round concerts and raves – Grade: F

Terminal 5 –  An awful room. An airplane hangar of a space with zero personality, no sightlines unless you get in line hours earlier. Two balconies AND NOWHERE TO SEE THE BANDS. And if you get there early enough, even the first balcony is so far away all you can see is dots. And the sound is awful. The pits – Grade: D

Studio At Webster Hall – When it is pcked out, the place is so weirdly constructed with a huge waste of space to the left leading to the rest rooms, it can be difficult to see anything. But it is pretty happening bands performing – Grde: B

United Palace – Perhaps Harlem is having a revival but this shabby though beautiful venue won't prove it to you. They won't let you take your drinks or for that matter your popcorn to the seats, and the balcony is dreadful. Very very far away from the stage. Still the decor… – Grade: C-

Webster Hall – They used to have these great steps to the left of the stage where you could perch all concert and see great. No more, they stuck up speakers in front of them. Still, you can see from the back – Grade: B-

Leave a Comment


Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at

Jazz Sensation Angie Wells Guest Stars @Chelsea Table & Stage in NYC on July 15th, 2023

By admin | June 9, 2023 |

Singer/songwriter and jazz couture Angie Wells will be performing with her band in New Your City at the trendy new venue Chelsea Table and Stage on Saturday July 15th, 2023 at 9:30 PM. She will be captivating the stage with her original songs from her newest album “Truth Be Told” as well as iconic covers…

The Early Bird: Five New Single Releases 6-9-23 – 6-15-23 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | June 9, 2023 |

If Suga quit would anybody care?

The Early Bird: Five New Album Releases 6-9-23 – 6-15-23 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | June 9, 2023 |

even a break up is a reason to play

Wendy Stuart To Host The “Fruits on Film Awards” Monday, June 12th 2023 at RockBar In NYC

By admin | June 8, 2023 |

to celebrate the LGBTQ community

The Curse Of Gov Ball

By Iman Lababedi | June 8, 2023 |

the curse was so eager to ruin another weekend that it caused a worldwide epidemic

Coming Soon: Frank Sinatra’s Final Masterpiece, “She Shot Me Down” Admired In Detail

By admin | June 8, 2023 |

808s And Heartaches But different


By admin | June 7, 2023 |

This Art is a Hammer That Shapes Reality

James Brown’s “Think”! Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | June 7, 2023 |

a hit before it was released.

Why Write For

By admin | June 7, 2023 |

It allows you to be part of the vibrant music community

TKA’s Aby Escoto Still The Sound Of Puerto Rican Dance Forty Years Later

By Iman Lababedi | June 7, 2023 |

the soulfulness of bacata and the moves of, well, of TKA

Scroll To Top