Monday, March 1, 2010

Free Music: Good for the Soul (And Wallet)

In true Minimalist spirit, today's topic is free, live music in RVA! Where is it happening and when? Over the past month I've been able to nurture my inner night owl and it will come as no surprise to many of you that there's a good bit of good music for cheap in our city. I'll leave venue reviews to others and instead suggest the following five venues based on their overall ambiance and frequency of inexpensive, quality, live music.

1. Balliceaux

A restaurant that opened in 2009 and hosts music several nights per week. Shows are free and usually advertised as being for the 21+ crowd. Most weekly music begins at 9:30 pm with weekend music starting later. Located at 203 N Lombardy St, the ambiance is elegant, lighting is low and the music ranges from salsa (Bio Ritmo) to funk and jazz (Fight the Big Bull) and many other genres in between including artists like And the Wiremen, DJ Doddie, Fuzzy Baby, Miramar and The Great White Jenkins. Beware of the tasty beverages which don't come cheap but help you forget you're sorta broke until the following morning when you find the receipts.

2. Tastebuds American Bistro

A restaurant that supports local artists through the artwork on their walls and the live music they occasionally host. They recently moved and their new location is 4019 MacArthur Ave. This Wednesday, March 3, make sure to check out the wonderful music of Miramar starting at 9:30 pm for $5.

3. The Camel

Located at 1621 W Broad St, The Camel has music almost every night of the week. Some shows are free and those that aren't typically cost no more than $5. Food and beverages are available and the space is casual and comfortable. Shows are typically provided by local musicians and musical genres run the gamut! Take a chance.

4. Cous Cous

This restaurant hosts free music every week. In the heart of VCU at 900 W Franklin St, Cous Cous has a great calendar with weekly/monthly gigs - some free and some for cheap, all for a good time. This week - Mercy! Soul, Funk, Boogaloo: 45 rpm Dance Party on Saturday, March 6, free.

5. Bogart's

At 1903 W Cary St, Bogart's hosts Beast Wellington every Wednesday. This Wednesday, March 3, is free!

Live music is good for the soul and, as demonstrated above, good for the wallet. Enjoy!

Emily Smith

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