From our 2016 College Student Guide.
So, you’ve recently moved to Charleston for college, and you want to start a band, listen to local music, and befriend other musicians. Sounds like a great idea, except there’s one problem — you don’t know anything about the music scene down here. We asked local artists, Joe Suthers of Innerout, Patrick Thomas of False Light and Riot Stares, Taz and Tilly of Glass Lashes and CJ DeLuca and Andrew Barnes, for some quick tips in navigating the Charleston music scene. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Show up. All of the musicians we talked to say that the best way to meet other musicians is to attend local shows. It might be intimidating, but what better time than your first year of college to to get out of your comfort zone?
2. Be in the know. Head to Charleston Shows on Facebook, a page dedicated to compiling all of the DIY/punk shows happening in and around Charleston. In addition to Charleston Shows, there is The HSC (House Shows of Charleston), a Facebook group created for the purpose of being a networking platform for those involved in the Charleston music scene. Anything from house shows and festivals to potlucks and protests (although the page has no political affiliation) may be listed here, and it’s a great way for bands to promote themselves and for musicians to find other musicians to play with. The group also maintains an “Upcoming Show Directory” that lists all the shows happening for the upcoming weeks. And of course, the City Paper’s music section is jam-packed with previews of upcoming shows, and a schedule for the week’s music.
3. Know where you’re going. With venues that range from small bars to large stages, there’s a spot for all kinds of live music in the city. We’ve compiled a list of some popular venues below.
428 King St. Downtown
The Compass bar is located above Joe Pasta in the Radcliffeborough neighborhood on Upper King. Complete with a pool table and full bar, Compass hosts everything from local music to comedy nights. However, a lot of shows are 21+, so call ahead before heading out.
The Vinyl Countdown
724 King St. Downtown
The Vinyl Countdown is a great place to catch an all-ages show. See your favorite local acts perform live, and then pick up their CD or vinyl so that you can listen to their music at home or in the car.
1117 Magnolia Rd. West Ashley
With three to five nights of music each week, it’s worth the drive to West Ashley’s Tin Roof. This year, the dive bar hosted the first Holy City Hullabaloo, a two-day jamfest featuring both local and out-of-town musicians, and it has shown itself to be very committed to supporting the local music scene. And don’t worry; even though it might be a bar, the Tin Roof does put on a good amount of all-ages shows.
The Charleston Pour House
1977 Maybank Hwy. James Island
Located on James Island 10 minutes from downtown, the Charleston Pour House was voted the best rock music club in Charleston by the City Paper in both 2012 to 2013. With shows ranging from electronic to reggae to punk to Americana, the Pour House hosts a wide variety of shows almost every night of the week. And although shows inside the bar are 18+, the Pour House occasionally holds outdoor deck shows that are for all ages.
32 Ann St. Downtown
The Music Farm is situated downtown just north of Calhoun Street, and has brought a number of big name artists to Charleston, including A$AP Ferg, Lauryn Hill, and Mogwai. The Music Farm has capacity for 800 people, and all shows are all ages unless otherwise noted.
9422 Highway 78. Ladson
If you’re up for the drive to Ladson, located near Summerville, then you’ll want to check out the Hive, one of Charleston’s newest music venues. The spot has already seen several national touring acts. But the Hive is also committed to supporting the local music scene, and has become a mecca for local bands playing in Charleston.