Looking for great live music? Check these venues out

Gainesville’s Nook & Cranny performs Aug. 29 at The Atlantic.

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

It’s a brand new school year, and you know what that means: Incoming freshmen were born in 1996. Also, it means a whole new season of some great shows, so aren’t you just the luckiest person(s) to have all of them right at your fingertips? Aside from rightly appreciating all the talent that either lives here or merely passes by, let’s take some time to look at some of the places our bands call home: The venues.

THE ATLANTIC: Call me sentimental, but the first show I ever saw in Gainesville was at The Atlantic, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but I still think it’s the best place in town to see live music; whether it’s punk rock, psychedelic, hip-hop or a DJ, the atmosphere and the staff are just TOO cool. The drinks are cheap and the lights are low, so if you plan on impressing your special someone, you’ll get some major hip-points. It’s also a no-smoking venue, you know, for your lungs, so they should like that.

And at The Atlantic this week, local alt-folk quintet Nook & Cranny performs along with Tampa folk-rockers Have Gun Will Travel and the all-lady, alt-country-rockers quartet The Ones To Blame, on Friday, starting at 9 p.m.

LOOSEY’S: This place is like if Cheers were a real bar that served up great food and even better music. With friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, and a more than competent kitchen staff, you can enjoy good food and drinks while listening to your favorite local band or national act, or pretty much anything you can think of. Oh yeah, and another thing, all the door money goes to the bands, so you actually are paying a cover charge for the music, not the pockets of others.

Go there and see some real-life, awesome dudes. Blacksnake performs its annual legendary show on Saturday, with local soft-punks Sunshine State, Loose Bearings and Radon, starting at 9 p.m.

THE BACKYARD: Sometimes affectionately called “Bocamino,” this little outdoor paradise sits right in the middle of the best Tex-Mex eatery (Boca Fiesta) and pool hall (Palomino) in town. The covers are cheap, the drinks are strong and the music is almost always entertaining. They also have a pretty great trivia night on Tuesdays, so if you don’t feel like showing off your dance moves, you can work on your brain grooves.

The surf-punks and all-around talented instrumental duo Strange Lords perform on Saturday, along with Party Drag and The Anemones, starting at 9 p.m.

1982 BAR: This is a great venue for aspiring musicians to cut their teeth. It’s also an all-ages venue, so those freshmen you just met can ironically enjoy the ’90s cover bands and probably play there.

They also just revamped their stage situation, so why not go check it out? Like, how about, tonight? Tallahassee pretty-boy Jason Lancaster (of Go Radio fame) performs an acoustic set, starting at 9 p.m.

HIGH DIVE: This is the big boy in town. They have two bars, an outside patio with a DJ (most of the time) and the biggest and loudest sound system out of this list. It’s a real classy joint for a place called “High Dive” and recommended for reggae enthusiasts and ska-lars.

Probably the best ska-punk band to come out of this region, ever, Less Than Jake, performs its annual not one night, but TWO, shows (Saturday and Sunday), starting at 6 p.m. both days.

Contact Scott Kauffmann at kauffmann1987@gmail.com.

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