Venues make a difference when planning summer concerts


Logic at Ace of Spades. Photo by Kevin Cortopassi CC BY-ND 2.0

With summer being only three months away, now is the best time to start planning a summer concert lineup of what bands, shows or people are performing that are the best to go and see. Although a main aspect of a concert is who is performing, the venue a concert can make or break the experience. How far the venue is, the size of the venue, if it has a roof overhead or if it’s general seating can all affect the night of the concert and the events that correspond with it. Here are the top seven close concert venues that allow all ages and what should be expected when walking inside.


1 Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Ace of Spades is a small venue located in Sacramento. Although it is described as a club/bar, the general area below is open to all ages and does not include designated seating. The venue hosts artists such as the 1975 or Tyler the Creator, artists more underground compared to the artists on 107.9 The End. The capacity is only 1,000, but it is indoors so raincoats will never be needed. It does get hot, however, due to the fact that there is no seating, people stay tight to keep their place or try to push to the front to get closer to the performer. Pricing is usually around $15-30. Merchandise is usually on sale for the one, two or three people performing, but there isn’t usually food so make sure to eat beforehand and bring water. The next upcoming show is The Geographer and The Crooks on April 1. List of upcoming performances and costs is available on their website.


2 Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento

Sleep Train Arena is a well known concert venue that is outdoors and hosts concerts of all styles, whether it’s 30 Seconds to Mars hard rock or The Script’s soft guitar-based music. The venue is outside, so make sure to check the weather previous to the performance. It has a capacity of 17,317,  including the seats, mosh pit in the front and a grass area that is cheaper and is still in view of the performers on the stage. As for food, there are booths available but timing is critical. Lines can become very long especially if the venue is packed for a very popular performance. As for food, you cannot bring any open items inside such as water bottles or alcohol due to security reasons, and there is also a check in advance at the door. If you would like to bring food, put them in Ziplock bags and make sure to bring empty water bottles to fill up inside. A list of upcoming performances and costs is available on their website.


3 Shady Coffee and Tea, Roseville

Now I know what the title portrays; a coffeehouse. However, this place is actually a great spot to see underground but known performers sing for free. During each Friday night open mic, not only are there around 10 performers that perform two songs each but there is a spotlight performer that gets around a half an hour to sometimes an hour singing time. Spotlight artists that sing here can include Jaymay, and artist Jenny LaJoye, who appears at Shady almost every week and appears as well on Spotify, SoundCloud and iTunes with two full albums and one EP. Rappers also conduct performances of improvisational lyrics created from keywords that the audience provides. The seating is outside and very limited, however. The performances start at 8 pm, but to ensure a seat one should get there around 7:15 p.m. Although the wait time would be a half an hour the small venue is lit up beautifully with lights, and of course there are salads, sandwiches, and coffee to have while you wait. Oh, and entrance is free as well. More information about the open mics are available on their website.


4 San Francisco’s The Fillmore

The Fillmore is a music auditorium with a classic rock/theatrical mixed vibe. The capacity is 1,150, which makes the space inside a little bit larger than Ace of Spades, but still small. Like Ace of Spades, it is also inside a building and is an open space where standing is free range, meaning the possibility of getting to the front without paying your way in. Again make sure to bring empty water bottles to fill and the basic necessities, because it will become tightly packed as small venues with no designated seating normally do. Their next concert is  Anders Osborne on Apr 1.  A List of upcoming performances and costs is available on their website.


5 Bottom of The Hill, San Francisco

Bottom of The Hill is a small but personal venue, described as a hip-hop indie infusion club. It has indoor and outdoor seating, but the stage is indoors. The venue hosts bands such as American Authors, Vista Kicks (previously known as BABE), and Eyes on the Shore. Each performance includes 2-3 artists and starts at the earliest at 7 p.m. Tickets don’t exceed $15 and shows are available to attend almost every night. As for food, their menu is available here, and water can be asked for at the club itself or brought in. Again, although it is a club, the concert portion is all ages. The next performers are Foxing on Mar. 31. List of upcoming performances and costs is available on their website.  


6 Shoreline Amphitheatre, San Francisco Bay Area

Shoreline Amphitheatre is an outdoor venue with an overall capacity of 22,500. The venue has 6,500 reserved seats and 16,000 general admission on the lawn. The next band performing is The Cure on May 26. List of upcoming performances and costs is available on their website.