Welcome to Rochester. No matter how you wound up here - bad directions, chasing a romance that didn't pan out, or as a member of the Witness Protection Program - we're glad you've decided to join us. If you're like us, you like live music; all kinds of live music. Jazz, rock, blues, folk, classical, whatever...we got it all. Maybe you play a little yourself. There's room for that, too. There's so much music in Rochester that your TV remote's going to gather dust.
We've put together a couple "music packages" with some good bets to suit your musical tastes. These are just some of our favorites, but there's even more stuff than what's listed below. Check City Newspaper's weekly music calendar for more concerts, or visit our searchable online calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com.
Acoustic and Folk for Folks who like Folk
All kinds of singer-songwriter types perform around town, and you can catch them at joints in the South Wedge like House of Hamez (389 Gregory St, 271-2340, houseofhamez.com), where they feature incredible and intimate performances, including Brian Coughlin's quarterly Songwriters In The Round. Equal Grounds (750 South Ave, 271-2340) is the new kid on the block with dalliances into acoustic jazz, like Mr. Cool Steve Greene, and other on the weekends. Or you can head over to the ArtWalk neighborhood to Starry Nites Café (696 University Ave, 271-2630), where they bring the music out on the street-side patio during the warmer weather.
For those of you who like it green, every Sunday Temple Bar and Grill (109 East Ave, 232-6000) features live Celtic music. Johnny's Irish Pub (1382 Culver Rd, 224-0990, johnnysirishpub.com) hosts a monthly traditional Irish music jam.
The Golden Link Folk Singing Society hosts concerts of local and national folk talent. To see all their doings go to goldenlink.org. Heartland Concerts brings in a lot of big-name folk as well, and you can see what they have planned next at heartlandconcerts.org.
Blues in the Night
If you want to paint the town red, you might want to start with some blue. There is a lot of blues happening in this town - Son House's former home - every damn night.
Every day except for Sundays, the Dinosaur Bar B Que (99 Court Street, 325-7090, dinosaurbarbque.com) serves up live, local, national, and international blues acts. Mow down on a rack of ribs while you dig hometown favorites like Steve Grills and The Roadmasters and Joe Beard, or traveling sensations like Watermelon Slim and Eric Sardinas. One of the week's highlights is Gordon Munding's Son House Night every Thursday at Beale Street Café (689 South Ave, 271-4650). Rab's Woodshed (4440 Lake Ave, 663-4610) is a quaint little blues dive in Charlotte that has an old juke-joint feel. And new kid on the scene Lappy's R&B Lounge (146 W Commercial St, East Rochester, 385-7400) offers plenty of local heavy hitters, like the John Cole Blues Band and The Nightstalkers.
Thanks to the Eastman School of Music (26 Gibbs St, 274-1100, esmrochester.edu) and Hochstein School of Music (50 N Plymouth Ave, 454-4596, hochstein.org), this town is home to a plethora of student concerts, where you can witness budding talent at venues like Hochstein's Performance Hall, Kilbourn Hall.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra reigns supreme at the gorgeous Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St, 274-1100), where it plays throughout the year, as well a concerts around town at various colleges and churches. See what's going on at rpo.org.
For a Sunday afternoon treat, check out Eastman students performing on the 16th century Baroque organ at the MemorialArtGallery's Fountain Court (500 University Ave, 276-8900, mag.rochester.edu).
If'n you wants to boot-scoot, saddle up the nag and head to The Roost (4853 W Henrietta Rd, 321-1170), which features line-dance instruction and live (occasionally touring) country artists. The Jukebox (5435 Ridge Rd W, Spencerport, 352-4505) has local rock bands as well, but you can dig Rochester country outfits like JB and Company every now and then as well.
Hey, Mr. DJ
And when we say DJ, we don't mean some dude playing his favorite Aerosmith records on dollar Genny nights. We're talking cats that get the party started like Chroma and Discolobos.
Pearl (349 East Ave, 325-5660) brings in the major name electronica like DJ Dan and Diesel Boy. Tilt (444 Central Ave, tiltnightclub.com) - voted best place to dance by City Newspaper readers - keeps it pumping for hours; the lights will give you vertigo.
The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave, 454-2966, bugjar.com) regularly gets the dance party started late on Friday nights.
Jazz: It's Not Just for Jazz Fest
Not only is there jazz happening virtually every night in Rochester, but it happens at all hours. Get done carousing on a Saturday night - when it's actually Sunday morning - and head over to the late night jazz jam with the Quinn Lawrence Trio at The Flat Iron Café (561 State St, 454-4830, flatironcafe.net) from 1 a.m. on. If that's too late for you, or you've got to get up for church, you can hit the Little Theatre Café (240 East Ave, 258-0412, thelittle.org) for music that runs from straight-up jazz like the Westview Project to straight-out-there with acts like The Margaret Explosion.
The Grill at Strathallan (550 East Ave, 461-5010) is cozy, romantic, and cool. It's precisely what a jazz joint should be like. And with local hipsters like Bob Sneider, Chris Ziemba, and Bill Dobbins holding court, this is the perfect spot - with the perfect music - to start or end an evening out.
Want to shake your moneymaker Latin style? Try Tapas 177 (177 Saint Paul St, 262-2090, tapas177.com), where Latin bands whip dancers into a caliente frenzy.
Tom Kohn at The Bop Shop (274 N Goodman St, 271-3354, bopshop.com) brings in an incredible array of jazz and Americana musicians who either play in the Atrium outside the shop or at various venues throughout town. Dig the website to see who's next.
Same goes for the Exodus To Jazz series, which brings in some amazing cats like Johnny O'Neal or Dr. Lonnie Smith. Check exodustojazz.com gives you the lowdown.
Rock 'n' Roll All Night
This is where Rochester shines. Maybe it's the short summers and the long winters that contribute to a lot of aggressive music. Yeah, we got cover bands going through the motions, but there's also an abundance of sweet original stuff, too.
Voted as the best club to see live music in by City Newspaper readers, Water Street Music Hall (204 N Water St, 325-5600, waterstreetmusic.com) brings in every imaginable kind of act, like Rob Zombie, Flogging Molly, tons of local stuff, and a highly successful battle of the bands that helps usher in the next generation of hopefuls. The Club side offers a smaller stage for the more up-close-and-personal shows.
The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave, 454-2966, bugjar.com) hosts cutting-edge bands, in many cases before their edges can cut. The White Stripes and Nashville Pussy played here long before most folks learned their names. So have legends like Blue Cheer and The Saints.
If you don't want to get so down and dirty, High Fidelity (170 East Ave, 325-6490, highfidelityrochester.com) offers a variety of local and national music in a slick setting. Nice sound in there, too.
Boulder Coffee (100 Alexander St, 454-7140, bouldercoffeeco.com) ain't your daddy's coffee shop. It is rapidly becoming a cool rock venue despite its diminutive layout. You'll see solo acts like troubadour Roger Kuhn or heavy rockers The Veins. Either way, you can sip on a latte while their guitars gently weep.
MontageLiveMusic Hall (50 Chestnut St, 232-1520) and The Penny Arcade (4785 Lake Ave, 621-7625) keep classic rock alive, as well as house the heavy metal and hardcore scenes in Rochester.