Anderson East and PG editors discuss the coolest places to see live music.
Q: Where was the best venue you’ve seen a concert? Why?
Anderson East -- Guest Picker
A: I saw Beck at Ascend Amphitheater in May when we had a day off. He’s a beast and it was loud. I like loud. But we also played the Edmonton Folk Festival in Alberta, Canada, a little while back and Regina Spektor played that same day and wow! She was beyond spectacular. That festival is a great one!
Current obsession: SZA’s 2017 album, Cntrl. (It takes me a minute to discover things.) I internally agree with this record. The groove and sound of it are great and her voice is super inspiring. Her timing is really interesting. I’m drawn to the lyrics as well—it’s totally different from how I write.
Wayne Polley -- Reader of the Month
A: My new favorite larger venue is PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. I saw Willie Nelson there last month and loved the amphitheater venue set in the hills—very apt for the Outlaw Music Festival. The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville was very special, though. Pity the listening-room concept couldn’t be extended to bigger venues and people would listen to and watch the performance rather than chat about crap and ruin the view with their phones.
Current obsession: Who will play at Glastonbury 2019, which we were lucky to get tickets for. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga on the Park Stage … could the rumors be true?
Joe Gore -- Contributing Editor
A: Well, come on—is anyone who’s seen or played shows at Red Rocks gonna name anything else? Well, the Gorge near Seattle is pretty epic. So are Euro gigs at Roman amphitheaters in Lyons, Viennes, and other cities. Number one for me might be the Greek amphitheater in Taormina, Sicily, with volcanic Mt. Etna in the background.
Current obsession: I just heard the freakiest Latin track on S4E6 of Better Call Saul. It sounded sort of Cuban, but with this odd, galumphing beat. Turns out it’s from 1970s Peru, from a compilation called Perú Maravilloso. As cool as the Saul track is, it doesn’t have much guitar. Other selections do. Dig the wild, Afrobeat-like guitars on “Salsa 73.” I don’t imagine Peruvian musicians were listening to Fela Kuti back then, but it almost sounds like they were. Man, I’d love to play in a band like this.
Rich Osweiler -- Associate Editor
A: The Fillmore. Call me a Bay Area homer but it remains at the top of my list. I don’t know how many dozens of shows I’ve seen there, but every single time I walk up the stairs to the ballroom, I feel the venue’s history and energy oozing from the walls that are covered with posters and Fillmore-performance photos from yesteryear. Old-school elegance emanates from all the chandeliers and dark velvet, and the long-standing tradition of a free apple and a show poster on your way out lives on.
Current obsession: Wanderer from Cat Power. Chan Marshall is an expert at making melancholy sound beautiful, and her first record in six years takes things back even further to the bittersweet bluesy indie energy of 2006’s The Greatest.