Minneapolis music scene named second-best in the U.S.

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Related:
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Cedar Cultural Center named best world music venue
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene

The helpful folks at Livability.com have chosen "Top 10 Cities With the Best Music Scenes Outside of Nashville NYC and LA," and trusty Minneapolis came in second. It does not seem as if Howler's Jordan Gatesmith or people who went to Jane's Addiction at the Brick were polled for this, but it's still a nice honor from a website we had never heard of before today.

By omitting the big three of New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville, the site gives us a summation of three more strong, tight local scenes at the bottom of the list. It's nice to see that our neighbors in Madison got included, but there are definitely some head-scratching omissions. Where the hell are Chicago and Austin? Only one city could topple the mighty MinneApple, and we have the complete list below.

From the entry on Minneapolis, we learn that:
Artists love playing the venue First Avenue, located in the vibrant Warehouse District downtown. Most remember it from the Prince movie Purple Rain, and if you want to know who has graced its stage, look no further than the building's star-spangled exterior. Each star bears a name such as U2, B.B. King, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco and many more. 

Another popular Warehouse District venue, the Fine Line Music Cafe, has presented shows by artists such as John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, The Black Keys, Lady Gaga, Ben Harper and Buddy Guy over the past two decades.
Can we get a quick show of hands of how many Gimme Noise readers saw John Mayer at the Fine Line?

Anyhow, the somewhat predictable entry also gives deserved props to the Varsity Theater, the State Theatre, Hymie's, the Electric Fetus, and several summer festivals, including Rock the Garden and Soundset, but there's nary a mention of the Triple Rock Social Club or the Cedar Cultural Center or Rhymesayers. And I'll let the commenters fill in the many other aspects they missed.

Some band called R.E.M. is from the winning city. Big deal.

1. Athens, GA
2. Minneapolis, MN
3. Portland, OR
4. Chapel Hill, NC
5. Omaha, NE
6. Cambridge, MA
7. Fort Worth, TX
8. Madison, WI
9. Tulsa, OK
10. Concord, CA

Read: Top 10 Cities With the Best Music Scenes Outside of Nashville NYC and LA: Minneapolis, MN

Related:
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Cedar Cultural Center named best world music venue
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene


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60 comments
mixed
mixed

 The location of the warehouse district has changed over the years. While First Ave probably never was in the warehouse district, it could be argued that the Fineline was, before the Target Center gentrified the area kicking out artists and artsy venues for the now ever present sports bars.

Citypagessuxdix
Citypagessuxdix

Tons of big bands are from Athens you idiots. Not just REM.

Meow
Meow

Why do I hate every post above and below?  I am not a fucking hipster.

joeb
joeb

Pretty misleading headline when MPLS is actually 5th. That's like writing "Kevin Love drafted 2nd in 2008 NBA Draft" and then explaining in an article that you aren't counting Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley or O.J. Mayo on your list. 

Then you even point out that it comes from a website you had "never heard of before today." 

And as everyone else as commented, numerous better musical cities were omitted. 

But whatever you got to do to get the page views I guess, you got me to click it, so congrats on that. 

I enjoyed Brother Ali's perspective on the Trayvon Martin tragedy, but I don't think I'll be coming back to read citypages.com anytime soon.

Swee2th
Swee2th

What happened to Austin? They must be fucking pissed!

startseeingsculpture.com
startseeingsculpture.com

Rent and housing is cheap, survival jobs are abundant, which keeps the economics of the bars open. No musician or artists actually makes a dime in this town, it's a hobby art town,  Cover charge is high, giving the illusion something special is going to happen. You should never have to wait in line in the twin cities. travel, come back and enjoy musicians who can actually play 

natural 1
natural 1

How about instead of going on about the list being bad or all of the other cities that are better than here we take this as a positive thing. Somebody in a great band might see that and chose to move here, or someone from a press outlet comes to check out why we got a high spot, or labels look here to find bands to support or booking agents see that and book good bands to play. Why would Radiohead's people book a show in a city if more people say bad things about their own city than good? There are good music related things here; we've got two easy to tune in stations (Current, Radio K) that play new national and local music when many cities are lucky if they have one, we have venues of all sizes that take time to book local bands instead of only touring bands, a good portion of those venues have good to great sound. The people who made the list missed this, but the venues aren't actually centralized to one area, you can go to almost all areas of the twin cities and if there isn't a dedicated venue there are a bar or two with a stage. Any press is good press and good press is awesome. Let's be happy we were even considered; the more outside eyes looking towards the city the higher the chance that someone might come in and give a local band a chance to get into larger markets without bankrupting themselves. Since we don't have labels with strong truly strong presence outside of the city it's the labels and reps from other cities that need to come to town and do the work. Label and rep people might not have taste that you agree with, but if they come to town because of lists like this and sign a band and that band does well they might come back or someone else might check out the city and sign a completely different style of band. I'm trying to make a name for myself in a creative field and most of my friends are too (some are successful others just refuse to give up, but we all keep working); if you're involved in doing so you'll discover a few things. You'll always need help getting to the next level, there are lots of talented people but the ones who make it are generally either lucky or have worked hard at the hustle to make themselves seem like a good investment to someone who can help them. There is definitely talent in the twin cities area, we got lucky (or someone did a good PR job) to get some national attention, now it is our job to not screw that up by coming off as a bunch of ungrateful malcontents that talk about how their home sucks and all of the greener pastures everywhere else, but instead of moving or trying to make their home better they just focus on the negative. I'm not condemning anyone's opinions or taste and I'm definitely not going to get specific about my own likes and dislikes in the comment section of anything, what I am doing is suggesting that we should all look at the positives in our own city and try to make them flourish; in the process some of the bad might get weeded out and some new unexpected things might pop up. Cheers

Fredwilmer
Fredwilmer

tulsa is better than chicago? I love mpls, but this is bunk.

EatMolly
EatMolly

Hmm, no Austin?  And why would they say 'cities with the best music scenes...minus 3 of the cities with the best music scenes...they could have just done the top 15 cities if they really wanted to include madison, tulsa, and concord.

Concord CA? ...Lets get real.  Madison, WI?  Perhaps theres a lot of shows but its the worst scene I've ever been to.  All their venues are no fun allowed.  You can't even wear hats at one of their big venues and tons of their shows end at 11pm or midnight...Madison should be on the worst music scenes of all time.

yo
yo

from the website that spawned this list:  The best places to live aren't always the biggest ones. You won't find New York City, Chicago or San Francisco on Livability." Strangely Nashville is on the website that spawned this list. Curious.

ralph
ralph

From the Livability website: "About Livability:

The best places to live aren't always the biggest ones. You won't find New York City, Chicago or San Francisco on Livability.com." Strangely, Nashville is found on the website, so it's unclear why it is precluded from the list.

cwmaxson
cwmaxson

I've lived in Portland, OR and Minneapolis, MN, and Minneapolis is a footnote compared to Portland. Plus, where's Austin? This list is stupid.

Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson

John Mayer played at the Fine Line at some point? That would have been awesome... Though I have to assume it was quite a while ago. That or tickets sold out in 15 seconds

Tedsolberg
Tedsolberg

Actually Minneapolis is #5 behind NYC, LA, Nashville, and #1 on the list Athens Georgia. WTH no mention of Austin Texas but yet the have Fort Worth Texas and Omaha Nebraska.

boog
boog

Can we compile a list of all the reasons why Minneapolis is the top music scene in the US and send it to Radiohead management? 

Ekijowski
Ekijowski

concord ca????????????????????????? theres a jamba juice there and a trader joes. this list is flawed and wrong. sf and oakland are right there list. right there. and OMAHA are you kidding me? i guess there is a music scene but its not big.

Kevin
Kevin

Austin, The live music capital of the world, not making the list completely discredits this entire article. Minneapolis has a lot of great music peppered across the calendar, but Tulsa and Omaha? You can't walk down a street within sight of downtown Austin without running into a show on any given night of the year, needless to say during SXSW and Austin City Limits. Thoughtless list overall.

tony
tony

This, from the Livability website: " About Livability: The best places to live aren't always the biggest ones. You won't find New York City, Chicago or San Francisco on Livability.com. We're all about the great places in between the big cities." Strangely, you will find Nashville, so it's unclear why it is specifically precluded from the list.

Eric
Eric

Yeah, this is just ridiculous. First of all, it says we're fifth, not second.  More importantly, somehow Austin, Seattle and Chicago aren't above us (or even on there), not to mention San Francisco, Portland, Omaha, Boulder, Detroit, Memphis, Atlanta... and what kind or reputable source of anything at all is livability.com?!

dan alvin
dan alvin

if each song Low has ever written counted as an individual band, and we used a per capita measurement, Duluth would win :)

William W. Pendleton
William W. Pendleton

This is a pathetic list. You cant take away markets and then announce MPLS as the winner, Chicago or Austin smokes the 10 on the list

David Brooks
David Brooks

Athens is up there, but maybe not ahead of Minneapolis. Austin is ahead of Minneapolis for sure, probably San Fran as well. Boulder isn't too bad, but not concentrated as much as Minnie.  Cambridge is right outside of Boston and their music scene is crap there. If I were making the list of all cities it would start with NYC, Nashville, LA (maybe, it is overrated), Austin, Minneapolis, Athens, New Orleans and San Fran. The rest are really non-factors.

George
George

why are we so obsessed with where we rank with everything? It's like an image complex. 

Isaac Anthony
Isaac Anthony

Whoever made that list is retarded.  Concord DOES NOT have a good music scene, San Francisco on the other hand is WAY better than MPLS.  WTF?!?!?

John Miller
John Miller

Whoever created these ranking is completely ignorant.  First of all, Austin is the top music city in the United States.  There is more live music per capita on any given night in Austin than anywhere in the U.S.  Even more than NYC, L.A., and especially Nashville.  Everyone knows this already.  Secondly, to even include Ft. Worth on there is laughable.  Athens can be on there but maybe down in more like spot 7 or 8.  Minneapolis definitely deserves a high ranking I'll grant them that.  Overall, this ranking hold absolutely no credibility.  Minneapolis, you are wonderful, but don't get too proud of yourselves over this one.

Giles
Giles

Interesting that they listed Athens as the #1 town.  I can name only one band that's EVER come out of there, whereas I can name a handful from here that would be recognized around the world.  Actually, the tone of their review of our fair city reminds me of that scene in the British show "I'm Alan Partridge," where the title character is asked what his favourite Beatles album is and he replies with, "Probably 'Greatest Hits.'"

Also, call me an idiot, but I guess I didn't realize that First Ave and the Fine Line were considered part of the Warehouse District...is it just me, or are they a little off?  I always thought the Warehouse district was on the other side of Washington Ave and to the East and West...

startseeingsculpture.com
startseeingsculpture.com

You can live in Brooklyn and get to any show in the city within 20 mins and still make rent. No disrespect, but I would argue the NYC reference.

Fredwilmer
Fredwilmer

kinda the other way around regarding music

Barbarajean55311
Barbarajean55311

John Meyer played at Bunkers after his concert at Target Center. It. Was. Awesome.

solace
solace

it was like July or August 2001 i wanna say?

it was a pretty sweet show and i say this as not even a fan of his catalog really. it wasn't sold out either.

Jody
Jody

Denver is a city in the state of Colorado.  

Jody
Jody

Because the Twin Cities are such a copy and paste metro area that we embrace any type of reward that we can get.  Its so sad that people here still cling on the the fact that Prince was from here.  And his heyday was almost 30 years ago.  

eatmolly
eatmolly

agreed. first off minne shouldn't have needed a bunk list to think they have a decent scene. secondly this list has at least 2 cities that I can personally discredit as having 'good music scenes' from years of living in them.  

Jon Schober
Jon Schober

I'm confused about Ft. Worth as well. Maybe they meant to say Denton but lumped it in together? Denton has one of the more thriving music scenes in the states right now coupled with 35 Denton right before SXSW. It's starting to bring a lot of attention.

Sepp
Sepp

If you read the article to which this article refers, you would understand. This list was based on their 500 cities that are the most livable. Austin isn't among them. While it might be bigger than some (or all) on this list, it wasn't in the criteria to begin with.

David Brooks
David Brooks

Per capita doesn't really work with best local music scene. Wouldn't omaha be tops then? Or what about Moscow, Idaho? Not many people, lots of music.

J-l Ohly
J-l Ohly

I won't add to the list, but I will say that Athen's music festivals are fantastic, and surprisingly inexpensive.

Shockadow
Shockadow

Hey...  Yankee moron.  Check this list out:REMB-52sWidespread PanicDeerhunterDead ConfederateDrive-by TruckersVic Chestnuttof MontrealNeutral Milk HotelOlivia Tremor ControlExplosions in the Sky& that's just Athens (16,000 people).  Bring Atlanta into the mix & you add:Black Lips, Gringo Star, Mastodon, Manchester Orchestra, OUTKAST, Constellations

Ymsbguy
Ymsbguy

pssttt....Widespread Panic is from Athens too. 

David Brooks
David Brooks

 Widespread Panic, yo. Plus Drive by Truckers, B-52's Love Tractor, Col Bruce Hampton, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Vic Chestnutt and many others

Angie
Angie

Yeah, if you're a trust fund kid.

Whatd00d
Whatd00d

Having lived in Portland and Minneapolis... yeah - Minneapolis wins. Sorry.

Guest
Guest

 Starting? Denton will never produce something as righteously awesome as Slobberbone (unfortunate name not withstanding)

Whatd00d
Whatd00d

 Holy crap, someone referenced my home town of Moscow Idaho!!!! As a Minnesota transplant that's been here for 9 years I can say the Minnesota music scene rocks.

Hirst012
Hirst012

Explosions is from Austin. Thanks

Giles
Giles

Well, I stand corrected.  Guess I didn't realize they were all Athenians.  

timothypfox
timothypfox

@Angie Agreed. New York was even tough for me to make it on a public school teachers salary when I lived there two years ago. I lived in Brooklyn and in Queens. Both areas have desirable lower crime areas to live in which are also closer to the city. These areas are the most expensive to live in. Live out farther OR in areas with more crime - the rent is less. That is the NYC life game.

thomas.m.crouse
thomas.m.crouse

@Whatd00d I've also lived in both, and Minneapolis definitely wins. But we don't have any place as cool as the Doug Fir!

Jon
Jon

Eh, who knows - I haven't lived in North Texas for a few years now.

Guest
Guest

 I meant to say never again. Obvs.

Tara Scott
Tara Scott

Widespread Panic?! Jam bands can't count. ;)

Also had no idea Of Montreal are from there. Never could have guessed that. thanks for the info!

Janice Second
Janice Second

The Whigs, Dead Confederate, Of Montreal, Reptar, Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System, Elf Power... I can go on...

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