Boston has a thriving music community with tons of shows and opportunities for artists at a range of levels. But the bookers, press, and fellow musicians need to get to know you. These venues are good places to break in if you're new on the scene.
Berklee Performance Center—Play your cards right and you'll end up on the college's biggest stage, possibly backing up a renowned artist like Philip Bailey or Paula Cole.
Caf Shows—Where else can you see a show in your pajamas? After hours, Berklee's cafeteria features great student bands from all genres. Admission only with Berklee ID.
The Red Room at Cafe 939—Berklee's sparkling new all-ages venue (and place to grab lunch) offers shows, open mic nights, and jam sessions.
All Asia—Restaurant that every Wednesday hosts the Monkey Rock Writer's Circle produced by Berklee students at 6:00 p.m., followed by an open mic night.
Boston-Area Coffeehouse Association—The suburbs have countless all-ages coffeehouses whose organizers keep an eye out for new talent. One venue close to home is the Nameless Coffeehouse in Harvard Square.
Cantab Lounge—This Cambridge dive offers a folk open mic on Monday and the most popular bluegrass jam/show in town Tuesdays.
Club Passim—A birthplace of the contemporary American folk scene. Open mics on Tuesdays. All-ages.
Toad—This cozy, no-cover venue has live music every night... which means a lot of slots to fill. Heavy on roots-rock.
Beehive—This sophisticated downtown club has rapidly become a favored haunt of Berklee musicians.
Comfort Restaurant and Bar—Open mic night upstairs twice per month. Rock performers have a place here, as well.
Jamaicaway Music and Books—Jam session on Sunday afternoons.
Lily Pad—Very small and open to experimentation.
Matt Murphy's—The level of musicianship is high at Thursday's jam sessions with the Wild Sextet.
Slade's Bar—Weekend afternoon jam sessions.
Solstice Café—Jam session on Thursdays.
Wally's Jazz Cafe—The storied Sunday-afternoon jam sessions are intense. Expect to be tested.
Middle East Corner—A starter option at the area's largest independent venue. You may also be able to get gigs at the Upstairs stage.
O'Brien's Pub—Bands that play this venue have a shot at moving up to its larger sister club Great Scott down the street.
PA's Lounge—Geographically and musically a little off the beaten track—noise, psych-folk, twee....