Stand outside Marciano Commons and the sounds of Billy Joel or The Who can be overheard coming from Fenway Park. Right across the street, you’ll see the blue walls of the House of Blues. Cross the river to discover venues such as the Sinclair and Middle East. Wander down Commonwealth and you’re sure to catch glimpses of lines for the next show at Paradise Rock Club winding around Canes. Go farther west and you’ll find students looking for good food and partaking in the Allston Crawl mixed in with the crowd outside of Brighton Music Hall. Venture downtown to Tremont Street and the marquee lights of Royale, the Boch Center, and The Wilbur will draw you in. Jump on the T and hop off at North Station and catch the songs of artists at the top of the Billboard charts vibrating through TD Garden. And right here on our very own campus at Agganis Arena, unless the crowds are decked out in red hockey jerseys, it is safe to assume that our hockey arena has been transformed to house a big name superstar for that night.
Boston University may lack a football team or be far from extensive green space, but one thing we have in excess is accessibility to seeing live music—and thank god for it! School has been in session for just around two weeks and I have been so lucky to have attended two shows in that limited time period. I saw Pink Sweat$ and Tyler the Creator, and was able to get affordable tickets for them both. Concerts have a reputation of breaking the bank and it is understandable as to why that is. Musicians now-a-days are relying almost solely on streaming revenue to make money with the decline in physical record sales, which leaves artists making a fraction of a cent each time someone clicks their song on Spotify, Apple Music, or a like platform. In response, touring is what artists turn to make a more solidified income. As a result of this changing economy, I believe that artists are touring more than before, which has brought everyone from today’s biggest names like Post Malone and Lizzo, to smaller indie names like Mt. Joy (who I am obsessed with) or Omar Apollo to Boston’s venues.
It may seem like a trap knowing that all of these artists are performing so close to campus, when ideas of paying for concert tickets are overwhelmed with looming thoughts of paying for student loans, but live music is all around us and does not always come attached to a hefty price tag. I advise you look into artists playing at the smaller venues and listen to their songs. You may discover an artist that you end up loving and can have the satisfaction of saying you saw them (for cheap!) before they made it big. Personally I even prefer these smaller venues because you are able to have a more intimate experience with the performers often being just a few rows, or less, in front of you. Scrolling Facebook event pages or BU Free and For Sale pages can also connect you with students or others in the area reselling tickets for a steep discount because they can no longer attend for one reason or another. I did this for Tyler the Creator and was able to snag tickets for a quarter of it’s face value! The Boston area even has live jazz music at Wally’s Café or Beehive Restaurant, or if you’re looking for something completely different, Howl at the Moon features shows with dueling pianos. Another option is to take in the music of the talented street musicians that take over Faneuil Hall or Harvard Square. Boston may be known as “Beantown” or for being a “College Town,” but a layer of Boston that I believe doesn’t get enough credit is its abundance and love for good-old live, loud music.