Find Your Groove at Motor City’s Best Live Music Spots

Detroit’s venues are both cool and historic

One of the most interesting cities to spend time in when traveling through the United States can be found in the great state of Michigan. Detroit is a city with a long history that began in the 1700s with the founding of Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit. Over the years, the city has become one of the largest in the United States and is the epicenter of many business icons, particularly automotive ones thanks to its headquarters for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler.

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In addition to the automotive industry, Detroit is also well known for its diverse music scene which originally earned the city the nickname “Motown.” Many famous artists have come out of Detroit including Bob Seeger, Alice Cooper, Kiss, and Eminem. With so many amazing musical acts as well as a metropolitan area filled with potential concert-goers, Detroit is home to many amazing venues where individuals can enjoy a wide array of live music. From classic theaters to newer establishments, there are plenty of amazing live music spots to visit while enjoying time in Detroit.


The Fillmore Detroit

The entertainment district of Detroit is home to a music venue that has long been a staple of the city. The Fillmore Detroit first opened in 1925 as a movie house and featured elegant décor and architecture including massive chandeliers and a hardwood dance floor. Over the years, the venue has seen updates to transition it into a live music spot, but much of the original charm and architecture have remained the same. The lobby of the venue currently features a prominent wall coated with posters of artists who have performed in the venue, and it showcases the diverse musical history of both the venue and Detroit. Some upcoming shows that can be enjoyed at The Fillmore Detroit include Social Distortion, Goo Goo Dolls, Good Charlotte, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, O.A.R., and Tenacious D.


Saint Andrew’s Hall

Another live music venue in Detroit is owned by the same company as The Fillmore Detroit and has a rich history. Saint Andrew’s Hall was constructed in 1907 as a meeting place for the Saint Andrew’s Scottish Society of Detroit until the 1950s when groups began to rent the space for events. While the venue saw its share of musical acts, it was not until the 1980s that it solidified its reputation as one of the most popular venues in the city thanks to acts such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and more. Those who are looking for a special experience while visiting Saint Andrew’s Hall can pay for access into the Society Room which offers up an exclusive bar, seating, and balcony. Some upcoming shows at Saint Andrew’s Hall include Minus the Bear, Lily Allen, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Bayside.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

A more intimate live music venue in Detroit has an interesting history that has helped establish it as a main contributor to the city’s jazz history. Baker’s Keyboard Lounge opened in 1933 as a sandwich shop owned by Chris and Fannie Baker. Their some Clarence would occasionally book local jazz pianists to play at the location, and after he took over ownership he began to book pianists from all over the country. After gaining popularity, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge was expanded but still maintained its classic art deco-inspired architecture and charm. Some of the jazz greats who have performed at the location in the past include Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Nat “King” Cole. Those who score one of the ninety-nine seats at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge can enjoy live jazz music any night of the week.

Cliff Bell’s

Another amazing jazz venue can be found in the heart of downtown Detroit with an equally rich history. Cliff Bell’s began when John Clifford Bell began working as a porter for his father in a pub and eventually went on to open a string of speakeasies during prohibition. In 1935 he opened Cliff Bell’s featuring state of the art technology and comfort for the time period including air conditioning, refrigeration, and bar side tables. After Bell retired, the venue saw many changes over the years but experienced a rebirth in 2005 when a trio of new owners breathed new life into the location. Some upcoming performances that can be enjoyed include The Harvey Reed Quartet featuring Tony Camilletti, The Evan Mercer Trio, Midtown Sounds, and Emma Lee Aboukasm.


Harpos Concert Theater

Heavy metal fans will find the ultimate live music experience at another classic venue in downtown Detroit. The Harpos Concert Theater was constructed in 1939 as the Harper Theater and continued under that name until 1974 when it was converted to be a rock club dubbed the Harpos Concert Theater. Over the years, the venue has secured itself as a staple on the rock scene and mega-popular musicians such as Iron Maiden, Poison, Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Slayer, U2, and Joan Jett have performed there. Several live albums have even been recorded from the stage of the Harpos Concert Theater, and some upcoming performances include Aeromyth and the Detroit Meta Festival.

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