For music lovers, there’s nothing like a good live show. I must admit that I rarely actually attend these, for various reasons ranging from financial limitations to general laziness, but boy, there are some bands I would do anything to see live. In truth, I somewhat envy those who go to live gigs wherever they are, always getting to know all the cool artists and the local music scene.
Now that I’m travelling myself, arriving in a new city about every week, I thought I should harness the mighty power of the Web to find some good live shows in my area. No, I haven’t actually attended any shows yet, I haven’t made it that far, but in my quest, I found some very useful tools that could help you discover what’s going on locally, no matter where you are. So if you’re in a new city, or even in your home town, get ready to find some great music shows for tonight!
Songkick is a comprehensive live show database, which can become your go-to website for finding shows, discovering artists, following locations and buying tickets. The site works well even without logging in, but if you choose to log in using Facebook, you can access all the extra features such as saving locations, shows, and artists. You can find shows pretty much anywhere in the world, mark which ones you’re interested in, and for some, even buy tickets. Your saved shows can be synced with Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook. To access all your details on the go, there’s also an Android app and an iOS app., both free.
Summary: comprehensive, mobile, and integrates with calendars.
If you’re the visual type and prefer to see shows on a map, give ShowHopping a try. Getting started is super simple: Choose a location, your dates, and your favorite artists, and you’re good to go. You can also search for all music shows in the area, or import your favorite artists from Last.fm. The results are displayed on a map according to the venue’s location, and you can easily access the venue’s website or the show’s Last.fm listing for more details. If you’re new to a city, and want to find shows in a very specific location, this is a great option.
Summary: convenient map view, tight Last.fm integration.
Don’t be discouraged by the interface when you take a first look at Gruvr. Granted, the website looks like it hasn’t been update since 1999, but it’s really useful when it comes to finding good local shows. The website works with most major cities around the world, and with many smaller ones in North America and Europe. All you have to do is enter your location, and voila, all the live shows in the area are presented on a map. You can also look for your favorite artists to find out where their next shows are. Gruvr integrates with several ticket vendors, and includes venue maps and price alerts. You can even get alerts about your favorite bands, no account necessary. It doesn’t get much simpler than this!
Summary: simple, nice ticket vendor integration, no account necessary.
Pollstar is a very well-known live gig database, which takes some getting used to. The interface is not one of my favorites, but you can’t ignore the amount of data that’s there at your disposal. Search Pollstar by location, artist or venue, and quickly find local shows around your area. After getting your results, you can filter them even further to get exactly what you’re looking for. Pollstar includes relevant information about each show, and helps you search for available tickets. Aside from finding local shows, there’s a whole Pollstar community you can join, which includes reviews, photos, and much more. By creating an account, you can also access other features such as notifications.
Summary: for real enthusiasts who want much more than just finding local shows.
Last.fm is a great service for listening and discovering music, but did you know you can also use it to find local shows? Just enter your location and date, and off you go. There’s not much information included, but just enough for you to find the show if you want to go. You can browse deeper into Last.fm’s database, and read more about the band and the venue. A nice feature is the ability to filter your search by music genre. This way you can focus on the type of music you like best, without having to focus on a specific artists or band.
Summary: minimalistic and informative; great if you’re using Last.fm for music anyway.
So there are no excuses when it comes to finding live shows. The information is there, the websites work great, and there are some very affordable shows to be found. To celebrate all I’ve learned while writing this post, I’ve decided to actually go to a show myself, by one of my favorite artists. Will I actually do it? Ask me after October 15, when I should be in Toronto, listening to the awesome Ben Folds! A show I just found while writing this post.
What’s your favorite way to find live gigs in your area? Are there any cool services I missed? Did these websites inspire you to get off the chair and go to a concert? Tell us all in the comments!
Image credit: live concert image via Shutterstock
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