*Anyone-can-play-there club
  Apollo's has been poorly managed booking wise (if they even actually book 
  anymore).  You could probably walk in today and get a show tonight.  One 
  minute owner Louie says he's not doing shows any more, the next minute 
  there's the semblance of a band name on the Marquee.  Being on the edge of 
  South Campus and Chittenden, it can be scary area to go to.  I believe 
  Chittenden is actually the sound a rifle makes when ya empty out the shells. 
  4 or 5 years ago, the place was a little more organized and even had a few 
  good shows -- it looks to be heading that way again. - Joel

Bernie's Bagels and Deli/The Distillery
 *Pseudo-Hippie eatery and bar, High Street and 16th Avenue
  Specializing in mostly hardcore, grunge and some of that crummy hippie shit, 
  Bernie's has been steadfast and strong in supporting local bands.  Some of 
  the classic bands to checkout in this venue are Pet UFO, Gunshy Ministers, 
  Girly Machine, and Econothugs.  The venue is dark, seedy and has a terrible 
  sound system; what more could you ask for?  Also, the Distillery has a 
  fantastic kosher style deli where you can get treats on Styrofoam plates and 
  the bar boasts one of the best beer selections in the the city (imports from 
  places where I don't know that they really make beer, but what do I know?)  

  If you happen to be a band person interested in booking time at Bernie's, 
  please do!  Bernie's also brings in out of town bands, but you might want to 
  get in touch with someone in the city to help with posting flyers for you.  
  I'm sure that you are well aware of the advertising situation for most 
  "underground" shows.  And be prepared for a good crowd if you get on a good 
  ticket.  Cowlumbus band fans are fierce and loyal.  You will find people 
  friendly and ready to listen, so don't let us down.  Oh, but if you aren't a 
  band person, please come anyway and join in the fun of a great show with fun 
  fans.  You must remember to yell Freebird a lot. - Mary-Margaret Faith

 *Best (cheap) musical variety/Worst sound system/Most comfortable hangout
  So there's this bagel/deli place with cool music and a sporadic sound 
  system.  I call it Burnie's.  Some employees call it Burn-outs -- but just in
  fun, kinda.  Punk, blues, pop, soul, R & B, acoustic, jazz and just about any
  other genre of "rock" that isn't too MIDI or metal, is featured here all the 
  time.  People sometimes complain about the food prices and the smell.  Use a 
  coupon! (For the food I mean.)  The Distillery also has one of the biggest 
  selections of beer in town -- and a decent liquor shelf.  The focus is local 
  and cheap music-wise but, hey, Beck played there! - Joel

Cafe Ashtray (CLOSED)
 *Experimental Performance Space, Acme Art Company, 737 North High Street
  First off, admissions of bias: I used to run and book Cafe Ashtray. I had an 
  utterly fantastic time doing it, too. Ashtray took place in the basement of 
  Acme every Friday night for a couple years. It was always a small thing, 
  maybe a dozen or two people. You didn't want it to get crowded either, since 
  it was difficult fitting more than 50 into the space. Initially some beer was
  sold, but it was normally a BYOB affair.

  Ashtray was, in my mind and others, legendary. We had all ends of things come
  through -- performance art, experimental bands, staged plays, spoken word, 
  theme events, and much more. Ashtray was known for the place to see the 
  weirdest stuff every week; the secret stash of things not highbrow enough for
  The Wexner Center and not beer-brow enough for Stache's.

  Goblinhood read tarot cards while you waited. Angel Dust 216 came from
  Springfield to perform amazing analog electronic music. A local guy sliced 
  himself up live. Gaga debuted playing 2-foot circular saw blades.  MelloDeath
  debuted playing lounge versions of alternative hits. Body Release turned it 
  into a techno haven; Jim Greenwood turned it into a curtained stage for The 
  Importance of Being Earnest. Acme turned a few dollars richer, sometimes. I 
  usually turned in after about 1am.

  Alas, Cafe Ashtray met its death when the board of Acme bowed to landlord 
  threats against use of the basement for public functions, since it was not up
  to code. It may live again someday, somewhere... perhaps Acme again, when it 
  changes locations. But for now, it remains a fond memory. - Mark G. 

 *Basement experiment in sound, electronics, art, performance
  I only went once or twice, but it was a small basement with a few rows of 
  couches/pews/chairs and a storage area for BYOB-type items.  Performances 
  were commonly intro'd/preceded by Goblinhood.  (A whiny masked thing who 
  always seems to go on to long -- I don't think I'll ever be anything but 
  annoyed by him/her/it.) The shows were usually electronic music in nature 
  (techno, industrial, ambient, experimental ...) with the occasional reading/ 
  performance art/movement piece.  A bigger place would have been nice. - Joel

 *Reggae, psychedelia and alternative pop focus
  There was a time when the Chelsie's was very conducive and supportive of more
  glam rock type stuff.  That seems to have faded into a more psychedelic/  
  reggae thing, with some classic/alternative pop/punk rock still making 
  regular showings.  There's even a plan to do more national shows. Expect the 
  reggae to slow down when/if the new Skankland opens.  - Joel 

Common Grounds
 *Unplugged attitude, Corner of Hudson and Indianola Avenues
  On the corner of Hudson and Indianola, one will find Common Grounds Coffee 
  House.  In this precarious location, a coffee house seems out of place, but 
  the owners have been doing a good job of keeping things going.  Although the 
  coffee here is over-priced and not very good at all, Common Grounds does hold
  a decent open mic night on Wednesdays and also has a good variety of live 
  entertainment ranging from Rock-a-Billy to Celtic. Guest poets often read 
  here while on their travels and the bookings tend to be rather worth checking
  out.  Unfortunately,in addition to the coffee quite frankly, sucking, the 
  owners and regulars have a sort of unfriendly attitude toward "outsiders" and
  I always get the impression that they would prefer to own a private club.  
  The decor is laid back kitchenish and they do have a really cool lamp that I 
  would love to own, but....

  I would only recommend hanging out in Common Grounds if you don't want coffee
  and there is an act you would like to see. Sorry. - Mary-Margaret Faith

Freak'n Pizza (CLOSED)
 *Used to be the coolest place to catch shows:
  ("home of the Gothic bikini oven burn," according to Ron House a few years 
  ago). By the way, any idea what happened to Kirby? One day I'm talking about 
  doing a show with him in the near future, the next there's no answer. Then I 
  drive by and it's locked up good. Damn. Kirby was the best guy to deal with 
  about playing shows. - JD Kimple

 *Pizza and Punk Rock at High Street and Chittenden
  Ironically, Freak'n was opened and run by a guy I went to college with in
  Computer Science -- Kirby was his name. Kirby shirked his technical knowledge
  and decided he liked pizza better. And thus, Freak'n was born.  But Kirby 
  didn't stop there: He went and got Stache's old sound system, a stage, and 
  started a punk performance area in the side room.

  For a year and a half or two, Freak'n sported punk shows that would've gone 
  nowhere else. Punk bands from everywhere flocked, numerous local bands played
  there (myself included). The pizza wasn't good, but nobody said anything -- 
  everyone was glad just to have the place there.

  Freak'n finally closed its doors sometime during the summer of 1994. I 
  haven't seen him since to find out what the story is, but the location was 
  prime and he probably couldn't handle the rent. Too bad; we'll all miss the 
  place. It's hard to find a punk-oriented place to eat, y'know. - Mark G. 
 *Hardcore/Straight-edge/Young audience pizza club gone under
  Freak'n was a weird place to go or play, but the sound was good.  Next to the
  South Campus strip (lots-o stupid, loud, annoying, violent drunks), it was 
  away from the calmer live music bars up north.  There was no liquor, only 
  beer, at Freak'n -- so lot's of drinkin music fans avoided the place.  But 
  the owner/operator, Kirby, was easy to work with.  And it was about the only 
  outlet for young fans and bands to go without getting hassled about their age
  and drinking.  Instead the kids hassled old guys like me. :-(  - Joel

Idiot Boy
 *Hip-Hop & yuh don't stop, Just North of Lane Avenue and High Street
  Idiot Boy coffee house is a strange little joe joint located in the north 
  campus area of OSU right off the corner of Lane Ave.  Owned by a couple of
  misplaced California guys who didn't deal well with their first winter here 
  in Columbus, Idiot Boy has a different sort of atmosphere and some damn good 
  coffee.  The decor is more upscale thrift store furniture, many antique sofas
  and an enormous dining table.  The coffee is all California beans flown in 
  which is very special as most of the coffee houses in Columbus get their 
  coffee from Stauf's in Grandview (a suburb of Columbus). The atmosphere at 
  Idiot Boy is punctuated by the constant blaring hip-hop music, to which I am 
  allergic, but others may love.  Of course, the place is crammed with suburban
  white kids who want to be hip-hop, but during afternoons, you can find an 
  empty sofa and stretch out with a good book or play chess with one of the 
  regulars or owners.

  All in all, Idiot Boy is a great experience (sorry, I really hate hip-hop)
  and for the serious coffee drinker, I highly recommend trying it out. 
  There is not much else to eat or drink there, but leave your non-coffee
  pals at home with their paltry wimp drinks and gear up for good stuff.
  - Mary-Margaret Faith

 *Cafeteria-style coffee shop, 4th Avenue and High Street
  Luna Coffee shop is a delightful place to spend an evening or a rainy 
  afternoon (if she's open.)  Located on the north end of Columbus' Short North
  area on High Street between 4th and 5th Aves., Luna has a casual hip that 
  boasts a coffee drinkin' poetry writin', pool playin' crowd. Friday nights 
  hop at Luna with their open mic readings which include poetry, music, some 
  performance art and the occasional sing along depending on who has shown up. 
  The owner, Max and her assistants are friendly, warm and down to earth in 
  spite of a tendency towards grunge/hippiness.

  The coffee at Luna is also fairly palatable and a selection of teas and 
  juices and other drink delights are available for our non-java pals.  With 
  two large rooms, each equipped with a pool table, there is room to spread out
  and relax, especially on the many sofas and arm chairs.  The overall decor of
  Luna looks sorta like somebody's basement recreation room that was handed 
  over to the kids, but the charm of the place makes it easy to hang out and 
  talk or make fun of bad poets.  Parking is also ample and the prices are 
  cheap! - Mary-Margaret Faith

The Newport
 *Big-time concert hall, North High Street, between 12th and 13th Avenues
  This is a large venue, with a capacity of about 2,500 (when the fire marshal 
  is looking). They rarely reach this, which is fortunate because it's not one 
  of the best places for live shows... though it's not bad either.

  With a capacity like that, the shows will be larger ones, usually college 
  oriented. Expect to see bands like Gwar, The Dead Milkmen, A Tribe Called 
  Quest, Pop Will Eat Itself, and other big name, non-mainstream acts. Like 
  most large venues, the drinks are weak and the bouncers are non-human. They 
  also have a Subway booth inside, which charges airport prices for food. And 
  like an airport, any band you see there will have no other choice for a place
  of this size to play in Columbus.

  Their show schedule is sparse -- maybe two shows a week average -- but in a 
  way, I sympathize with them. Although there are plenty of college record 
  stores, there's no radio stations on which to hear the bands playing there...
  hence, the last time I saw Pop Will Eat Itself there, only 200 people showed 
  up. Still, I've seen some monster shows there that'll live long in my memory:
  Butthole Surfers at their peak, Lush, and the Skinny Puppy show where the 
  cops lined up to tear gas the exiting crowd. - Mark G.

 *Big alternative acts and small major acts
  So this is for the shows with under 3000 patrons and all those TicketMaster 
  hassles.  Few people say nice things about the bouncers, and the fact that 
  they have so many turns me off.  The sound's usually O.K. to great, but the 
  food and drinks are priced waaaay high.  They are starting up a dance club 
  thing again, this time on Fridays with a Disco/80's theme. - Joel

Ruby Tuesday
 *70's art-deco cheese in a live club/bar
  I think Ruby is under relatively new booking management, but it ain't changed
  much.  A lot of bands stuck in the 70's whether they like it or not -- 
  whether the try it or not.  It reminds me of all those places we went to in 
  High School or before (when classic rock was the only cool thing to like) 
  trying to pretend we belonged.  The sound system seems to be very durable and
  stable, but ya have to deal with getting yer own mixing board. - Joel

Stache's [And Little Brother's]
 *Appalachian Punk and Local Rock Bar, 2404 N. High Street
  Stache's slogan is "Ya Been There" and then they list all of the people who 
  have been there.  The list is impressive as is the dedication of owner Dan 
  Dugan.  From Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds to Cocteau Twins; Nirvana to Lord 
  Burger (what, never heard of 'em?)  Stache's is the place where the true 
  underground has played in Columbus before they became popular, before they 
  were at Lollapoloser.  Stache's also hosts a plethora of Celtic musicians, 
  spoken word performances, benefits for everything, lectures by anti-racist 
  leaders and they even have a woman running sound (makes my heart warm as I 
  used to run sound and things like that are hard to do without a penis!)  

  In Stache's you will expect more of those wacky band fans out to yell insults
  at their favorite local rock stars or to mosh in front of (or on) the stage. 
  Local people such as Evolution Control Committee, Martyr Colony, Pet UFO, New
  Bomb Turks, etc. have and always will play at Stache's.  If you are driving 
  up High Street north of OSU, slow down when you see Monkey's Retreat (another
  cool store) and check the "marquis" over the door of Stache's.  Find anything
  good?  Park, go in and pay about a buck per band, get yourself the 
  traditional Rolling Rock and have a damn good time.  If you don't, you suck. 
  Red Hot, Punk Rock! - Mary-Margaret Faith

 *Small next big things/More established & persistent locals/Best live sound
  Some of the best, most unique, most experimental, most hip, most up-and-
  coming, most interesting, most cutting edge and most varied music in town. 
  Nightly music from jazz and folk to rock and punk.  Even some industrial, 
  performance art and Celtic music thrown in on occasion. The sound system is 
  perty sturdy; and the regular soundpersons keep it that way. Few people take 
  advantage of the bar during the day, but it is open.  It's the big live music
  club in town to scenesters who can justify the cover -- otherwise we tend 
  toward Bernie's, Larry's or someone's home.  - Joel

Wexner Center for the Arts
 *An all-in-one arts complex I work at
  If ya like architecture, love or hate the building.  If ya like modern art 
  museums, it's got galleries.  If ya like alternative/documentary/history film
  and video stuff. it's got a theater.  And if ya like live music, dance and 
  performance art, it's got several performing spaces.  Mershon is for big (up 
  to 3064) dance and music shows.  The Performance Space is for small, experi-
  mental performance art, music and dance.  Weigel is for mid-sized music.  
  Several big names in modern dance come through each year -- most with short 
  residencies at OSU/Wexner.  Hot modern jazz, string ensembles, experimental 
  music and controversial performance art are always part of the season too.  A
  recommendation:  If ya wanna see something different, unpredictable or 
  unexpected, go to any Performance Space event.  If we can just lower the 
  pretension and the buildings obstacles, we'd have a lot more fun. - Joel

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