Birmingham, AL is a southern city most famous for it’s role in the 1960s civil rights movement. There’s more to this city than the past. There’s a vibrant and diverse community and many entertainment options including plenty of chances to catch great live music. There’s more to music in Alabama than simply Lynard Skynard. Blues, bluegrass, jazz, rock, southern rock, classical. You name it, you can probably find it somewhere in the “magic city” of Birmingham.
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex has a Concert Hall (2100 Richard Arrignton Blvd, 205-715-6000) which hosts concerts ranging from American Idol’s Fantasia to symphony orchestras and Tony-award winner Bernadette Peters. Musical theater fans will find many of the most popular shows stopping by the BJCC as part of it’s Broadway series.
Another large venue is the Alabama Theater ( 205-251-0418, 1817 Third Ave North) an historic downtown landmark built in 1927. The hall, with its ornate decorations and opera boxes, was recently restored to its original 20s style. It currently hosts a variety of events including movies (it was originally a movie theater. Some shows come accompanied by a Wurlitzer…) It’s also is home to live music including concerts by the Alabama Symphony and seasonal concerts from local classical groups and choirs.
If you’re more interested in catching a small live show any day of the week, there’s the Moonlight Café. The website for The Moonlight Café (628 Montgomery Hwy, 205.822.1400) says the place has ” been created to provide a deeply rewarding experience for performers and audience alike…. a warm, inviting, smoke-free listening room for up to 99 people”. Music found there includes “folk, roots, jazz, country, and blues artists…” Mixing local and touring acts, the Moonlight Café has several regularly scheduled events including an open jam type of night the first Wednesday of every month. The second Wednesday’s set aside for jazz. The third Thursday of the month is a bluegrass night. You get the point.
Would you like a drink with that live music? If so, you may also want to check out the Blue Monkey Lounge, and not just because it has a cool name. Primarily a martini bar, the lounge offers “speakeasy” décor which includes some jazz like any good speakeasy should. The Blue Monkey is located at 1318 Cobb Lane (phone: 205-933-9222) There’s plenty of music at Marty’s (1813 Tenth Court St, 205-939-0045 ) with live acts performing almost every night. Folk, rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass: all are welcome, according to the website (www.martysbar.com). There are also open mic nights where anyone is welcome, too, provided they sign up by 9PM for the 10:30 sets and are prepared to play for about half an hour. Marty’s also host songwriter showcases. There’s also the Oasis Bar (is there any city in America without an Oasis?) . This Southside locale (2807 7th Ave, 323-5538) has regular performances by a slate of diverse bands playing everything from southern rock-soul fusion to traditional oldies covers.
There’s also Zydeco (2001 15th Ave, 205-933-1032). With a 600 person capacity, this Birmingham venue offers music from local and touring bands of a variety of genres – rock, bluegrass, blues. There’s also a coffehouse series.