With a rich and thriving music scene, Indianapolis is becoming an encouraging community for artists looking to break into the scene.
While there are larger venues, like the Old National Center and the TCU Amphitheater, for larger acts, independent and local artists have found spaces to share their talents. These spaces — each with their own niche, from country and rock to cabaret and burlesque — have something for anyone who wants to see live music in Indianapolis theaters and venues.
Here are six local places where you can find your new favorite artist.
Living room 8 seconds
111 N. Lynhurst Drive. 317-486-1569,8secondsaloon.net
Named after the bull riding qualifying time, Garden City’s 8 Seconds Saloon has hosted a mix of local and nationally renowned country stars since opening in 1999.
General manager Bill Stamper said the saloon opened during the line dancing craze, but the bar now operates more like a live music venue 8-9 months a year.
With a catalog of alumni performers, from Grammy-winning stars Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert to Indiana-based artists Tyler Poe and the Indy Annies, the saloon hosts both concerts and dance parties that are sure to come. to thrill you.
Stamper said the show has an upbeat and diverse environment, noting that everyone is welcome, regardless of age, race or lifestyle.
“For us, the idea is to focus on customer service, which is a testament to why we’re still here 23 years later,” he said.
If you feel like dancing, 8 Seconds has “the largest dance floor in the Midwest,” with more than 3,000 square feet of open space, Stamper said.
The 8 Seconds Saloon is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
924 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite B. 317-275-1169,lecabaret.org
It was Liza Minnelli who sang it the best: “Life is a cabaret, old friend, so come to the Cabaret.”
The Cabaret, one of Indy’s only arts organizations dedicated to its titular performance style, sought to bring the metropolitan art form of cabaret to the Midwest. Since its revamp in 2009, the St. Joseph spot has hosted local cabaret connoisseurs and national icons, like “Saturday Night Live” alum Ana Gasteyer.
Cabaret is a style of performance, not a genre of music, said communications and marketing manager Britnee King. Thus, the venue offers a plethora of different musical styles, including jazz and Broadway.
“The art of cabaret is meant to be an intimate feeling and a setting that feels less like a concert and more like someone performing right in your living room,” King said.
Cabaret does just that, placing the audience close to the performers so that the whole show feels more personal than the typical concert experience.
In addition to ticketed events for big-name cabaret performers, The Cabaret is hosting free shows at The Alley, an outdoor community space that just wrapped up its second season, which King says looks a lot like one big outdoor party. This season included performances from Marrialle Sellars, an Indy-raised R&B artist and former “American Idol” semi-finalist.
Coming :The Cabaret will host Santino Fontana in a big fall season of Broadway and jazz stars
Meet Marialle:The former ‘American Idol’ contestant has developed her sound and her confidence
1043 Virginia Ave, Suite 4. 317-986-7100, hifiindy.com
Located in the Murphy Arts Building in Fountain Square, Indianapolis HI-FI is a prime venue for intimate concerts with artists from Indiana and beyond.
“We’re just a local, independent business,” said Vice President of Operations Chelsea Sanderson. “We started in our landlord’s bedroom about ten years ago and have just grown with local support.”
HI-FI, a 400-capacity venue, typically hosts several independent artists per week, showcasing a variety of genres – rock, metal, blues, funk, rap and experimental music, to name a few – in turn.
For something more intimate, the Lo-Fi Lounge, HI-FI’s singer-songwriter showcase, hosted artists like Sturgill Simpson and Walk The Moon before fame, and provides a stage for local artists and promising.
Additionally, there is a 900-capacity outdoor venue, the HI-FI Annex, behind the Murphy Arts Building. Sanderson said the appendix was initially a COVID-19 hub, but three years later it’s still going strong with nationally acclaimed bands like Animal Collective and The Breeders, as well as Midwestern bands like Fat Pockets and Hot. Mulligan, who should take the schedule. stage this summer.
The task of finding backing artists for the biggest names to grace the HI-FI and Annex stages falls to the venue, so Sanderson said they are constantly looking for local artists to open their shows.
If you can’t make a show but still want to see a performance, you can purchase a streaming ticket to watch from the comfort of your own home.
The Inn of Melody
3826 N. Illinois St. 317-923-4707, melodyindy.com
Need an excuse to headbang? Look no further than the historic Melody Inn in Butler-Tarkington, home to Punk Rock night every Saturday.
The Melody Inn has seen many changes since it opened in 1935, co-owner David Brown said. It started out as a piano bar before turning into a restaurant in the 1970s. Then, in the 1990s, it changed once again – this time as a punk rock venue.
According to its website, Punk Rock Night began in October 2000 to help make Indianapolis a music destination, seeking to bring local and national tours together on one stage to celebrate punk rock. Today, Punk Rock Night is the longest running weekly punk showcase in the world.
Almost every other night at the Melody Inn, a new roster of artists from various genres is ready to take the stage. Artists like Richie Ramone and Blue Öyster Cult founding member Albert Bouchard are among the legends who graced The Mel’s stage, but PRN organizer Rich Barker said they were trying to book one or two local artists at each show.
Barker said the Melody Inn is the perfect venue to host Punk Rock Night, which he says is a diverse, welcoming and friendly space.
“You feel like home,” Barker said. “You feel like you’re in a rock ‘n’ rock, hard rock, punk rock venue.”
6259 N. College Avenue. 317-259-7029, thevogue.com
What do Snoop Dogg, Tori Amos and Johnny Cash have in common? They all played a gig at Vogue, Broad Ripple’s go-to concert venue.
Opened as a movie theater in 1938, The Vogue transformed into a nightclub and music venue in the 70s and has since hosted hundreds of artists, both mainstream and independent.
Owner Eric Tobias said the venue caters to three different artists: the national touring act that plays in all major markets, up-and-coming and national DJs, and local artists.
In addition to concerts, The Vogue has hosted dance parties, silent discos and artist theme nights, but Tobias said the venue’s events are 75% performance and 25% dance parties.
“For us, everything is music,” Tobias said.
The Vogue recently concluded the second year of its outdoor summer concert series, Rock the Ruins. Across 15 shows featuring artists like Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco and Jenny Lewis, Tobias said more than 30,000 people came to Holliday Park to listen to live music in the summer heat.
If your concert needs are still unmet, Tobias said The Vogue is now booking shows at the Toby Theater in Newfields, with alt-country band Watkins Family Hour set to open the stage in September.
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The White Rabbit Cabaret
1116 Prospect St. 317-686-9550, whiterabbitcabaret.com
Frequented by artists from all disciplines, The White Rabbit Cabaret is always on the move.
The Fountain Square Entertainment Center not only features local and national musicians, but also dance, comedy and self-produced shows, with something happening nearly five nights a week.
Only identifiable from the outside by a neon sign, a white rabbit, there is no spelling of what is behind the doors of the venue.
“Once you get through those tinted windows, it’s a whole different experience,” co-owner Debra Silveus McGaha said.
Inside, McGaha said they tried to mimic the feeling of being in a cabaret. The stage is large for the space and the tables are circular and close to the ground, cultivating a sense of intimacy between performer and audience. McGaha said space takes one back in time.
After:A peek behind the curtain: The French Connection burlesque and variety show at the White Rabbit
The talent roster has changed since the White Rabbit opened 12 years ago when it focused on professional dance. Now, from slapstick and drag performances to quirky game shows that McGaha deemed goofy and unpredictable, The White Rabbit is the place to try if you want to experience something new.
“Some shows can be hard to explain,” McGaha said, “but once you get there and see it, it’s a fun experience.”
You can contact Pulliam Fellow Griffin Wiles at GWiles@gannett.com or on Twitter at @griffinwiles.