Reviewing the best concert venues in St. Louis.
Written by Alex Wilking
The lights go down, smoke fills the room and the band comes on stage. But their first song is muddled by the patchy sound system, the audience is uncomfortable and the vague smell of urine resonates throughout the room. A concert experience can quickly fall to shambles if the venue isn’t up to par. There are many places around St. Louis where shows can be held, but here are three venues to look out for.
Perhaps the most quality venue in the St. Louis area is The Pageant, located in the Delmar Loop. This venue offers a great open area right in front of the stage, with seated areas and a balcony section behind it. There’s also a full bar, but the venue is for all ages (with a surcharge). The sound system is clear and there’s plenty of room. Not to mention The Pageant’s location puts it in a great area to explore and shop around before the show. The only complaint with this venue is the price of tickets, which can be upwards of $40 depending on the band that is playing.
Located in The Grove, The Demo is a great venue for small and local bands. It’s connected to the Atomic Cowboy bar, so those 21 and over will enjoy the ease of shifting between the two. However, most shows are for all ages. This venue is great for students at Webster in a band looking to play shows locally. The Demo is tight, up-close, and very intimate because of its size. Tickets for shows here are usually quite cheap, averaging between $5 and $15 on most occasions. For personal and smaller shows, The Demo is the place to be.
On the subject of smaller venues, The Firebird, located off Olive Street, is much like The Demo in terms of size and ticket prices. The Firebird is slightly larger and the sound system is of a much higher quality. Not to mention the space in front of the stage is large, despite the venue’s small size. Yet what really separates this venue from The Demo is that better known bands will play here, as opposed to more local groups. Coupled with its tight audience space, this can create very hectic and energetic shows for popular bands.