Since Lawrence is a city of night owls, we often hear the same-old complaint: “Why aren’t there any early shows?” The truth is, there are plenty of opportunities to hear music from local performers early in the evening. The Summer brings live music to the Downtown area via buskers, City Band concerts, and street parties. But the city’s pace slows down a bit in the winter. Here are three businesses that have recently opened their doors to regular live performances.
S&S Artisan Pub and Coffeehouse
2228 Iowa St.
The absolute mess that was the Phoggy Dog is long gone and in its place is an eye-catching and well-lit coffeehouse. The large space at 23rd and Iowa allows for plenty of seating, room for local artwork, and even a small stage for performers. You can find musicians playing there every weekend, generally starting at about 7:00 p.m. A monthly songwriters showcase has been drawing attention, with the next one scheduled for early March.
The next show at S&S is Pelligreeni and Black this Friday at 7:00.
Type of music: Folk, singer/songwriter
Vibe: A supportive atmosphere with an attentive audience
704 Massachusetts St.
Located just above Rudy’s Pizza is a cozy little space full of baked goods and happy faces. The space isn’t too small for a stage, and Crystal’s Spot fixed one up just at the halfway spot up the stairs. The cafe tends to open late, around 6pm or so. When we stopped by, just about every table was full with a very attentive audience watching the stage. Musicians and poets alike take turns at the mic, drowning out the busy atmosphere just outside their tall, sprawling windows.
What’s nice about Crystal’s Spot is that they’ll start their weekend events on Thursdays. This week, they’ll have jazz with Susan Hancock on Thursday, and R&B with Soul Tree on Friday starting at 7:00 p.m.
Type of music: Soul, Jazz, R&B, Blues
Vibe: Super underrated talent (from a genre different than what’s typically found in Downtown venues) with a very supportive audience paying attention every minute.
15 E 8th St.
Just above Henry’s coffee shop is a long-standing bar that by now, most Lawrencians are familiar with. The space is small, with dark hallways and twists and turns, dotted by a bit of decorative charm. In the winter, the fireplace is an easy attraction for those escaping the cold.
Over the past few weeks, local musician Colin Halliburton started up his 5×5 series. The show happens every month on a Monday, and features five acoustic performers from the area playing five songs each. The premise is enjoyable for both attendees and performers, as the musicians have to really narrow down their sets to their five best songs. Revelers enjoy casual drinks, a cozy atmospheres, and tales from the “stage” by the neon-lit window.
The events are never announced on the Henry’s Facebook page online, but I Heart Local Music lists them on the concert calendar along with all of the other music-related events happening at both traditional and nontraditional venues.
Type of music: Indie, folk, country, sad bastard music
Vibe: A dark and moody atmosphere with an audience eager to listen and interact with the performers.