What band/musician did you see in a small venue before they were a big deal?

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Mine was my first show ever. I saw L7 at Shitty Gardens in NJ. Was great. Even got my first t-shirt that was later banned from high school. 🙂 I don’t know which member, but one of them stepped on my friend’s hand and wouldn’t let him move. Jon Stewart might been working there too. He did work there around that time.

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17 Comments on "What band/musician did you see in a small venue before they were a big deal?"

  1. I got to see Imagine Dragons at a very small venue in Montreal, almost a year before they signed onto their first festival in Montreal funny enough went to both and he referenced that show they did in Montreal and how funny it is that the last time they were here they played for 50-75 people, now playing for thousands at Osheaga. Saw Mumford and Sons in 2010 and were blown away and quickly fell in love with them. Got a lot of shit for liking that “garbage” a few years later i got the “Ever heard of this band called Mumford and Sons?” from those same assholes.

  2. I saw Nirvana play a small club called Sir Henry’s in Cork, Ireland in 1991 just before Nevermind was released. Had never heard of them before, only went because they were supporting Sonic Youth who I was well into at the time. Maybe 350-400 people there, all for Sonic Youth. I can remember thinking yeah, these lads aren’t bad. Fun fact, it was the first time Teen Spirit was played live in Europe.

  3. My wife and I saw Coldplay at the 9:30 club in DC on their first tour. While I do not care for them so much now it was a fantastic show and they where absolutely stoked to be there.

  4. Jonathan Batiste, the jazz pianist on Late Show with Steven Colbert. Small theater! Really fun show with his band, he did a lot of melodica work where he could get up and walk around on stage. Could never tell which direction he would go next. Took something a simple quote at the end of one solo like “The Entertainer” and turned it into a full-fledged song. The purists in the audience didn’t like the show, thought it was too gimmicky. I liked it, had a ton of fun.

    This was maybe 10 years ago.

  5. I saw Portugal the Man back before they were Portugal the Man. I saw thier previous band called Anatomy of a Ghost, open for Bear vs Shark, someone or other, and Bane. They were amazing, and I struck up a conversation with the singer after their set, to the maybe 12 people in the venue.

    A couple years later He and the bass player had Portugal the Man going and I saw them again. This time to Maybe 60 people. Later that year, again to a full small venue. Few hundred or so.

    They earned their fame, for sure.

  6. Mastodon. Saw them about a month before Leviathan came out in a little club with about 30 other people in it. I had never heard their music, went with a buddy who was a fan.

  7. I’ve seen BB King, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck at a tiny blues bar after they played the local stadium earlier that night. Well after they were big deals. Was a tiny ~200 capacity bar that’s been around for 50 years or so. For many years it was *the* place for the after party for big blues gigs. They’d just sit in with whatever band was scheduled that night.

    I’ve heard younger guys like Gary Clark Jr or John Mayer have dropped by in recent years, but I’ve moved across the country.

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