New York is the place to be for established and up and coming performers alike. Seeing your favorite actor in a Broadway show, or your favorite band at the Gramercy Theater is exciting. Yet there is something very exhilarating and distinctly “New York” about hearing an unknown and getting that feeling you just saw the next big thing before they made it. You can go uptown or you can go downtown. Either way, you’re bound to find some amazing entertainment.
The famous Apollo Theater deserves a visit from every New Yorker, especially all music aficionados. Amateur Night at the Apollo not only makes for a raucous show, but it is an event deeply seeded in tradition. Amateur night started in 1934 and one of the first winners of the contest was Ella Fitzgerald. The Apollo is great because they encourage the audience to be vocal and boo or cheer depending on how much they like the performer. It’s a fun night that you can’t get anywhere else. Plus it’s only about $20 for a ticket.
If blues-y rock is more your style, I recommend The Open Mic Downstairs. Located under the St. Marks Theater in the heart of the East Village this tiny theater space is packed every Tuesday night at 9 by performers as well as people who come just to hear the talented musicians, poets, and comedians. The vibe is chill and supportive and the talent is always impressive. The only caveat: it goes until 2 am. I personally leave around 11:30 but would definitely stay longer if I didn’t have a Wednesday morning class. Oh yeah, the cover is only $3.