Boston has a thriving music community with tons of shows and opportunities for artists at a range of levels. In order to get started, the bookers, press, and fellow musicians need to get to know you. These venues are good places to break in if you're new on the scene.
Berklee Performance Center: Play your cards right and you'll end up on the college's biggest stage, possibly backing up a renowned artist like Philip Bailey or Paula Cole.
Caf Shows: Where else can you see a show in your pajamas? After hours, Berklee's cafeteria features great student bands from all genres. Admission only with Berklee ID.
The Red Room at Cafe 939: Berklee's sparkling new all-ages venue (and place to grab lunch) offers shows, open mic nights, and jam sessions.
Boston-Area Coffeehouse Association: The suburbs have countless all-ages coffeehouses whose organizers keep an eye out for new talent. One venue close to home is the Nameless Coffeehouse in Harvard Square.
Burren: A haunt for Irish traditional musicians
Cantab Lounge: This Cambridge dive offers a folk open mic on Monday and the most popular bluegrass jam/show in town Tuesdays.
Club Passim: This birthplace of the contemporary American folk scene hosts all-ages open mics on Tuesdays.
Toad: This cozy, no-cover venue has live music every night... which means a lot of slots to fill. It's heavy on roots-rock.
Beehive: This sophisticated downtown club has rapidly become a favored haunt of Berklee musicians.
Slade's Bar: Weekend afternoon jam sessions
Wally's Jazz Cafe: The storied Sunday afternoon jam sessions are intense. Expect to be tested.
Middle East Corner: A starter option at the area's largest independent venue, you may also be able to get gigs at the Upstairs stage.
O'Brien's Pub: Bands that play this venue have a shot at moving up to its larger sister club down the street, Great Scott.
PA's Lounge: Geographically and musically a little off the beaten track—noise, psych-folk, twee....