Sam Brabbins, local musician and Edmonton enthusiast, shares his take on the best venues to get a taste of Edmonton's booming music scene.
I believe an integral part of visiting any city is to get out and experience the culture, and what better way to do that than to take in some live music! Edmonton is home to some amazing musicians and some equally impressive music venues. Here's a short list of my favourite spots in the city that are absolute musts to check out this summer.
Located downtown on Jasper Ave, The Needle is Edmonton’s newest (and one of its finest) music venues. Since its opening earlier this year, it has quickly become the most popular venue to play in the city. Live music happens seven nights a week. What I love about this place is that there is no genre that is off limits here. From Canadian rock bands like Sloan, to local country artists like Lucette, every night brings a new and exciting performance. With a capacity of over 400 people, there’s plenty of room for everyone at The Needle, no matter what day of the week.
10524 Jasper Ave
Age: restriction varies
Hidden slightly off the main road near downtown on the corner of 114st and 106ave is one of my favourite venues in the city, as both a spectator and a performer. The Mercury Room is an unsuspecting venue to those who are unfamiliar. It's not an overly large room, but can still house around 100 people. The shows here are much like The Needle, in that every night is something different. From folk, to rock, to blues and hip-hop, to CCMA award winning guitarist Ryan Davidson, this venue will support it all. Music shows vary during the week, so be sure to check out the website or Vue Weekly to see who’s playing next. The Mercury Room also features a vegan menu and a large variety of craft beers, perfect for thirsty music lovers.
Age: restriction varies
As its name suggests, Blues On Whyte is a blues club on Whyte Avenue! With live music seven nights a week, and some of the best names in the business passing through, it is definitely a venue you need to visit in Edmonton. If you happen to be in town on July 3rd this summer, then you are in for a real treat. The annual Blues On Whyte Block Party is taking place from 10am-11pm. Whyte ave is closed to traffic and spectators can enjoy an entire day of live music, with a pancake breakfast, street vendors and food trucks.
When it comes to hidden gems in Edmonton, The Blue Chair Café hits home. The Café finds its home situated in a small outlet hidden from major traffic areas on 76 ave and 96 st. Visitors are welcomed into a laid back café setting offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a good variety of music throughout the week. The music leans towards a more ‘easy listening’ to go along with the mood of the café. Listeners can enjoy blues, bluegrass, country, folk, and jazz among other genres. Make sure to take note of the blue chair hanging over top the stage when you first arrive!
Age: all ages