Part of the VCU College experience is seeing the city of Richmond and learning about what it has to offer. Richmond has a great music scene that caters to listeners of all genres. Both big-time bands and local jam sessions are featured at shows all over the city, so it’s important that music-loving VCU students know about the great venues around Richmond.
Located at 929 West Grace Street almost directly across from the campus technology store, Strange Matter is a great venue to see local bands and other relatively small artists. The venue features a small stage at the front with standing room and a few booths across from a bar. Strange Matter is unique in that the bar serves food (they have great fries!) and there is a selection of vintage video games in the back for just 25 cents a play. Ticket prices are generally $15 or less, so it is very affordable for students on a budget.
The Altria Theater
Built in 1927, The Altria Theater has been a home of entertainment for the city of Richmond for nearly one hundred years. Inside, the former Mosque Theater features It is located on North Laurel Street directly across from Monroe Park and just a block from Brandt/Rhoads Hall and Johnson Hall. The Altria Theater hosts various acts like hip-hop artists, orchestras, broadway shows, comedians, children’s shows, and much more. Ticket prices vary from show to show and depend on the seating that you choose, so there are several options for you to find the right price.
The Camel is a local bar located at 1621 West Broad Street. They offer a full-service American-style pub in the front room, and in the back room offer a stage for up-and-coming bands to perform. If there are students interested in forming their own band (of any kind), The Camel would be a great place to check out as a first-time venue. The staff is very friendly, and the venue is within reasonable walking distance from the Monroe Park Campus. Ticket prices are fairly low- usually less than $10.
Near the MCV Campus at 708 East Broad Street, The National is another historic venue in Richmond. It is the only surviving theater on a block formerly known as “Theater Row” and now features big-name stars and up-and-comers alike. In the recent past, The National has featured Walk the Moon, the Foo Fighters, Bleachers, Panic! at The Disco, Ben Folds, and The Front Bottoms. It is a general admission venue, so most of the room is standing. Ticket prices are generally anywhere from $15-$50 depending on the show.
Local House Shows
Look out for flyers about house shows in the area. Certain people that are heavily involved in the music scene in Richmond will occasionally host a band, or an entire line-up, at their home. Most house shows feature local up-and-coming bands and will only require a small donation of whatever you can offer to get in. These shows are great for students looking for a more social event, especially since many venues are within the radius of both VCU campuses.
Richmond is a fairly small city, but it offers a great music scene with shows and venues to please all kinds of people. The venues listed above are student favorites, but there are many others; so if nothing strikes you as interesting, it is worth trying to find others to indulge in the music of Richmond.