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Cheap Concert Venues Around Philadelphia

By Luke Field

It's very easy to spend a small fortune to see your favorite band these days. Ticket prices are skyrocketing and internet service fees are out of control. But if you are dead set on seeing Kenny Chesney, his $130 price tag is not going to stop you. For those of us with shallower pockets and more discerning tastes, there are plenty of great, affordable venues in Philadelphia that can fulfill all your live music needs.

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Photo Credit: Kung Fu Necktie

Kung Fu Necktie

1250 North Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 291-4919
Hours: Mon to Sun 5:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
Price: Average $8-$10
Website & Reviews

Kung Fu Necktie is a dive bar fan's dream. The bar is rather extensive with a great craft selection and PBR on tap, appealing to every taste. The performance area is very intimate and sometimes a bit cramped, but that just adds to the charm of the whole place. A wide array of local and national acts regularly play on their stage and with ticket prices averaging $8-$10, KFN is probably the most affordable place in the city to see great live music.

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Photo Credit: Johnny Brenda's

Johnny Brenda's

1201 N. Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-9684
Hours: Mon to Sun 11:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m.
Price: Free-$12
Website & Reviews

Johnny Brenda's has one of the more unique spaces in the city. Located on the second floor, there is ample space to watch the show, either at ground level or in the balcony. They bring in all sorts of acts, from the heaviest of the heavy to the hipster equivalent of Air Supply. The bar is eclectic and well staffed. If you arrive early, you can enjoy a dinner in their first floor before the show. You can plan your whole night just at Johnny Brenda's.

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Photo Credit: M Room

The M Room

15 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 739-5577
Hours: Mon to Fri 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., Sat to Sun 2:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.
Price: Average $10
Website & Reviews

The M Room rounds out the Northern Liberties/Fishtown cheap venue trifecta. The performance space has a smaller stage that you can get really close to, providing an intimate concert experience. They feature a lot of local acts and smaller national touring acts. In between sets, you can relax, recoup, and shoot some pool in the bar space that is separate from the performance space. Add in the reasonably priced menu, and The M Room is yet another great place to park yourself for an entire night.

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Photo Credit: First Unitarian Church

First Unitarian Church

2125 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-3980
Hours: Show times vary
Price: Average $10-$14
Website & Reviews

There are not many things cooler than rocking out in a church. Thanks to R5 productions, a DIY show promoter, First Unitarian has become the go-to place for cheap, all ages concerts in the city. Whether in the wood-paneled basement or upstairs in the actual sanctuary, "The Church" features an extremely intimate setting for bands that would normally perform nowhere else in the city. A show here is certainly a trip down memory lane for anyone who was involved in local, DIY music as a teen.

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Photo Credit: World Cafe Live

World Café Live

3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Hours: Mon to Sun 11:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.
Price: Average $25-$30
Website & Reviews

World Café Live certainly offers the most eclectic selection of any venue in the city; their monthly show schedule is a veritable United Nations of musical acts. Their tickets tend to be more expensive than the previous entries, but you really are paying for what you get. The performance space is impressive; the downstairs area comfortably holds 650 in a space specifically designed to maximize sound quality. And there is often ample seating, a rarity in most venues. Keep your eyes peeled for their frequent free noon shows.

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Photo Credit: The Trocadero

The Trocadero

1003 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-6888
Hours: Box Office: Mon to Fri 11:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sat 11:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Price: Average $10-$30
Website & Reviews

If you are looking for a more rowdy concert experience, The Trocadero is the place for you. Capacity is 1,200 for general admission and the shape lends itself to pretty intense moshpits. The Troc has a long history in Philadelphia and, as a result, looks very cool. The quality of the venue often attracts larger national and international acts. While this results in slightly higher ticket prices, it really is worth it to see some of your favorites. For the 21+ crowd, check out the balcony for an even better view.

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Photo Credit: Theater of the Living Arts

Theater of the Living Art

334 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Hours: Box Office: Mon to Sat 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Price: Average $15-$30

The TLA is very similar to the Trocadero in terms of size, price, and kinds of acts. However, the TLA may be the only place where you can see your favorite band while standing under a very large chandelier. Depending on the act, a show here is going to get rowdy and sweaty. If you can't handle the crowds, seek refuge in the balcony. While show conditions may not be ideal for the tamer audience member, one thing cannot be denied-the sound quality here is beyond reproach. On top of all this, the TLA is located on South Street which is a show in itself.

Have a favorite cheap concert venue? Share your thoughts!

Luke Field is a writer, comedian and office drone living in Center City. You can see him perform every month with The Philly Improv Theater.

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