The Wolf: A Student’s guide to Uptown music venues

Loyola+sophomore+Zach+Smallman+performs+at+Gasa+Gasa.+His+performance+was+on+Valentine%27s+Day.+Photo+credit%3A+Michael+Bauer

Loyola sophomore Zach Smallman performs at Gasa Gasa. His performance was on Valentine's Day. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

Catie Sanders

If you’ve ever spent a sunny spring day strolling down the streets of New Orleans, you know the city is never without a soundtrack. Music will pour out from the open doors of every little shop you pass and from the windows of each car that cruises by. The Crescent City is home to almost 100 music clubs, playing everything from jazz to R&B to techno. For Uptown college students looking to get their music fill, five of those venues are located right outside your door. Next Friday night, don’t trek to Frenchmen. Give these Uptown venues a listen first.

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Loyola sophomore Zach Smallman performs at Gasa Gasa. His performance was on Valentine's Day. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

Gasa Gasa

Conveniently located within walking distance of multiple pizza joints, Gasa Gasa calls the quiet street of Freret its home. Don’t let its impossible-to-miss, brightly-muraled walls fool you. Gasa’s the perfect low-key spot to stop in just to see what’s going on. And if on that particular night the music isn’t your vibe, tickets typically aren’t more than $10. So when you’re in the mood to hear some tunes, but don’t want to Uber across town or waste upwards of $30 to see a band you might not even like, Gasa’s a safe bet. On the downside, on account of its hole-in-the-wall status, more popular bands don’t frequent here.

Plus, if music isn’t your thing, the venue occasionally even has free movie screenings.

Tipitina’s

Tip’s is just about as homegrown as they come. Even more so now that the venue is run by house-band-turned-owners local jam-band Galactic. Boasting the largest capacity out of all the Uptown venues, Tiptina’s books the occasional high-profile traveling band. Still, the venue’s roots lie deep in New Orleans’ soil. To get a taste of what Tip’s is known for, their Homegrown Night is the place to start. Homegrown Night’s the easiest on your wallet, too, since the event is totally free. Just don’t immediately write off local, self-starter acts because you never know when you’ll discover a diamond in the rough that’s soon to be your new favorite band.

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Singer performs at Neutral Ground Coffeehouse. The venue is located on Danneel Street. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

Neutral Ground

If you’re looking for a concert with a jam-packed dance floor and wall-shaking bass, this probably isn’t the place for you. The Neutral Ground is the place to go if you’re craving an old-school, coffee shop kind of vibe. Especially since it is, in fact, primarily a coffee shop. One of the few places in the 21st century still upholding a vibrant open mic scene, this little coffee shop is as down-to-earth as they come. Also, it’s a not-for-profit venue that runs on volunteer staffers and local musicians. So, if you’re feeling like you’re in an altruistic mood, or that your karma could use a boost, the Neutral Ground is the place to be.

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Loyola junior Maya Stone performs at the Willow. Her performance was on Valentine's Day. Photo credit: Michael Bauer

The Willow

It almost feels wrong to classify The Willow as a music venue since it seems to function more so as an event hall. But, on the nights that the space isn’t rented out for an Uptowner’s 21st birthday bash, the venue hosts some pretty great theme nights. If you’re going to pop in on one of those themed nights, none have better energy than hip hop night. On the downside, there’s rarely a free show at The Willow, though cover fees can be as little as $5.