Best Of NYS 2018: Might Never Leave

Best Music Town, Best Music Venue and Best Shows Across The State

New York Only. That’s right – this all access pass explores the thriving music sub-cultures of New York State. We are submerged in, arguably, the most musically-rich and booming areas. It would only be appropriate to cap the Best Of series with a full fledged anthem – waving our NYS-Flag, with immense pride. These highlights hardly encompass our staff’s passion for all things music, because like our readers, we too are musicians and music-junkies, through and through. Strap-in for this wild Trip-acid-visor tour of our states thriving music towns and venues – along with the bands who invigorate them with sound.

Keep rocking out, exploring music and loving one-another this holiday season. Make sure to catch up with all of the Best Of series – and from our family to yours, thank you for supporting New York State Music.


From Eminem’s “Without Me,” (two Buffalo gals go round the outside) to the longest-serving music venue, Nietzsche’s. Buffalo is home to a plethora of venues including hot-spots; Sportsmen’s Tavern, Town Ballroom, Colored Musicians Club, various boutique concert-series and Buffalo Musicians Hall Of Fame. The city is packed with music – from classical to jazz and, of course, our free-wheeling mashup jam-bands featured on this series. Buffalo is thriving.

In 2018, Buffalo has seen anyone from John Medeski’s Mad Skillet, Tauk and Turkuaz to Everyone Orchestra and Funktional Flow. Buffalo hosts the boutique Cobblestone Live Festival isolated to bars and venues neighbouring Illinois and Columbia street, which was seen on our Best Of Festivals edition, yesterday.

Buffalo Iron Works

One vote shy from winning the best of crown for New York State’s favorite music venue, Buffalo Iron Works is a must visit. If you stumble upon it for a quite lunch or attack the stage for a weekend of live music, you will not be disappointed.  The venue was voted ‘Best in Buffalo’ last year by Buffalo Spree Awards. Iron Works is closing out the year with future dates featuring Canada’s After Funk – for a hyped James Brown Tribute, Buffalo Afrobeat Orchestra, Kung Fu and Doyle (ex-Misfits guitarist). The Venue is walking distance from the Key Bank Center, Lockhouse Distillery, Canalside and the metro station.


Albany packs a powerful punch. The state’s capitol is blooming with rich culture, which means, a vibrant music community. Music is the power to manipulate and supersede time, but with greater feeling. As one of the original thirteen colonies there is no telling the vast musical exchange throughout the centuries. Each moment is captured by sound and song, which our contemporary world must pay homage to. Just look at all of the great bands pouring out of Albany. The Low Beat, Jupiter Hall, The Hallow Bar + Kitchen and The Egg are just some of the spectacular venues that twine music throughout the city.

The Palace Theatre

 The Palace Theatre was voted Best Music Venue in all of New York State for 2018 by NYS staff. As the name implies, the Palace meets and exceeds all of your expectations. The 1930’s built venue was originally a movie theatre and is now run by the city as a non-profit for music, plays, educational events and more. It is the beating heart. Plus, you can’t help but drool when you see your favorite band up in lights, spread across the breathtaking marquee. From Umphrey’s McGee to The Disco Biscuits, the Palace Theatre transforms the concert phenomenon. It blends popular music with the vast architecture and warm arms of the city.

The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester

Despite Port Chester having few votes for best music town, it’s evident the ones whom cast, placed their ballots for one reason: Capitol Theatre. Wedged between the southern tip of New York, Long Island, Connecticut and Northern Jersey, it is a jam-band magnet. The thriving seaport transforms when doors open and dead-heads roll into Garcia’s for a pre-celebratory drink. Shall we go? The Capitol Theatre is your gateway.

If you live within an hour of The Cap, consider yourself spoiled. Built in 1926, the Capitol Theatre began hosting Vaudeville shows and movies – long preceding its reputation as one of the best music venues. Since, music’s biggest names have paved way for the Capitol’s concrete-esteem: Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, BB King, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and Phil Lesh, among others. True legends – exceeding expectations and musicianship.

There was no common-weight for Best Shows Across The State  – lets be honest, you’re lying if you have only one best show. It’s impossible. The list had only one thing in common, New York State. The year has surpassed our expectations, but at least we now know where to find them in 2019. Buffalo, Buffalo Iron Works, Albany,  Palace Theatre and the Capitol Theatre are at the backbone of the best music around.

albanybuffalobuffalo iron worksCapitol Theatreport chesterthe palace theatre