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Rhode Island Concerts & Events


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With a modest population of just over one million and an area of just over 1,000 miles, Rhode Island is another small, East Coast state that packs a lot into a small space. Founded as a colony in 1636, Rhode Island has deep roots in the union, with patriotic songs such as “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” written by one of its residents. Look below to learn about concerts in Rhode Island today, from its venue variety, to its historical significance, to its value moving forward in music.

Rhode Island has a variety of venues that provide concerts on a regular basis.

The perfect accompaniment to a night out on the town, concerts are a vital part of a state’s night life. In Rhode Island, quality concert venues can be found from Newport to Providence. In Warren, Merienda Tapas, Cicchetti, and Wine Bar sustains patrons with casual Mediterranean cuisine and a full bar. On Saturdays, the cultural influence shines through with artists like guitarist Ron Murray at the helm. In Pawtucket, The Met has been welcoming national and local bands of all genres since its inception in 1975. Expect a classic, invigorating standing concert space where listeners can really jam out and focus on the music. In Providence, Rooftop brings a skyline view, energetic bar, and upscale lounge space with live music every night of the week.

Newport has one of the more impressive offerings in the state, with live shows a staple at dozens of venues all year long. The Fifth Element lines up artists Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Jimmy’s Saloon brings its Friday Night Live Music Series for indie rockers and Always Live Saturdays for eclectic souls and local favorites. Norey’s celebrated Thursdays with its Big Band Swingin’ Jazz Nights. In Newport alone, other concert destinations include: Jo’s American Bistro, Judge Roy Bean Saloon, Newport Grand Casino, Newport Blues Café, O’Brien’s Pub, One Pelham East, The Port Seafood Grille & Bar, Portsmouth Publick House, Saltwater at Newport Harbor, Sardella’s Italian Restaurant, Simone’s, Stiff Bar at Newport Marriott, Tavern on Broadway, and The Wharf Pub & Raw Bar.

Rhode Island caters to lovers of music history.

Known for one of the longest histories of the United States and renown antique industry, Rhode Island’s music history is as interesting as one would expect. To recognize this past, organizations like the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame collect, document, and share the state’s music and music artifacts. Other notable organizations include Rhode Island Rocks for live music and venue history in the 20th century, Rip It Up R.I. for info on Rhode Island garage rock and rock and roll bands of the 1960s, and The Music Museum of New England for music preservation from venues to artists.

For those seeking concerts today, these historical resources offer information on the past that makes the present a reality. Are you eager to see shows at venues that have been hosting rockers for seven decades? Are you curious to see which contemporary artists are welcomed by the keepers of Rhode Island’s music history? In many ways, Rhode Island appeals to notions of the past, and its music community is no exception.

Experiencing a lull relative to its dynamic music past, Rhode Island has an understated music community to slip into and support.

In the second half of the 20th century, Rhode Island’s music community was one of the most profound and influential on a national level. New, high-caliber, local bands were everywhere. Artists such as Saturday Night Live creator Charles Rocket and costume creator Bonita Flanders began their careers. Internationally respected instrumentalists such as Jack Moore (bass and drums), Rory McLeod (bass), Preston Hubbard (bass), and Chris Flory (guitar) began their performance careers. Furthermore, an explosion of nightclubs fueled the proliferation of live music in Rhode Island. Artsy, alternative publications sparked, capturing the essence of these developments in the arts and sharing entertainment opportunities with the wider community.

Today, despite a presence of great musicians and bands in Rhode Island, the music scene is not what it once was. With recent technological developments, recorded music often takes priority over live concerts to listeners. Beyond a core of fans and enthusiasts, the interest in concerts is not what it once was. This is a good thing for those interested in entering the scene for the first time or returning after an absence. Accessing incredible venues and skilled artists is accessible, affordable, and easy. Hear the throwback acoustic folk of Allysen Callery, the doom folk garage mayhem of Bloodpheasant, or the emotive Americana of Haunt the House. In a cut-throat business, Rhode Island gives listeners and performers an opportunity to enjoy the arts for the sake of the arts.

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