Leave the bubble, find the hottest spots


illustration by Julia Poage

It’s that time again: Trinity University will host its annual Welcome Week Concert this Aug. 25. But why stop there, live music lovers? There’s a broad range of options in San Antonio for those who desire to explore what kind of music this city has to offer. With my own experience and the help of Kory Cook, the KRTU music director, Albert Salinas, operations manager for KRTU, and Ray Tamez, professor of music, here’s a place to start if you want to experience the local music scene!

Diverse culture, diverse genres

Throughout its lifespan, the San Antonio music scene has embraced a diverse range of influences. “San Antonio is very welcoming to anybody trying to do what they want to do. Being in a band myself, I’ve never felt like I have to play certain types of music to appeal to people,” Salinas said.

Over the years, the influence of Hispanic music has been especially prevalent; there’s a lot to be found right now in the ways of Conjunto and Mariachi music, as well as Latin-infused jazz and rock. And metalheads, it’s your lucky day: San Antonio has historically been called the “Heavy Metal Capital of the World,” and there’s still a loyal base of fans within the city to spot at venues such as Limelight and Faust.

St. Mary’s Strip

North St. Mary’s Street could be considered one of the best places in town to find live music, as it’s home to multiple venues; its proximity to Trinity’s campus doesn’t hurt, either! Paper Tiger is a San Antonio staple, and perhaps one of the most accessible of these venues for students. It regularly features all-ages shows by both local and touring acts, focusing on alternative and indie rock bands.

Top-notch theater venues

San Antonio is fortunate to have entertainment venues such as the Aztec Theater and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, which host touring musicians throughout the year in addition to other arts events. These are good places for audiences to have a seat and really focus on a show. However, you don’t have to suppress that urge to move your feet: The Aztec Theater has room for you to get up and dance!

Digging for gems

There’s a lot to be found away from the venues and bars that line St. Mary’s Strip or the grand theaters of the Downtown area. If the concept of a New York-style jazz club in Texas draws you in, then Jazz, TX at the Pearl Brewery is the place to go. For those looking for dinner and a show, there’s a variety of restaurant-style venues in the city such as The Cove, Carmen’s de la Calle and Sam’s Burger Joint, which regularly hosts Swing Dance nights.

Face the music!

For students who want to learn more, KRTU is a resource here on campus focused on music education and providing support for local artists. Whether you want to support local musicians or start a band yourself, making your way off campus to explore what the city has to offer is a significant step on the right track.

“Try to go out and check out as many bands, as much live music as you can. Not just one genre but different genres,” Tamez said. “It opens you up to possibilities to hear different things that you maybe haven’t heard before and you think, ‘Wow … I want to find out more, maybe I want to learn to play that kind of style.’ ”