Higher Ground -- South Burlington, Vermont
My concert going days (and my "clubbing" days, for that matter) hit their zenith in the mid-90's, but I do get out from time-to-time and catch a show locally and the new Higher Ground in South Burlington is a great place to see live music. If you didn't know it was a converted four-screen movie theater you wouldn't know it. I've seen two shows there (Sleater-Kinney and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and although the girls bested the boys in performance it was a great small venue to see national acts. I was told when I bought my CYHSY tickets at the box office that it holds 1500. The CYHSY show sold out, but even so, I didn't feel like I was packed in tight like a sardine and I was about ten feet from the stage. Given Vermont's laid-back attitude and the coziness of Higher Ground, don't be surprised if you see the band members milling around on the floor before the show (Corin Tucker brushed past me -- I'll never wash my eyes again!) which is pretty cool. There certainly are national acts that play Higher Ground on their way to bigger audiences in Boston or Montreal, but it also offers smaller local or regional acts a chance to play in front of a big crowd of devoted and enthusiastic music heads.