by Alexia Simitian
Photo Courtesy of Paradise Rock Club
Paradise Rock Club is one of the most popular places around for Boston University students to see their favorite local or up-and-coming bands play. Paradise Rock Club is incredibly accessible, located at 925 Commonwealth Avenue between T’s Pub and Raising Cane’s in West Campus. With a maximum capacity of 930 people, Paradise Rock Club has an intimate setting and an upbeat audience. The newly renovated venue accommodates small music festivals, non-music events and all types of music ranging from folk to Middle Eastern to alternative punk rock.
The Paradise Rock Club was opened in September 1977 by BU graduate Don Law. At the time, his company, now known as Crossroads Presents, was considered a Boston music giant, already having opened the Boston Garden and the Cape Cod Coliseum. With many people wanting to capitalize on the key student demographic audience, the Paradise Rock Club switched owners a few times before landing back in the hands of Law and David Mugar in 2009. Mugar’s father was Stephen Mugar, after which the Mugar Library was named. Law’s company also owns House of Blues Boston, Orpheum Theater and the Brighton Music Hall.
“I lived in Claflin Hall last year so I heard the concerts every night,” said Athena Kalabokis (Questrom ’19). “I got so curious, I ended up going to see a show there last semester, and it was a lot of fun.”
Paradise is geared towards a student-based crowd, which is why there is such a variety in the musical acts. The venue has long had the reputation for booking up-and-coming artists that become world-wide stars. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Police, R.E.M. and Rage Against the Machine have all played at the Paradise Rock Club.
Ticket prices range from $20 to $25, and most shows have an age requirement of 18 or older. All tickets are general admission; if you arrive early enough, you will most likely be in the front row within reaching distance of the band.
“Last year I went to go see Ryn Weaver there, and it wasn’t like any other place I’ve been because I was so unbelievably close to the artist,” said Ruben Quinteros (COM ’18). Don’t worry if you don’t get there early enough—there are unobstructed views of the stage from almost every corner of the room.
Along with the several bars inside the venue for concertgoers over 21, there is the Paradise Front Lounge, which is open prior to every show. This is where appetizers, sandwiches, and drinks are sold at student-friendly prices.
If you visit Paradise in the next few months, you might get the chance to see a well-known group like the Strumbellas, Christian hip-hop artist NF Therapy Session or the electronic music duo Snakehips. Paradise offers an alternative if you’re tired of the large-scale Gillette Stadium or TD Garden and want to get up close to your favorite bands.