Your Ticket to Cheap Concerts in NYC This Spring


Some venues include Webster Hall, the Highline Ballroom and the Knitting Factory. (JILLIAN JAYMES/THE OBSERVER)


New York City is teeming with small yet reputable music venues that often host affordable concerts. For a college student, that is a dream come true. When Ed Sheeran comes around, it may not be the best fiscal decision to buy a front-row seat, but I found a few alternatives with less exorbitant price tags. Here are some cheap—yet impressive—music shows that are worth looking into this spring.

Arguably the most famous venue that will appear on this list is Webster Hall. Located in the East Village, Webster Hall has hosted artists including Halsey, Green Day and Metallica in the past two years alone. Among other artists, their schedule this spring includes Australian singer-songwriter Betty Who. The synthpop artist has only been active since 2010 and has managed to achieve international success. Her debut full-length album “Take Me When You Go” charted on the Billboard 200 at number 68 in 2014. Her sophomore effort “The Valley” will be released on March 24 of this year. Tickets for her show on April 14, start at $25 on TicketWeb. Tickets can also be purchased inperson at Webster Hall, just a train ride away via the N, Q, R or W from the 57th Street–7th Avenue station, which is the closest to Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC).

Just around the corner from Webster Hall is Irving Plaza, a venue that was listed eighth among the “50 Best Concert Venues in America” by Complex. Having hosted rocker Paul McCartney in 2015 and rapper Machine Gun Kelly in 2016, the versatile stage will feature Mike Posner and The Legendary Mike Posner Band (yes, that is actually what they’re called). Posner’s writing has spawned a number of hits, including 2010’s “Cooler Than Me” and “Please Don’t Go.” Last year, a remix by production trio SeeB of his song “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” became an international sensation and his comeback hit. Now, he is touring and making a stop at Irving Plaza, located in the Union Square neighborhood of New York. Tickets for his show on Sunday, April 16, start at $25 on Live Nation’s website. All it takes to get there is a ride on the N, Q, R or W.

Closer to the Hudson River is the Highline Ballroom, a much smaller venue situated in Chelsea. Its capacity maxes out at 700 with standing room (which isn’t always included), but the intimate setting gives live shows a different kind of atmosphere—an aesthetic, if you will. Now, if you’re less of a music freak and you prefer a good TV suspense-drama instead, the Highline Ballroom may have just the concert for you: Graeme of Thrones. The concert, which could almost be characterized as musical theater, is a three-person parodical recreation of international television superhit “Game of Thrones.”  British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) winner  and critic Jon Brittain said of the show, “It’s nice to be in a room where being an anally retentive fanboy is actually a good thing!” On TicketWeb, tickets start at $30, and VIP isn’t much more at $55. The Highline Ballroom can be reached by taking a train via the A or C line from the 59th Street–Columbus Circle station.

A bit further south is the Bowery Ballroom, another borderline puny location; it holds only 575 patrons, all standing room. This venue, home usually to local acts, is getting a bit of a treat: British-born Canadian actor, producer and director Kiefer Sutherland. Sutherland released an album in 2016 entitled “Down in a Hole” that spawned two singles, each with a music video. The actor is best known for portraying Jack Bauer in “24” and President Tom Kirkman in “Designated Survivor,” and is also an Emmy and  Golden Globe winner. He is now taking his musical talents to the stage on May 25 at Bowery Ballroom. General admission is $25 on Ticketfly, which is a steal to see such a renowned star (warning: the show’s age minimum is 21). Your best bet is to get there via the D train from the 59th Street–Columbus Circle station.

Moving into a different borough altogether, the Knitting Factory is the smallest venue on this list; it fits a measly 300 people. However, this Brooklyn hotspot is famous for being the namesake not only for a chain of identically titled venues around the nation, but also a record label. If you’re willing to spend a night listening to music for a good cause, then there is one upcoming event that might interest you: a concert for Planned Parenthood.  On March 30, Desert Sharks, Treads, Lady Bits and B.R.A., four female-fronted local alternative rock bands, will be performing and donating all ticket funds to the organization. Tickets are only $15 on TicketWeb, so this is an opportunity that is not worth passing up. Transportation is most convenient from FLC by taking the 1, A or C lines to 14th Street, transferring to the L train, and taking it to Bedford Avenue.

I encourage you to check out all the other shows at these venues year-round. Local artists could use your support, and you might discover a thrilling new band you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. You also might discover that your favorite band from 7th grade is playing across town. Who knows? Do some searching—you’ll thank me later.