Best Concert

Bruno Mars - Colonial Life Arena

Runner-up: Avett Brothers -

Township Auditorium

The multi-talented Bruno Mars brought his Moonshine Jungle tour to the Colonial Life Arena last year, and, from all accounts, put on a hell of a show. The two-time Grammy winner is the musical equivalent of a five-tool ballplayer on stage, as he sings, leads choreographed dances, plays multiple instruments and banters with the crowd throughout his sets.

Honorable mention: Kenny Chesney - Colonial Life Arena, Jack White - Township Auditorium, Journey - Colonial Life Arena, Tokyo Joe Elton John Tribute - Koger Center, tUnE-yArDs - Music Farm, Jason Isbell - Music Farm

Best Music Venue

Music Farm

Runner-up: Colonial Life Arena

From the furious set delivered by rap headknockers Run the Jewels, to the profound and percussive art-pop tUnE-yArDs brought a few months later, and on to the packed show headlined by increasingly beloved alt-country troubadour Jason Isbell, the large rock club Columbia so sorely needed is everything we could have hoped for — and more.

Honorable Mention: Township Auditorium, New Brookland Tavern, Tin Roof, Art Bar, Conundrum Music Hall

Best Blues or Jazz Club


Runner-up: Pearlz Upstairz

With weekly gigs by favorite local players Robert Gardner and Tony Lee and frequent performances by others such as Mark Rapp and Mike Frost, Speakeasy offers tasty cocktails and an expansive beer selection to complement its reliable stream of top-shelf jazz.

Honorable mention: Conundrum Music Hall

Best Karaoke

Uncle Fester’s

Runner-up: Linda’s Carraoke

Uncle Fester’s doesn’t just offer great karaoke — it offers a lot of karaoke, like, several nights a week. There’s no better place to get your fix.

Honorable mention: Tsubaki, DJ Snow, Belles Bar and Grill

Best Local Band

Tokyo Joe

Runner-up: The Restoration

Not to be confused with the 1949 thriller starring Humphrey Bogart, this pop-rock group of four just keeps going and going with performances throughout South Carolina. Especially popular is Tokyo Joe’s annual Elton John tribute concert

Honorable mention: Weaving the Fate, Prettier Than Matt

Best Local Solo Artist

Jessica Skinner

Runner-up: Brent Lundy

You might know her best as one half of the folk-pop duo Prettier Than Matt; Jessica Skinner’s sparkling voice sounds plenty great on its own, too.

Honorable Mention: David Adedokun, Daniel Machado

Best Local CD Store

Papa Jazz

Runner-up: Manifest

Papa Jazz knows vinyl. They know CDs, too, offering a wide and well curated selection that spans jazz, rock, folk and various corners in between, both common and obscure. Overwhelmed? Just ask the knowledgeable staff to guide you. They won’t steer you wrong.

Honorable Mention: Scratch N Spin, Punk Monkey Comics

Best Store For Vinyl

Papa Jazz

Runner-up: Manifest

There are a lot of people in Columbia who love vinyl, and about half of them have worked at Papa Jazz. Whether you’re looking for a rare punk import or a used jazz LP, or you need to special-order a hot new dubstep record, they’ve got you covered.

Honorable mention: Scratch N Spin

Best Musical Instrument Store

Sims Music

Runner-up: Pecknel

In a band? Want to be in a band? Just want to sit at home and pick out tunes on your acoustic guitar? Sims has what you need, whether it’s drumsticks, a keyboard stand or a brand-new bass.

Honorable mention: Guitar Center, Musician Supply, Star Music

Best Recording Studio

Jam Room

Runner-up: Strawberry Skys

Nationally known as a great spot to cut metal and punk records, the Jam Room is no one-trick pony, helping bands from all over track all different kinds of music. The adjoining hip-hop-focused studio, the Boom Room, further expands this amazing diversity.

Honorable mention: Archer Avenue Studio, Seaboard Recording