Best of Columbia 2018: Music

Foo Fighters at Colonial Life Arena

Foo Fighters at Colonial Life Arena is voted Best Concert.

Best Concert

Foo Fighters at Colonial Life Arena

Runner-up: Eagles at Colonial Life Arena

There went your heroes. They got the best of you. They’re not the pretender. Can we stop making bad Foo Fighters references now?

Honorable mentions: Avett Brothers at the Township; Bernstein MASS, USC School of Music

Best Music Venue

The Senate at Tin Roof (formerly Music Farm Columbia)

Runner-up: Colonial Life Arena

With The Senate currently racking up an impressive fall calendar that includes the likes of Shovels & Rope, Toro Y Moi, Old 97’s, The Breeders, Cannibal Corpse and more, this seems as good a time as any to point out that the club sounds good whether utilized for pop, rock, folk, hip-hop or heavy music.

Honorable mentions: Township Auditorium, New Brookland Tavern

Best Bar to See Live Music

The Senate at Tin Roof (formerly Music Farm Columbia)

Runner-up: New Brookland Tavern

In addition to its impressive concert calendar and comfortable room with first-class sound, The Senate also has a solid tap selection and a nice patio to escape to if you need a break from the music.

Honorable mentions: Tin Roof, Pearlz Oyster Bar

Best Local Band

Tokyo Joe

Runner-up: Prettier Than Matt

Look, lots of bands don’t last two years, let alone 22. But that’s how long Tokyo Joe’s been rocking ’round these parts; that they’re still performing — and perform an average of 200 shows per year — says a lot about just how affable Greg Bickley and company’s tunes are.

Honorable mentions: Villanova, Shelby Raye Band

Fat Rat da Czar at Music Farm

Fat Rat da Czar, winner of Best Hip-Hop Artist, performs at Music Farm Columbia, now called The Senate at Tin Roof, which won best Music Venue.

Best Local Hip-Hop Artist

Fat Rat da Czar

Runner-up: h3ro

Fat Rat is a rapper, with a burly, charismatic flow and whip-smart word play. Fat Rat is a producer, helping to shape some of Columbia’s best new hip-hop sounds. Fat Rat is an event organizer, galvanizing huge crowds with the city’s annual Hip-Hop Family Day. Fat Rat is indeed da Czar. Hail, hail.

Honorable mention: Cole Connor

Best Local Jazz or Blues Artist

Reggie Sullivan

Runner-up: Mark Rapp

In his confident, catchy mutations through jazz, funk, rock and beyond, eminently talented bassist Reggie Sullivan offers an open door to the Columbia jazz scene. He’s also an energetic, engaging performer who never gives it anything less than his all.

Honorable mentions: The Terence Young Experience, Dante Lewis

Best Local Solo Artist

Jessica Skinner

Runner-up: Mark Rapp

Most often, Jessica Skinner is lending her talents to the tuneful folk-pop of Prettier Than Matt or the adaptable rock of Deleveled. But her bright, cheerful pipes are a treat no matter the context.

Honorable mentions: Jim LeBlanc, Shelby Raye

Best CD Store

Papa Jazz Record Shoppe

Runner-up: Manifest

There are still lots of people for whom a Spotify account just doesn’t cut it. Folks who want to browse music and hold a CD in their hands and stumble upon something new (or new to them) as they thumb through a bin on a Saturday afternoon. Papa Jazz Record Shoppe, the institution on Greene Street that stocks thousands of CDs for artists across just about every genre, is nirvana for those people.

Honorable mention: Scratch N Spin

Best Store For Vinyl

Papa Jazz Record Shoppe

Runner-up: Manifest

Whether it’s in the selection of new titles, which stretches from the shop’s titular genre into pop, hip-hop and out into the weirder corners of rock and experimental music, or in the ever-impressive haul of used records, Papa Jazz has Columbia’s vinyl heads in good hands.

Honorable mentions: 2nd & Charles, Scratch N Spin

Best Musical Instrument Store

Sims Music

Runner-up: Pecknel Music Co

Need to upgrade your acoustic guitar? Get a tour-ready electric rig? Grab some boutique noisemakers for your pedalboard? Build a sweet pro-audio setup? This long-standing local music shop has you covered.

Honorable mentions: Guitar Center, The Music Store

Best Karaoke

Art Bar

Runner-up: Uncle Fester’s Sports Bar

At this point, Linda Carr’s Carrarock Karaoke is a bonafide Columbia institution, with a bevy of dedicated regulars to back up — and belt out — the claim. Her gig at Art Bar is one of her longest-running.

Honorable mentions: Events by Snow — Kevin Snow; DJ Blake Arambula, New Brookland Tavern

Best Recording Studio

The Jam Room

Runner-up: Archer Avenue

The Jam Room turns 30 this year. And in that time they’ve turned out some pretty great music, much of it from nationally and internationally recognized artists. But they’re most valuable to Columbia as a resource for the artists who live here, with their well-appointed main studio, dedicated hip-hop space, and mixing services helping many local musicians pursue their art.

Honorable mentions: High Fidelity Recordings, Plaugh’s House Recording Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Free Times Breaking News