PromoWest Productions

A couple Saturdays ago Serena Ryder, an amazing folk-singer who opened for Howie Day at The Basement , asked the concert goers to sing along with her. When her request was met with the majority of the crowd joining in on her chorus, she exclaimed, "Man, I love you Columbus!" As I swayed along to the beat, singing the lyrics myself, I looked around the venue at my fellow concert patrons and felt a surge of pride.

Of course, I can't say that all Columbus concert-goers display the utmost respect and enthusiasm at every concert, but I think there's a deep level of music appreciation in Columbus. I feel especially thankful for the presence of smaller, intimate concert venues in Columbus that allow me to experience all sorts of musicians.

There's something so appealing about small venues. There's a special connection between the musicians and the crowd. For example, I just recently attended an intimate preview concert of the Barenaked Ladies at A&R Music Bar . The band members were talking a lot between their songs and really engaging with the audience. I think this is partly because the A&R Music Bar has a fun, casual atmosphere that creates a comfortable vibe and allows the musicians and crowd to relate easier.

A similar vibe occurs at The Basement. When Howie Day came on to perform, he made a comment about how whenever he plays there, he feels like he's in high school, in a friend's basement while the parents are out of town. Of course, I don't know of any basements that have such a large bar, but I can definitely relate to the comment because whenever I'm there, I get the sense that I'm with a whole bunch of friends, just hanging out and enjoying some music. There's that comfortable, low-key atmosphere that really makes the music resonate that much more.

Yet another smaller concert venue is Newport Music Hall , located on The Ohio State University campus. While this venue is substantially larger than A&R Music Bar and The Basement, it still allows for you to get close to the stage with a general admission ticket. You also have the option of viewing the concert from the balcony, if you'd prefer that perspective. The venue itself is an older building that has a concert hall feel to it, and all in all, it's another great Columbus concert venue to add to the list.

I love concerts of all sizes, but I have a distinct appreciation for the smaller venues. And as an avid concert-goer, I'm especially grateful for these precious Columbus gems.

For more info on these venues and concert lineups, check out the PromoWest Productions Web site .