In 2019, there was nowhere that I would rather be than Great Scott in Allston, Massachusetts.
I live about 3.5 hours (on a good day) outside of Boston, so every time I go to Great Scott, it’s a bit of a pilgrimage. That’s one of my favorite things about the venue- I love making a whole day out of a show. Once I’m in Allston, Great Scott has all the creature comforts of a convenient concert experience. I’m always able to find somewhere to park. There’s a McDonald’s across the street, which usually isn’t a selling point, but after sweating every calorie out of my body seeing Amyl and the Sniffers at Great Scott in July, one of McD’s mango smoothies very much hit the spot.
Great Scott has a capacity of about 220 people, a small stage, and a cash bar that sells Miller Lite for $4.50. The venue’s small enough that I always end up meeting people at the show and making a friend, or catching up with someone I’ve seen at shows in the past. When I came to see Psychadelic Porn Crumpets and Meatbodies there in September (my favorite show that I’ve seen at Great Scott), I ran into a kid who I had met in line before seeing King Gizzard in New York City. It’s a small garage rock world.
Most of the shows that I’ve been to at Great Scott have had really good sound – there was a lapse when I saw Meatbodies, with the vocal being mixed too low for my tastes. But in general, Great Scott is a reliable place to go and hear really good music in a really good atmosphere. So much of whether or not you like a venue comes down to the atmosphere of the crowd that is there the night that you happen to be there. I think a rare venue cultivates a good room every night, and Great Scott is able to make that happen. It’s an awesome space.
Great Scott has also showed me some really incredible local acts, hinting at a great punk scene lurking around Boston (something I was already aware of based on a college friend’s obsession with WMBR). Gymshorts had the impossible task of opening for Amyl and the Sniffers, and totally crushed it. Lucid Lynx also stands out, a garage rock band that opened for Psychedelic Porn Crumpets.
I love this place a lot, and I’m glad that it came into my life at the perfect time. And on top of the luck of going there even for the first time, I had two more excuses to go back. Nothing better.