BEST CONCERT VENUE (2001)
Perhaps City Pages has been too harsh with the 400 Bar. In the past, we have griped about their beer prices, badmouthed their bathrooms, and, perhaps most unforgivable, unleashed countless lengthy rants about 400-bound artists. (Our feline friend Cat Power was so misunderstood!) What we don't generally tend to write about is the fact that the 400 consistently takes risks to book edgier shows that, in a few years' time, we will all be pretending to have seen back in the day. Bright Eyes has been playing there since he was just a twinkle in young indie rockers' irises, Trans-Am swears by the 400's wall-of-sound acoustics, and legends still circulate about Arab Strap's first 400 show three years ago (Hint: It involved lots of alcohol. Another hint: The most sensational 400 performances almost always do.) Sure, it's sometimes hard to see the stage from certain spots in the bar--heck, make that half the bar--but if you can wriggle your rock 'n' roll carcass up to the front lines, you'll be rewarded with a deafening blast from what might be the best sound system in town. And if you catch a Nashville Pussy show or a Cinerama gig there within the next few months, you won't be complaining about the price of swill like the crotchety detractors we employ here. You'll be following our new lead, and savoring the buzz last night's show left in your ears.