The website Livability today compiled a list of the top 10 cities with the best music scenes that aren't New York, L.A., or Nashville. The results were in some ways predictable (Minneapolis, Athens, Ga., and Portland all made it), and in some ways spectacularly weird: Omitted from the list for no apparent reason were Chicago, Austin, and both S.F. and Oakland.
But the craziest part of this list, at least for Bay Area folks? Humble old East Bay suburb Concord was named the country's No. 10 best music scene. (Just behind Tulsa, Madison, and Fort Worth, for those keeping score.)
Yes, really. Livability's first point in favor of Concord's world-class music scene is that it's only 30 miles from San Francisco, which "has such nationally noted venues as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall, and has yielded such varied artists as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Journey, The Pointer Sisters, and Chris Isaak."
But the real selling point for Livability seems to be Concord's long-running annual summer music series in downtown Todd Santos plaza. The article didn't name one famous band that's played there, but it did note that in 2008, 2052 guitarists joined Country Joe McDonald at the plaza for a Guinness World Record-breaking gathering of the world's largest guitar ensemble.
Nothing against Concord, but does Livability know that summer live music series in the downtowns of midsize California cities are about as rare as pre-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 5? For example, Redwood City, Healdsburg, and Mountain View all have similar such concerts. (Though admittedly, Concord's may be older than theirs -- and only one city in the Bay Area can boast that it's home to the hilariously named Sleep Train Pavilion.)
Livability also noted that legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has ties to Concord. But if we're counting Brubeck and Chris Isaak as selling points for Concord, why not throw in Pavement and instead give the nod to poor old Stockton?
Anyway, amuse yourself with the full list here: