By Sean McHugh
There are few things I love more than live music; I’d be hard pressed to find something more enjoyable than going out to any one of the countless music venues here in town and check out whoever’s playing. That being said, if I had to pick a venue that pound for pound is the best sounding room in Nashville (actual room, not a church masquerading as a venue; i.e. The Ryman), I would without a doubt choose the High Watt.
The High Watt is one of, if not Nashville’s most intimate touring venues. As part of the Cannery Row group of venues – Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, and High Watt – The High Watt is the smallest of the three, topping off at about 150-200 people maximum capacity. Despite being a small-ish room, The High Watt is the Cannery Row venues’ most accommodating – with a bar, tiered seating on the side, and ample floor space at the front of the stage – so rarely is there ever an uncomfortable show in the space.Most of the bands that come through the High Watt fall into one of two distinct categories – buzzworthy touring bands, or local heroes – both of which almost always seem to draw solid crowds. Some of the best shows I’ve seen in Nashville have been at the High Watt. I’ve seen everyone from touring acts like Chicago guitar rockers Twin Peaks, Canadian songster Bahamas, and disco dancing maniac Har Mar Superstar to local Nashville legends like Sol Cat, Rayland Baxter, and Blank Range command the High Watt stage.There’s inevitably going to be someone coming through the High Watt that would appeal to a diverse array of tastes, so that makes the venue a great spot for destination shows or just casual walk ups. If you feel the music move you to your very core, then there’s plenty of space to boogie down in front of the stage, or if you’re the more reticent type, then you have plenty of space on the seating area on the tier to the side of the stage. If drinks are more your thing, then feel free to grab a two dollar PBR or splurge a little bit and treat yourself to a reasonably priced line of slightly nicer domestics. That being said, the Cannery Row venues all host 18+ shows unless stated otherwise beforehand, so sorry young bloods, it look as though you have a few more years before you can experience the pound for pound best venue in Nashville.