It’s summer and you’re on island time. You’ve spent your vacation days soaking in the sun on Nantucket’s beautiful beaches and your nights indulging in tasty dinners and too many cocktails. What else could you possibly need? I’ll tell ya, taking in a little local music is the perfect ACKtivity to round out your vacation, and this island boasts not only unique venues, but some seriously talented acts as well.
Internationally infamous, the Chicken Box is the first place most people think of when talking about where to jam out to live music on Nantucket. Every summer, owner Packy Norton manages to get some seriously incredible acts (i.e. Ziggy Marley and the Revivalists, just to name a few) to make the journey out to this little island and enchant our ears for a night or two. Known as a 5-Star Dive-Bar, the Box is at the top of the list for summer shows. Insider tip: Check the schedule and keep an eye on those ticket sale dates – the big shows sell out FAST, and you don’t want to be caught sitting at home watching the show on snapchat while your friends are all swaying to the sound of Citizen Cope.
Another island hot spot, Cisco Brewery draws people in with great drinks and the food trucks from our local favorites, Millie’s and the Lobster Trap, and they end up staying for the show. Complete with a small outdoor stage, guests can enjoy local music and good vibes every day in their expansive outdoor courtyard while sipping on some libations and slamming back some oysters from our friends at 167 Raw. Honestly, what more could you want? Check their website for daily performances.
Sandbar at Jetties
Beachside acoustics have been a staple at this bar for years, and the guys at Sandbar have kept the tradition alive, welcoming local acts most afternoons. Sip on some frose and dig your toes into the sand with your butt in an adirondack chair, or hang out by the bar for a better view of the band. No matter the vantage point, this watering hole gives listeners access to the local bands we all love, and an atmosphere that welcomes music fans of all ages.
Starlight Theatre & Cafe
Tucked away on one of downtown’s many side streets, Starlight is a bar/restaurant/movie theatre/music venue all rolled into one. Enjoy a meal in the open-air dining room, and then make your way onto the intimate outdoor patio for some post-dinner tunes. This cozy venue has a backyard-jam session feel, and allows show-goers to get up close and personal with the acts, dancing the night away under the bistro lights strung throughout the ‘ceiling’.
Nantucket Whaling Museum
This secret spot hosts ticketed events throughout the summer on their rooftop observation deck. On the top of the list for events to attend is their ‘Summer Sunset Series’ featuring local musicians, lite bites, and a cash bar. Couple that with panoramic views of the island and sunset scenes like you wouldn’t believe, and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable night in downtown Nantucket.
Taking those island vibes to the next level, Foggy Roots graces the stage at various venues on island. Busting out reggae tunes that are sure to make you move to the beat, these guys are the act behind the Summer Sunset Series at the Whaling Museum on Monday nights in August, and they transform Atlas bar and restaurant into a concert venue year-round… Find them at Atlas on every Thursday night during August!
Buckle and Shake
Another island favorite, Buckle and Shake is a country/bluegrass band that can be found at Sandbar every Saturday from 4-7pm. This dynamic group tickles those strings and brings you upbeat tunes, perfect for sipping a cocktail and staring out at the beach after a long day of work (or play). Check their Facebook page for upcoming shows.
This solo act is a must-see. With a great voice and top-notch guitar skills, Sean Lee jams in all genres. From Faregrounds to Brant Point Grill, you can catch him in all atmospheres, and his talents will not disappoint. Check him out Thursdays and Fridays at the Nantucket Hotel followed by Brant Point Grill, and on Saturdays head over to the Rose and Crown or Kitty Murtaghs to listen in.
The Tricky Dicks
I know what you’re thinking – all these bands sound great, but what you’re really craving is some good old fashion rock and roll. Well my friends, you are in luck. The Tricky Dicks will bring you everything from Tom Petty to Nine Inch Nails, and you can’t help but smile during their show. Catch this group of fellas at Cisco Brewery or Charlie Noble, and if you find yourself venturing out through the fog this winter you may even catch them at the Chicken Box.
BONUS: Chicken Box Hot List with Citizen Cope, Revivalists, Blues Traveler, Andy Frasco!
With the recent addition of Citizen Cope to the Chicken Box lineup, August is shaping up to be the hottest music month of the summer, and we CAN’T FREAKIN WAIT. While these shows are already sold out, plans change so keep your eye on social media and if any tickets open up, do yourself a favor and snag them!