Rock endures. Rock clubs do not.
If you’re a returning student or spent the summer grooving at outdoor concerts, you’ll notice some changes when you return to Boston’s rock clubs.
T.T. the Bear’s Place, the center of the local scene, closed in July. Johnny D’s, another beloved haunt, will shutter early next year. Church canceled its fall lineup over the weekend and will only keep the restaurant side of the venue open.
But it’s not all bad.
Thunder Road opened this week. The Somerville club took over Radio’s home and looks to turn Union Square into the new Central Square. (Just you wait, it could happen.)
And dozens of other live music venues remain. To celebrate our transition from fresh air to the rarefied funk found only when fans crush up against the stage in a feverish mob, here’s a rundown of the city’s best spots and the perfect show to see in each room this fall.
• Barrence Whitfield and the Savages at Brighton Music Hall (158 Brighton Ave.), tomorrow: Any worries Brighton Music Hall would be too fresh and clean to host rock have disappeared in a fog of volume and sweat. Born from the ashes of Harpers Ferry in 2010, Brighton is one half of the tag-team that anchors Allston Rock City. No better show to see here than Boston wildman, soulman, superman Barrence Whitfield.
• The Lyres at the Middle East Upstairs (472-480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge), tomorrow: The Middle East complex features four stages and five bars under one roof (counting Zuzu’s, of course). The Lyres may be the only act to equal Barrence Whitfield in terms of energy and Boston grit.
• New Orleans Brass Band Night at Thunder Road (379 Somerville Ave., Somerville), Tuesday: Every Tuesday is Fat Tuesday at our newest club. Thunder Road will fill its calendar with plenty of touring acts (Pete Francis of Dispatch on Oct. 2!) Between them, they’ll party brass-band style once a week.
• Aer at the House of Blues (15 Lansdowne St.), Sept. 19: The city’s biggest club books everything — fall features Rancid, moe, Jesus & Mary Chain and loads more. Boston duo Aer plays everything: alternative rock, hip-hop, reggae, stoned-out hippie jams. Nice fit.
• Albert Hammond Jr. at the Sinclair (52 Church St., Cambridge), Sept. 20: Since opening in 2012, this spot has become Harvard Square’s music hub. The midsized room also has made it a point to celebrate local talent. Killer Boston rock duo When Particles Collide opens for Strokes’ guitarist Hammond (whose latest solo album is a scorcher).
• Potty Mouth at Great Scott (1222 Commonwealth Ave.), Sept. 21: Allston’s other anchor hosts rising Northampton noise pop (power rock?) trio Potty Mouth. Can’t make that? Your backups are Futurebirds on Nov. 6 and Darwin Deez on Dec. 7.
• Boston Calling at City Hall Plaza, Sept. 25-27: We have a festival! And it’s a huge success! Your last chance to party outdoors comes with the Avett Brothers, Alt-J, Alabama Shakes, a few local luminaries (Dirty Bangs!) and lots more at the sixth edition of this bi-annual blowout.
• Darlingside at the Armory Performance Hall (191 Highland Ave., Somerville), Oct. 1: Joseph and Nabil Sater, the brothers who own the Middle East, pioneered the renovation of the Somerville Armory in 2007. Now the building hosts an amazing array of community events and concerts. See the new face of Boston indie folk (indie rock? folk rock?) when Darlingside headlines the hall.
• FFS at the Orpheum (1 Hamilton Place), Oct. 2: Maybe the awesomest, definitely the oddest supergroup ever, FFS smashes together Scottish modern rockers Franz Ferdinand and American electropop pioneers Sparks. The nutty combo debuts in Boston in the 150-year-old former home of the Boston Symphony.
• Patty Griffin at Somerville Theatre (55 Davis Square, Somerville), Oct. 2: Maine’s own Patty Griffin brings her sweet, sad, surprisingly rollicking tunes — check out the title track to “Silver Bell” — to this classic movie house.
• Kurt Vile at the Paradise (967 Commonwealth Ave.), Oct. 2: Kurt Vile may be from Philly, but he carries the torch for Massachusetts’ ’80s sonic rebellion — he packs loads of J Mascis and Lou Barlow into his sound. Much of that rock ’n’ roll uprising peaked at the Paradise. And as your hip older cousin told you a hundred times: “U2 broke in America at the ’Dise.”
• Kevin Gordon at Atwood’s (877 Cambridge St., Cambridge), Oct. 6: This favorite room began booking national acts a few years ago. Ace Nashville singer/songwriter Kevin Gordon (google Gordon’s “Colfax” right now!) represents the hip roots artists roosting in the tiny but just-big-enough bar.
• The Zombies at the Wilbur Theatre (246 Tremont St.), Oct. 6: Finally, a zombie outbreak worth celebrating. The ’60s icons reunite and roll into downtown Boston’s surest bet for comedy and rock.
• Mark Erelli at Club Passim (47 Palmer St., Cambridge), Oct. 7: Straight out of your ’70s AM radio (think James Taylor, Paul Simon, Neil Young) comes Massachusetts’ Mark Erelli. He’ll do songs to build you up, with a voice to break your heart, at the legendary folk haunt.
• Lucero at Royale (279 Tremont St.), Oct. 9: Since opening the Sinclair, Bowery Boston hasn’t put as many shows into Royale. But the ridiculous room is a blast, and these Southern rock honky tonk revivalists love to have a blast.
• Crash Safety at the Midway (3496 Washington St., Jamaica Plain), Oct. 17: A handful of our city’s loudest, rawest, rip-roaringest bands (Muck + the Mires, the Dents, Gymnasium and more) raise money at this fifth annual benefit for the MS Society at Jamaica Plain’s best bar. The fun and fund-raising continue Oct. 23 across the river at the Middle East with Township, Watts and more.
• Ringo Starr at the Wang Theatre (270 Tremont St.), Oct. 23: The Beatle and his All-Starr Band (with Toto’s Steve Lukather, Mister Mister’s Richard Page, Santana’s Gregg Rolie and Todd Rundgren) bring the hits to the theater district’s main hall.
• The Who at the TD Garden (100 Legends Way), Oct. 29: The TD Garden had a loud summer with dates from U2, Rush and Imagine Dragons. The rock rolls on. With Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey both in their 70s, the Who brings its 50th anniversary tour (gotta be their last, right?) to the Garden, with Joan Jett opening.
• Polyphonic Spree at Johnny D’s (17 Holland St., Somerville), Oct. 31: Before the Davis Square landmark becomes an apartment complex, get freaky with a perfect Halloween show.