“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
The earliest conception of what Metro is now began before the concert venue even opened its doors in 1982. After Joe Shanahan, the founder, graduated from Columbia College Chicago, he took trips to New York and London to investigate their music scenes. That experience gave him the idea of “act local, think global,” which has been supported by the variety of acts that have played at Metro. Fun fact: Fall Out Boy started out in Chicago, playing at Metro as a local act before becoming a hit band!
The first act to play at Metro when it opened, rock band R.E.M., rose to fame in a similar way to Fall Out Boy. Tickets to their show were only five dollars and, with enough people coming to see the band, Shanahan used leftover funds from the night to feed his staff. Now, with not only Metro to consider, but also their basement bar, Smart Bar, a successful show is a little bigger than just “pay the band and feed the staff,” but the enthusiasm hasn’t faded.
It’s a well-balanced mix of small acts and big names at Metro with music from all genres. Shanahan tries to ride the trend waves that sweep across the city and when he gets in on it early, acts like Smashing Pumpkins and Chance the Rapper have some of their earliest shows at Metro. Ages of those who attend is a mix too. Many shows held earlier in the evening are open to all ages but after 9 PM, only those 18 or older are allowed. As for their Smart Bar, guests have to be at least 21 years old.