Former Rockford music venues and what they are now.

One of the first things I found out about Rockford when I moved here was its rich music history. Of course, there is Cheap Trick, members of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but there are many other bands that had success in the Forest City. In fact, there still are plenty making up the current scene and doing great.

Along with all the bands, the Screw City also has incredible venues to watch them play live. Unfortunately, some of the favorites in Rockford music history have closed. Every time I drive by one of them, I remember the good times.

Whatever happened to those legendary concert spots? I decided to take a drive around Rockford to find out what is in those locations now. I hope you enjoy this flashback.

What are they now, former Rockford music venues.

What Are They Now Former Rockford Music Venues

Photos of what replaced legendary music venues in Rockford.
  • Elixur - Only open three days a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays were for dancing. Friday night rocked with live music. Home for local and regional Hard Rock and Metal bands. They also hosted national acts like Bret Michaels from Poison, Stephen Pearcy from Ratt, and Great White.
  • L.T.'s - Saturday nights were their time for shows. Bands like Harmony Riley, Crash (Dave Matthews Tribute), and Suite Oblivion hit the stage.
  • Reflections - Hard Rock bands including RIPT liked playing there.
  • Bar 3 - The Surf Lounge wanted to change their theme so they went from a bikini bar to a live music venue. They had mostly heavier bands.
  • Kryptonite - Popular downtown Rockford location before hanging out downtown was a thing. You could catch 420 and The Heavils playing there. Surf Guitar Legend, Dick Dale, did a show with Daxx Nielsen on drums.
  • Stash O'Neil's and Hard Times - Two bars in one with a couple of very different crowds. Stash's was more of a sports bar. Hard Times was the place to watch live rock shows. Jesse DuPree from Jackyl did a solo concert there.
  • Big Cities - Was the place in Rockford to see the Blues live. Pistol Pete was a regular. Great intimate room.
  • Midway Theater - Cheap Trick filmed a video for their 1997 self-titled album in the building with a few fans.
  • The Times Theater - JGB (Jerry Garcia Band) post-Jerry's death and Merl Saunders jammed in the venue.
  • Apple Tree Records - Rockford's favorite place to buy music.
  • The Noise Chamber - When Rockford bands wanted to record an album, they went to Jimmy Johnson. He worked with many artists including The Good Year Pimps.

What was your favorite place to see live music in Rockford back in the day? How about now?

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