The Iron Horse Music Hall is located in the heart of Northampton MA, and has that downtown "smallish town" feel. The venue lends itself truly to the feel of an intimate Blues club. And it's one that brings in big artists!
From the outside you would never know the depth of what is yet to come. The staff are all quite friendly and work hard to keep up with a packed room at showtime. They truly put their full energy into the work, and that energy pays off in a great evening out!
Having attended more than a few concerts in this location I have to say it's got the right amount of gritty feel and aged charm that you don't see from a lot of venues anymore.
Each venue has it's own feel and each are valuable and most are wonderful in their own character. The Iron Horse is FULL of character. And after nearly 40 years, it's surely earned it.
You can catch great local acts, as well as national touring groups all touching down at some point at the Iron Horse, playing on a stage lifted high so that it feels intimate and easily seen from any vantage point on the first, second, or third level seating.
I do recommend coming early to ensure you get the best seat as it's first come first served. There are only a small handful of seats that you'll want to get creative with to make sure you've an unobstructed view if you happen to arrive late. But not one of them is a bad seat.
For parking there is ample free parking around the area that is easily accessible to the venue. (Free parking after 6:00 pm at metered spaces.) There is also a small and inexpensive lot, $5.00, next door. It is a cash only lot, but there is an ATM in the lot as well, so plan accordingly.
Access to the venue is a relatively easy drive with most of it being interstate and highway. The Mass Pike makes for easy direct access to the area and you're not traversing a myriad of surface streets just to get to the destination.
When you first walk in you're greeted with a smile. The first time I showed up I was instantly put at ease with venturing into the unknown by that simple friendly smile. I tend to be one of those people that gets a bit anxious going into new areas that I've not heard much about beyond the music that comes with the venue. So this was a big plus for me! And each time I return now, I'm remembered and greeted with that same warmth. It's truly a personal touch that is much appreciated.
The venue itself feels at once both large and comfortably small. In no way is this venue tiny, it's the right size of "small" for a good old fashioned night of Blues.
They host a variety of different types of music and some nights you could catch a double header of Blues and then something of a decidedly different flavor. My first experience with this was after sitting down to interview with Janiva Magness and when I came back upstairs all the tables and chairs were gone and a new band was setting up. This was around 10:00 pm. There was a Grateful Dead tribute band coming in and people were already lining up outside.
They've a number of house special dishes that they offer as well as the standard American fare and, I'm still working my way through the menu, so far they've all been fantastic! The pricing for drinks and food are exactly on par with other great music venues. So don't expect a sticker shock, you'll not find one.
Iron Horse is a venue that I was looking very much forward to taking my father to, and soon my mother, when they came up from TN to visit. I was not disappointed with my fathers reaction!
The venue is truly an adult location and yet is still family friendly.
Take a look through their listing of events and you'll find something you'll like, of that I feel certain.
*This review was not solicited by the musicians or venue.