The COMPASS: Fargo, ND


Check out the full COMPASS series here!

By Go Murphy

Fargo has certainly changed over the years, but it always stays true to its character and personality. There is no better example of this than the art you see or the sounds you hear as you venture out for some live music in our city. Our band, Go Murphy, has been together for the past five years, but all four of our members have been playing in bands for the better part of our lives. And from that experience, we’ve found that there is a ton of support for local music here, and some great promoters whose mission it is to attract touring bands and encourage them to make Fargo an important stop on any national tour. Welcome to Fargo, ND.

Go Murphy Live at The Aquarium. Photo by Urban Toad Media.
Go Murphy live at the Aquarium. Photo by Urban Toad Media.

The Aquarium is the place to go to hear local bands making noise. But it also gets great shows from much larger acts who are out on tour. It’s loud, has a great sound crew, and a staff that appreciates original music. Our favorite part is that we’ve been fortunate enough to open up for some awesome bands thanks to an amazing promotor. Some of those bands we’ve gotten to share the stage with: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Tokyo Police Club, Electric Six, The Velvet Teen, and Paper Lions.

Tiny Moving Parts at the New Direction. Photo by Kaytlin Dargen.

The next venue on our list is a must-play for bands getting their start in Fargo, and has been gaining recognition for bringing in some amazing touring bands. The New Direction is run by a group of incredible dudes who do it for FREE. They’ve had some struggles over the years, but have always prevailed and kept the doors open. It’s small and loud, but that little room has born witness to some pretty magical nights.

+Learn more: Whether you’re recording your first demo or a new album, make it sound professional with our new, free course Demo Recording 101!

Davis? performing at the Sidestreet. Photo by Annie Boesen.

The Sidestreet has become a staple for live music on weekends. And their weeknight open mics are the perfect place to check out local musicians trying out covers or new material. The building that used to house the venue was recently demolished, but they’ve already opened up a brand new location. We’ve been lucky enough to play the new spot once already and it is amazing. Lots of great memories from the old location but something tells me the new building will do just fine. Come for the music but stay for the nachos, which come equipped with an aggressive amount of cheese and jalapeños. You will not be disappointed.

The Red Raven Espresso Parlor is a hangout for coffee drinkers, writers, and scholars, but it’s also home to some very unique shows. They embrace everything about DIY culture, maintaining a “for the people, by the people” atmosphere. The coffee is exquisite, the atmosphere is comfortable, and they truly practice what they preach in creating diverse events that bring engaged crowds from every walk of life. If you are looking for an intimate stage with an invested audience, this is the venue to play. Plus, COFFEE.

+ Read more on Flypaper: Learn to play Adele’s new single, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” on guitar in like, 5 minutes!

We’ll end with probably the most iconic venue in Fargo. The Fargo Theatre is situated right in the heart of the city and is instantly recognizable with its historic “Fargo” sign out front. Built in 1926 as a cinema and vaudeville theater, the beautifully restored venue is now the premiere destination for cutting edge independent and foreign film, as well as a variety of concerts and plays.

Their website boasts that it hosts events 364 days out of the year; apparently they only need one day of rest. They take pride in showing films that you won’t find at big box cinemas and they host an annual film festival that attracts attention and attendance from independent filmmakers around the world. This place has been a cornerstone of the culture of Fargo and probably one of the best places to experience live music for almost 100 years.

Interested in hearing more about the sounds of cities from the artists who love them? Catch up on the full COMPASS series here.

Go Murphy is an indie rock band from Fargo, ND, comprised of Marcus Rondestvedt, Ryan Dahl, Jason Forthun and Tom Hill. Formed in May of 2011, Go Murphy self-released a four song EP in April of 2012. Their first full length album titled ‘A is A’ was self-released in May of 2013 and has enjoyed both local and national success including international radio play. Go Murphy’s sophomore full length album, Buildings, is now available via iTunes, check it out here!


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