The SLO Acoustic Scene

Written by: Darren Johnson

Whether it’s a well-known metal band creating mosh-pits at SLO Brew, local Jazz Artists performing intricate melodies downtown, or anything in-between… San Luis Obispo has a vast range of venues and musical genres for us to attend. Acoustic venues, in particular, have recently been gaining popularity within our music scene.

Nataly Lola performs at the Shell Cafe and other venues throughout the Central Coast

Nataly Lola performs at the Shell Cafe and other venues throughout the Central Coast

There are numerous groups that perform at local venues; including Nataly Lola, Cheyenne McDonald, Stereo Steve, and Kristen Black. Kreuzberg, Eatz by Design, Eureka Burger, and The Steynberg Gallery are just a few places where you might stumble upon live ‘acoustic’ music while walking around downtown. There is an abundance of restaurants outside of SLO that have live music as well, such as Steamers and the Shell Cafe in Pismo Beach, OtterRock, Libertine in Morro Bay, and the Wise Owl in Cambria.

Kristen Black at The Steynberg Gallery

Kristen Black performing at Steynberg Gallery

Part of the reason for the growth of acoustic venues in the area is the increase in smaller restaurants, wine bars, and coffee shops. Venues like this create a higher demand for musicians that play at a lower volume. When a drum set and amplified guitars would be too loud, a Cajon and acoustic guitar work perfectly for that “easy listening” vibe that many smaller businesses desire. The lower volume of an acoustic band in a smaller space creates more flexibility and versatility for the business owners, musicians, and audience.

Stereo Steve at Eureka Burger!

Stereo Steve, acoustic/electric duo, performing at Eureka Burger!

Local artists are gaining more opportunities to gig due to the increase of acoustic venue popularity. It’s definitely nice to walk into a restaurant and hear some LIVE music being played. If you enjoy our live local music, remember to show some local support!


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