Highline Ballroom

The smaller a music venue gets, the tougher it is to pull in the heavyweights -- often resulting in intimate, unobstructed views of someone who sucks. Striking the balance: The Highline Ballroom, opening April 30, with tickets on sale this very second.

Highline's a smallish Chelsea theater that's refusing to let its size keep it from booking bigger acts. Capacity's just 700, considerably less than Irving Plaza (though more than that subway stop where that guy hypnotizes rats with a xylophone). Into this space they've crammed a 600 sq ft stage that hogs nearly 1/3 of the room. They've also installed a sound system that'll satisfy the most pain-in-the-ass musicians, with JBL VERTEC speakers, a Yamaha PM5D console, and other stuff that won't mean crap to you until a perfectly-mixed sonic fist ruins your pants.

The flexibility all this provides is borne out in the lineup, from opening night headliner Lou Reed to former Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna. Hit a show, and whether it's a legendary junkie or a guy who once famously sang, ""Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate!", you'll be close enough to feel the love.