Best Live-Music Venue San Francisco 2004 - The Independent
When the Justice League closed more than a year ago, a lot of us gave up hope that the space at 628 Divisadero -- which has played home to a never-ending parade of doomed concert halls over the last two decades -- would reopen. But in February, it did just that, with a bang. Boasting new owners, newly upgraded facilities, and a new promoter booking its shows -- none other than Another Planet Entertainment, the indie promotions company that's giving Clear Channel a run for its money in the Bay Area -- the Independent has set itself up to be the city's premier midsize juke joint. Its sound system packs a crisp, clean wallop, and the lighting is professional without being gaudy. Bigger and better equipped than, say, the Bottom of the Hill, yet with an appealingly cavelike ambience and amazing sightlines, the place has already hosted some unbeatable performers, including Frank Black, the Stills, Madvillain, and De La Soul. Finally this town has a concert venue that's big enough to host top talent yet small enough to keep things intimate.