Where Do Our Nation’s Toughest Live Entertainment Critics Live? Find Out!
With more than a million live event reviews on our site, we couldn’t help but wonder if certain cities might be tougher critics than others. But what we really wanted to know is: Which city is the toughest critic of them all?
Before we reveal the hierarchy of harshness, here’s the science behind the list: We pulled together the lowest ratings (1 or 2 stars out of 5) from our 19 biggest cities and sorted the results from most to least. (Keep in mind, we’re slicing the onion very thin here. Low ratings make up anywhere from 3% to 8% of total ratings, depending on the city. So even the harshest of cities is overwhelmingly positive.)
Here’s how the critics stack up. Where did your city land?
Toughest Critic: Miami
That’s right: Tropical Miami ranks top in toughness. And they’re not just No. 1 in low ratings; they’re also dead last in high ratings (4-5 stars), which is unexpected given Miami’s vibrant, upbeat reputation. Could it be the heat and humidity? Or is it maybe road-rage spillover from all that crazy Miami driving?
Not surprisingly, famously opinionated New York and two of the Lone Star State’s major cities — Houston and Dallas — also make the Top 5. But then another beach city, San Diego, rounds out the batch, which tells us at least one thing: When you live in a sun-splashed town surrounded by bikini bodies, it takes a LOT to impress you.
Kindest Critics: Portland & Baltimore
Which cities are most generous with high ratings (4 and 5 stars)? Portland — the city of microbrews, coffeehouses and delicious donuts — lives up to its reputation for all-around niceness, tying for No. 1 Kindest Critic, both for its overwhelming number of high ratings (90% are 4 or 5 stars) and for its super low number of negative ratings (only 4% are 1 or 2 stars).
Portland’s co-conspirator in kindness is about as different from the bike-riding Northwest as you can get. The East Coast city of Baltimore, which swaps out the microbrews and donuts for “Natty Bohs” and fresh crab, isn’t necessarily where you’d expected the nation’s kindest critics to live. It’s a bustling big city struggling with high rates of unemployment and crime. Yet, it’s also a city with one of the best live music scenes in the nation, tons of sports fans, and a vibrant arts and literary community. And when it comes to reviewing those events, Baltimore lives up to its nickname of Charm City, giving just as many high ratings as Portland, and even fewer low ratings (only 3.6% of all ratings are 1 or 2 stars).