WHERE TO GO: The musical menu in Atlanta depends upon the night of the week; many clubs rotate musical styles nightly, so call ahead if you're in the mood for something specific. Here's a rough sketch of what to expect at some select spots: For R&B and hip-hop, try the spacious, neon-doused MJQ Concourse (404-870-0575) or Kaya Club and Bistro (404-874-4460), where the upscale crowd enjoys the swanky bar and large dance floor. Jazz plays at the Sambuca Jazz Café (404-237-5299) or the multifaceted Smith's Olde Bar (404-875-1522), which counts pool tables, dartboards, and a foosball table among its assets. Seeking rock? Try the Dark Horse Tavern & Grill (404-873-3607), The Echo Lounge (404-681-3600), or The Star Community Bar (404-681-9018), with its rockabilly bands, Elvis shrine, and wicked martinis.

While the scene in the broader San Francisco area is still vibrant, and definitely worth a listen, many musicians have left the city itself in the wake of the infringing high-tech industry. The city itself is a study in the complexities of maintaining a thriving music scene.

Live 105 FM's "The DJ with No Name" explains that skyrocketing rents have hit some clubs and practice facilities hard. "It was getting harder and harder for local bands in San Francisco," he says, but adds that with the recent troubles in the high-tech economy, the huge costs have started to come down and a few new clubs have opened.

But while San Francisco proper may still be suffering, areas outside the city's shadow have had the chance to blossom. Says No Name, "The dot-com invasion is one of the reasons why a lot of national acts are starting to come out of the East Bay and other local areas."

A short drive across the San Francisco Bay Bridge, East Bay is where acts such as Green Day, Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, Tupac, and the Digital Underground were formed. And just 30 miles south is San Jose, where recent chart-topper Smash Mouth got its start.