An excellent and complimentary recent article in the Washington Post describes the current Birmingham music scene.
Back when I was in college, you could always find a variety of performances, and there were quite a few out-of-the-way coffee bars and clubs that brought in some great acts, like the Moonlight Music Cafe, frequented by none other than the indomitable Eric Peters.
For some up-and-coming B'ham rock, you might want to check out newly signed Moses Mayfield -- Matt Taylor (with the amazing afro) was a friend of mine at BSC. Besides being their keyboardist, he also loves jazz and is one accomplished sax man!
HT to keelthepot for the article link.