The live music scene in Oklahoma City has never been healthier due to the opening of several venues over the past several years. From arena shows to outdoor amphitheaters, intimate listening rooms and mid-sized venues for indie darlings, Oklahoma City now has a home for any act. Here is a rundown of places to see live music in OKC. However, don’t take this as an exhaustive list. If you know of a great place to catch music in OKC that we didn’t mention, give us a shout in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.
Chesapeake Energy Arena – While it is most famous as the home to the Thunder, the ‘Peake is also where the biggest names in music make their stops in Oklahoma City. Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Billy Joel and Elton John are just a handful of artists who have played there over the years. Justin Timberlake, Blake Shelton, Kiss, Pink, Kenny Chesney, Ariana Grande, 21 Pilots, Carrie Underwood and Chris Stapleton already have shows booked for this year.
The Criterion – Opening in 2016, The Criterion is located in east Bricktown. This 4,000-seat-capacity venue is across the street from the Steelyard development in a suddenly hot quarter of OKC’s premiere entertainment district. My Morning Jacket, Explosions in the Sky, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, The xx and Lil Wayne have all played there. Maren Morris, Justin Moore, Hozier and Death Cab for Cutie are just a handfuls of artists with upcoming shows at the venue.
The Tower Theater – a lot of excitement has surrounded the resurrection of one of the “grand old dames” of OKC’s early movie house scene. The main space has room for 700 standing on the main floor and an additional 264 (seated) in the balcony, and a smaller “studio” space handles 100 standing or 50 seated. One of the Tower’s strengths is the diverse acts the venue books.
The Jones Assembly –The Jones Assembly is a renovated, 100-year-old, 20,000-square-foot space on Film Row (just south of the 21C Museum Hotel) featuring a 1,600-capacity performance venue as well as a true dining destination. Acts like Jeff Tweedy, Jenny Lewis, Brothers Osborne and St. Paul & the Broken Bones are on the calendar in the coming months.
ACM@UCO Performance Lab – this performance space in Bricktown hosts plenty of touring acts in addition to ACM@UCO gigs (which is itself a pretty cool story, speaking of music), seating 200 and 500 standing. The Lab has hosted Dr. Dog, Sean Lennon, Okkervil River and Ben Taylor.
In addition to the new venues, stalwarts like the Zoo Ampitheater, the Diamond Ballroom and indie-focused venues Opolis and 89th Street Collective are still booking great shows and adding diversity to OKC’s live music scene.