Best Live Music Venues in KC

Hello again! Scott Asner here. Many of you know that music is one of my passions, and Kansas City is a vibrant hub for music lovers. With such an active live music scene and breadth of genres, it’s no wonder that KC is home to some fantastic venues. Today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite spots to see live music shows in Kansas City.

The RecordBar

Steve Tulipana’s RecordBar perfects the balance between small, local artists and internationally famous performers. RecordBar has been open for over 15 years and has had two locations, and survived through the height of the pandemic— and it’s easy to see why. Great shows, genres for any musical palate, and a welcoming-community-feel result in a venue with a lot of appeal. Any music lover will see that RecordBar is a top-notch example of what Kansas City has to offer.

Lemonade Park

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lemonade Park is a new addition to the Kansas City music scene. Created by Steve Tulipana (co-owner of the RecordBar) along with Wes Gartner and Jill Myers (co-owners of Voltaire), Lemonade Park was conceptualized as a way for the community to gather safely and support local musicians during the pandemic. This hip outdoor venue is tucked in a lot in the Stockyards District, offering food and drink from Voltaire. Lemonade Park’s casual setting is a great place to enjoy local music and cold drinks on a summer night.

The Rino

The Rino is a youthful, intimate venue, and a perfect slice of KC culture. Whether you’re a born-and-raised local or a first time visitor, the Rino is sure to please. They offer a rotating selection of beer on tap, and their menu often features local breweries such as Colony Ales. As well as hosting small shows, the Rino also offers open-mic comedy nights on Wednesdays.

KC Live!

KC Live! is a bustling concert venue with a covered outdoor stage, often featuring popular musicians and bands from around the nation and the world. Located in the heart of the power and light district, KC Live! is also a great spot for food and drink, with lots of options available. If you’re seeing a show at KC Live!, you’re bound to have a good time.

Kansas City Music Hall

The Music Hall at the Kansas City Convention Center is a spacious venue for musical performances and other world-class stage productions. This timeless spot opened in 1936 and has been a gem in the crown of Kansas City’s entertainment scene ever since. An evening at the Music Hall makes for a great outing.

No matter what your favorite genre is, there is something for everyone in KC! Next time you’re looking to get a taste of Kansas City’s music scene, I hope you’ll visit one of these venues.

~ Scott Asner, wannabe musician and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Are Live Music Tours Going Extinct?

Hello everyone, Scott Asner here. Music has always been a big part of my life. While I’m in no way, shape, or form a musician, I do love music, particularly, live music. A good tune heard during a live performance can be quite transformative. Maybe it’s me. I’m Old School with things like that.

Some of my younger readers may not know, and others won’t remember, how the record industry used to work before the internet was born. It was surprisingly simple before all the bells and whistles, or e-bells and e-whistles.

Record labels contracted with artists to create albums of songs. The record label would handle all the marketing to make sure the world had a chance to hear the artist’s music, and the record label would often handle the distribution of the music through physical media such as records, tapes or CDs. The only way a person could enjoy recorded music was by buying the physical recording or by listening to the radio. With music being restricted to those pathways, people were willing to pay money to have access to it. Artists and record labels, as well as producers, engineers, mixers and masterers, could make a great living from even modest sales. They could make millions from a hit.

For obvious reasons that changed substantially when Napster began. Once people learned they could get music for free, the cat was out of the bag. Later on, with streaming, it became clear that artists could no longer support themselves purely through album sales. Which brings us right back to live performances.

I’m a huge fan of live music. It is truly the best way to experience an artist’s work, and the energy you get from a live show is simply unmatched anywhere. Nowadays, artists are really forced to spend a lot of time on the road if they are going to make any significant income. The issue I have is this: It costs a LOT of money to put together a tour and it takes a whole lot of effort from lots of people. The investment an artist makes in touring is a big risk, and if they have enough of a following to support major ticket sales, they’ll find themselves bankrupt. The desire to dedicate their lives to music may remain, but the reality on the ground will almost certainly lead them to some other field. Who knows, the world may have just lost the next Bob Dylan. So, it certainly seems live music tours are in peril. Will they vanish? Only time will tell.

~ Scott Asner, wannabe musician and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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