Live Music in KC
When I have to fill out any sort of information form or survey that asks for interests and hobbies, I always include “attending concerts.” My husband and I LOVE attending live music shows and do so quite frequently. Whether you are a visitor to Kansas City or call KC home, you’ll find so many places to take in live music. Although not comprehensive, this list will give you a great start on where to hear some live tunes tonight!
Crossroads KC at Grinders
417 E. 18th St.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Located in the Crossroads Art District, Crossroads KC at Grinders is my personal favorite outdoor venue for live music. Each year they bring a diverse array of musical acts to the stage. The venue is the backyard, if you will, to Grinders restaurant (known for their Philly cheesesteaks and pizza). All tickets are general admission (they do have options of bleacher seating and VIP tickets, but I’ve never taken advantage of either), standing room only on wood chips. At some shows, lawn chairs are allowed, but that’s decided on a show-by-show basis and posted on the website 48 hours prior to the performance. If you’re looking for a night out to listen to live music under the stars, I highly recommend! With a great view of downtown, free parking and reasonably priced drinks, Crossroads KC makes for a great night out. So far on my list to catch there this summer are Elvis Costello and Rock the ’80s Tour (featuring the Romantics, the Smithereens and Bow Wow Wow).
Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
633 N. 130th St.
Bonner Springs, KS 66012
I didn’t grow up in Kansas City (I moved here for college in 1988 and have never left, so I consider myself almost a native) but to me, this will always be Sandstone. I know it’s been through several name changes since then, but I just can’t seem to adapt. I hadn’t attended a show here for several years and went back last summer for my first Dave Matthews show and I was impressed! The seats looked new and clean, the bathrooms were updated and the lawn area looked well-maintained. You have several options for seating at Providence: general admission seats on grass, general admission, standing room up close to the stage and reserved seats. If you choose lawn seats, be sure to bring a blanket. A sealed 1-liter bottle of water is also allowed in with you. You’ll definitely want that during the summer months!
Kansas City Live! (KC Live!)
1330 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64106
Kansas City Live! (KC Live!) is located in the heart of downtown KC, in the Power & Light District, which is directly across from the Sprint Center. I’ve seen just a couple of shows here with mixed results. The first show I saw was a local cover band. That performance wasn’t crowded and was a lot of fun. The next show I saw at KC Live! was with a touring band, and the venue was packed! The “it’s so crowded I can’t make it to the bathroom” packed. While I enjoyed the music, I didn’t enjoy being packed in like sardines. The venue itself is surrounded by many restaurants and has a lovely outdoor courtyard/bar/seating area. When taking in a show at Sprint Center, I highly recommend coming down early to enjoy relaxing in the KC Live! area pre-show. You can park somewhere along the streetcar line, ride the streetcar to the Sprint Center and enjoy some time in Power & Light before or after the show.
Kansas City, MO 64120
Not gonna lie. The first time I visited Knuckleheads, I was a bit put off. It was the early 2000s and during the middle of the day. My husband wanted to purchase tickets for an upcoming show, and we happened to be in the area, so he made a quick detour for tickets. We drove through a part of KC I hadn’t seen before, right by the train tracks, and pulled up to a “biker bar” (in the early days, the space was used to rehab motorcycles). Over the years, the place has evolved into a bustling live music venue, complete with four stages and throngs of people on any given night. If you are in the mood for live music, chances are good there is a show at Knuckleheads. Reasonable ticket prices make it the perfect place to take in a local favorite or check out a new group.
This list of spots just scratches the surface on places to take in a show. Kansas City offers many other outdoor locations, as well as numerous terrific indoor concert venues. To find a show, I suggest checking out JamBase.com. You can search for where a specific band is playing, as well as for shows near you.
Margaret Sarver has a busy concert calendar planned for 2017. She is most excited to see her favorite band, U2, playing one of her favorite albums, The Joshua Tree.