Rock the Brick

Ali Harter
Photo: Mark Hancock

Friday nights this summer, the streets of Bricktown are louder — but in a good way, as the outdoor summer concert series known as Lower Bricktown Live returns to rock the public and, hopefully, drive more commerce to the area.

That’s been the plan since the series’ inception in 2010.

According to Dot Rhyne, executive producer of the Chevy Music Showcase, developers and managers of lower Bricktown wanted to create some sort of activity that would help lure foot traffic during the summer months.

“And they were making noise about doing some kind of outdoor concert,” Rhyne said.

As a result, Lower Bricktown Live was born, presented by the Oklahoma Chevy Team Dealers and Downtown Oklahoma City Inc.

The concerts, which ran on consecutive Thursday nights for the series’ first three years, proved popular for the most part, Rhyne said. For this year’s 10-show installment, which began June 14, the series has moved to Friday nights at Lower Bricktown Plaza, in an effort to catch more people on their way out from restaurants or Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.

Already, the switch has proven successful.

“It’s really kicking into a great gear this year. [On Thursdays], honestly, we had some hits and misses, and we were up against the Thunder
playoffs for the first few shows of last year’s season,” Rhyne said.
“Friday’s a busier night. We have a bigger, built-in crowd and Brewer
Entertainment stepped up and helped out by loaning us a bigger stage
presentation. Our first two shows this year have just been
off-the-charts awesome.”

She
believes the series has more than done its job in attracting new and
returning patrons, because each successive concert grows more crowded.

She attributed this to it being a “different kind of show” compared to other events in the city.

“It’s
free, it’s family-friendly, it’s a very comfortable environment.
There’s lots to do around the show,” Rhyne said, noting dining, movies
and RedHawks baseball games.

“We
just catch a lot of that natural Bricktown traffic. But for some
people, it’s become a destination event. They bring their lawn chairs
and they’ve got the kids in tow and they come specifically for that
purpose.”


Cami Stinson and Matt Stansberry

Good vibes
Representing
modern country, Southern blues rock and singer/songwriters,
respectively, Lower 40, Smokey Lonesome and Ali Harter kicked off this
summer’s Lower Bricktown Live series. Friday brings indie pop’s Fos and
rock’s Mont Lyons to the stage, with half a dozen more acts to follow,
through Aug. 16.

Artists
are excited to be a part of the lineup because, Rhyne said, it’s a
“great way to show off their talent and remind everybody that there is a
very vibrant, healthy music scene. It really adds to the energy of the
city.”

Lower 40 lead singer Kyle Earhart agreed and said he’s seen a dramatic rise in his band’s fan base because of the series.

“It
gives live bands an opportunity to get their music out there,” he said.
“There’s free promotion, free radio commercials. It boosted our likes
on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter; it boosted everything. The fact
that we get to go downtown, on our own stage, with our own stuff and be
able to play our own music for a lot of people we don’t even know, is
just an awesome opportunity.”

For
Matt Stansberry, scheduled to play the Aug. 16 closing with his band,
The Romance, an added bonus exists in branching out and interacting with
the crowd in a way that is almost impossible from an indoor stage.

“Any
time you get in front of people to play, even if you’ve done it a lot,
it’s good to get out and practice your craft,” Stansberry said. “The way
that I play, even the stuff that’s rehearsed, I always have a little
bit of an improv element to what I do to keep me on my toes. So it’s
always writing on the spot, filling in the gaps in places. That’s how I
like to play music.

“This
particular venue allows me to perform like that in front of a
particular audience that I don’t always get in front of, because a lot
of it is people passing by and saying, ‘Oh, cool, I wanna check out this
music.’ Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it and will come back to see me play
someplace different.”

The
more opportunities like Lower Bricktown Live available to musicians and
the listening public, the more the OKC culture grows, he said.

“We
need more of these types of things. The arts and music of Oklahoma City
is extremely important for a thriving culture. If you get rid of that
stuff, you’ll have a pretty bland town,” Stansberry said. “I think it’s a
sign of how Oklahoma City has grown; people are starting to notice us
on a national and international level. This is just a natural part of
it.” —Louis Fowler

Defining Times

Lower lineup
Aside
from Friday’s double shot of Fos and Mont Lyons, plan on seeing these
acts taking the Lower Bricktown Live stage this summer:
July 12: Honeyhouse
July 19: FM Pilots
July 26: Adam & Kizzie
Aug. 2: The Effinays
Aug. 9: Defining Times
Aug. 16: Matt Stansberry & the Romance


Timing is everything

Lower
Bricktown Live has made a change in its fourth consecutive year
bringing local music out and entertainment seekers in and around the
plaza.

Musicians
will perform at 8 p.m., an hour later than in previous series. The
change means not only cooler temperatures, but reeling in more weekend
traffic to the event, said Jeannette Smith, executive director of
Bricktown Association.

“The corner of Mickey Mantle and Reno is really part of the synergy of Bricktown,” Smith said. —Molly Evans 

Hey! Read This:
Ali Harter interview
Chevy Music Showcase feature       
Defining Times at SXSW 2013      
Matt Stansberry & the Romance’s Let’s Brighten It Up album review      

Louis Fowler

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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