The Daily Gamecock

Columbia's local music scene: 5 unique venues to get your live music fix

<p>A picture of a sign that says 'The New Brookland Tavern' on July 25, 2022. The sign hangs above the entrance of the smallest and one of the oldest concert venues in Columbia.&nbsp;</p>
A picture of a sign that says 'The New Brookland Tavern' on July 25, 2022. The sign hangs above the entrance of the smallest and one of the oldest concert venues in Columbia. 

From big arenas that can sit thousands to smaller venues with a much more intimate vibe, Columbia’s local music scene has it all. Here are five places to listen to live music and their lineups for the upcoming fall. 

Township Auditorium

The Township Auditorium was built in 1930 and has been a staple in Columbia since its opening. The auditorium has a 3,099 seating capacity and is located downtown at 1703 Taylor St. Township has a rich history, with many different acts having performed there over the years, such as Elvis Presley, The Avett Brothers, Widespread Panic, Migos, Rainbow Kitten Surprise and many others. 

“Anybody can find a show to see at the Township for sure,” Andrew Horne, assistant director at Township, said. “When you open the doors and you feel like you’re part of something big where a lot of people are coming to have fun and you’re a big part of it. I think that that’s a great feeling.”

Township is also connected to USC with Horne and a number of other staff being alumni from the Sports and Entertainment Management program through which they hire many of their interns. Township hosts multiple EDM shows that draw a college aged crowd and is a happy medium between smaller and larger venues in Columbia.

“There’s not really a bad seat in the house. It sounds good everywhere,” Horne said. "What’s great about Columbia is we have the smaller venues like New Brookland Tavern going up to the Senate, which is kind of in the middle, then (Township), and then Colonial Life Arena. There’s definitely a place to see a show — any size show you want to see — and all of us put on a great mix of shows.”

For fall 2022, Township has a variety of artists coming to perform. Highlights include Patti Labelle — the Godmother of Soul — on Sept. 2,  old-time string band Old Crow Medicine Show on Sept. 10 and indie rock band Mt. Joy with the Brook & the Bluff on Oct. 20.

Colonial Life Arena

The largest concert venue in Columbia, Colonial Life Arena is home to USC basketball, but the arena also hosts various other events, including concerts. With a seating capacity of 18,600, many big acts have performed at Colonial Life such as Darius Rucker, Imagine Dragons and Beyoncé.

Colonial Life is attracting big names for the upcoming fall, like Pitbull for his Can't Stop Us Now Tour on Oct. 12 and Post Malone on his Twelve Carat Tour with Roddy Ricch on Oct. 15.

New Brookland Tavern

The smallest venue on this list goes to New Brookland, whose capacity of 250 people lends to a more intimate atmosphere. Self-proclaimed as one of Columbia's oldest and longest-running music venues, New Brookland has booked both national acts like Indigo De Souza and locally loved bands like Stagbriar. 

“New Brookland has always been known for being in the realm of booking national touring shows, regardless of size,” Carlin Thompson, booking coordinator for New Brookland, said. “It’s a good opportunity for people to be kind of more up close and personal with some of these national touring acts … but that’s just kind of always been the neat factor of New Brookland.”

New Brookland, according to Thompson, pays attention to the college students in the area and makes connections with any who come in, whether they are pursing music, wanting to work in production or just want to listen to any genre of live music. 

“Obviously, there’s not a whole lot for college students to do in Columbia, so we do try to pay attention to who they’re into,” Thompson said. “Whenever we have a show, where everybody’s just 100% full energy into the music, singing along … that’s another thing that makes me enjoy what I do is seeing how excited people are when somebody either covers a song or if they are just hearing a simple song come on.”

New Brookland has many events up on their website for each unique music taste. For those who are looking for a long-time established metal hardcore band, The Acacia Strain is headlining on Sept. 17. Music fans who enjoy the classics can attend the Guardians of the Jukebox event,  "A Tribute to the 80s" on Sept. 25. Finally, anyone looking to enjoy some indie rock music, can catch Oso Oso on Nov. 5. 

While this is only a glimpse into New Brookland's packed lineup for the fall, the tavern is always updating its Instagram with new acts and events. 

The Tin Roof

Neighbor to the Senate and one half of Columbia’s Live Music Block, The Tin Roof is a chain based out of Nashville. However it has plenty of local personality and community that welcomes any and all music acts, with a definitive "country music vibe."

The Tin Roof provides a comfortable and safe environment for college students, having hosted functions for Greek Life, helping to celebrate 21st birthdays or just being one of the only "come and dance" bars in the Vista.

“You can just go and dance and hangout, feel safe, taken care of, where the bartenders aren’t just gonna poke at you or scream at you,” Talon Rawls, the assistant manager at the Tin Roof, said. “(You) can actually get a drink, hang out, sit down or get up on the stage. Go dance and cut loose. We welcome any and all (college students).”

On Sept. 8, the Tin Roof is hosting a Taylor Swift Night, followed by country artist Ashley Wineland and rock band Too Hot For Leather on Sept. 9. Country artist Haley Mae Campbell, whose single 'Never Been in Love' went viral on TikTok, will also be performing on Sept. 15. 

The Senate

The other half of Columbia’s Live Music Block and neighbor to The Tin Roof, The Senate is a 1,200 capacity concert venue in the Vista that has hosted both local and national talent, most notably Morgan Wallen, Wallows, J. Cole and many more. There is something for everybody, whether you're a fan of country, rap, pop, alternative or somewhere in between. 

For the fall, the Senate will be welcoming alternative southern rock band the Vegabonds on Sept. 16, genre-experimenter Teddy Swims on Sept. 27 and pop sensation Tai Verdes of 'Stuck In The Middle' fame on Sept. 30.