Downtown Akron AMPed up for new music venue

Seth Roy

AMP concert club is located at 328 S. Main St. in the heart of downtown Akron.

Credit: Seth Roy

There’s a new concert venue in town!

Well, it’s actually in Akron, but that’s close enough.

Billed as “Akron’s premier concert club” by its Web site, AMP Concert Club opened its doors Jan. 27 with a show featuring artists from Universal Studios. Other acts and events have included Mushroomhead and Girls Gone Wild. Tonight, the popular punk band The Clarks plays at 8 p.m.

The club, located on 328 S. Main St., is run by the same group that owns and books The Voodoo, also in Akron.

“We just needed a bigger venue,” said Rob Paden, booking agent and manager for AMP. “(We could) bring bigger shows to Akron.”

Paden also said he wants AMP to bring big acts that might normally go to Cleveland through Akron instead. AMP’s objective isn’t to compete with bars in Akron, such as The Lime Spider, because AMP and Voodoo are the two largest venues in Akron.

Dan Kemer, owner of The Lime Spider, said he doesn’t feel like the two venues are competing.

“Surrounding clubs are irrelevant to me,” he said. “We just take care of ourselves.”

The Lime Spider tries to focus on the community and local bands, with a few national acts in the mix. Also, The Lime Spider’s capacity is around half of AMP’s, which affects what kinds of bands it can book.

“The difference is night and day,” Kemer said, “about what they can book and what we can book.”

AMP is roughly the size of the Odeon, a medium-sized venue in Cleveland, Paden added, but has a somewhat unique layout.

“When you walk in,” he said, “there are two bars, one on each side, and a wide open floor.” The stage is in the back, and is seven-and-a-half feet tall. Underneath the stage, there is a tunnel that leads to a lounge for anyone to go to during shows, Paden continued. The lounge has a bar and some couches to lounge on.

Most of the events at AMP are for all ages, except for some recent events like Girls Gone Wild.

AMP caters to just about any genre of music, “from country to metal to jazz,” Paden said. “But no hip hop.”

Upcoming acts include Chimera, Lamb of God, Sevendust and Three Days Grace.

Another plus about AMP, Paden says, is that “we try to keep our ticket prices low.” Tickets typically range in price from $10 to $25. The target audience for the club is college students. “I was in college once, too,” he added. “I know what it’s like to have no money.”

Yet another upside for AMP patrons: The club keeps its alcohol prices as low as possible.

While clubs like the Agora sell alcohol for $5 or $6, AMP sells it for $2.50, Paden said.

Fittingly, AMP is located above the Whiskey Ranch in Akron, next to the Akron Aeros’ Canal Park.

“Location is key,” Paden said.

AMP, according to, stands for A Music Place. Paden confirmed this by saying “it is what it says.”

Contact Pop Arts Writer Seth Roy at [email protected].