OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Anyone lucky enough to be in the packed, wall-to-wall audience for Beer City Music Hall’s opening night “secret” show already knows all they need to about OKC’s Nia Moné and her impressive stage presence.
For anyone that wasn’t there, let this be your signal that you need to get on Nia’s level.
Already a part of the Tower Theatre/Ponyboy staff, Moné was tasked to create the wild, pop-collage mural inside their new venue, but she says she never expected to be invited to christen the stage as well.
“I was actually working on the mural for Beer City already,” she told me. “I just so happened to be in one of our events meetings and they were talking about the event and which bands they wanted to open the venue and to my surprise they told me I was first on the bill!”
On Thursday night, March 31st, Stephen Tyler and Chad Whitehead, lead operators of Tower, Ponyboy, and now Beer City, took the stage to a rapture of excitement and gratitude from music fans who had been long awaiting the launch of the years-in-development venue. After thanks, toasts, and deafening applause, they announced Moné as the first of the night’s surprise performers, and the first artist to grace the brand-new stage.
“It felt amazing to be up there,” Moné said. “I definitely was nervous right before and even for the first few lines of the first song, but when I realized I had quite a few familiar faces in the front, it made me a lot calmer. It wasn’t so much the size of the crowd that made me nervous, it was how important that event was to the city.”
Once she got into her groove, it was on.
Blending old-school Soul and R&B with the swagger, urgency, and overt sexuality of modern Hip-Hop and Pop, Moné needed only about one minute on stage to capture the audience’s attention. The doors had already been open for a couple of hours, the drinks had been flowing fast, and the crowd wanted to dance.