L.A is full of live music and incredible venues. From stadiums to basement bars, you can find amazing concerts and events any night of the week. Here, Billabout recommends our favorite (and on the intimate side) spots to catch some tunes in the city of Angels.
1. On The Rox at “The Roxy”
The Roxy Theatre is the famous venue that rocks nightly on the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood. Think of On The Rox as its little brother with A.D.D…that stays up all night. The venue is a place where new artists are showcased – local L.A. band Airlines and up and coming white rapper Hoodie Allen have recently performed to heaving crowds here. Don’t forget to enter through the side door.
Pit stop: “The Rainbow Room” next door is a bikie-looking rock ‘n’ roll restaurant/bar that serves late.
The Echoplex on Sunset Boulevard is a music institution for the hipster Echo Parks suburb. Not to be confused with sister venue The Echo on Glendale Boulevard, although nobody – including live music gurus – ever knows what show is on at which venue. On any given night, you’ll find streams and streams of frantic and lost hipsters yelling, “Where’s the show?” The Echoplex is a great space, unpretentious and a huge draw card for indie bands. With a large stage and nightly shows, it also transforms into a roller skating ring. Hollar!
Pit stop: Echo Park outpost “El Compadre” is a cheap and delicious Mexican restaurant with flaming margaritas.
3. “Club Nokia”
Club Nokia is for the shows that make you dance. Royksopp, Robyn, The Presets – it doesn’t disappoint. An interesting club-like space that is always air-conditioned to perfection, it’s located downtown in the L.A. Live district, which also houses the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre. The top level of Club Nokia usually turns into a V.I.P after-party so it’s worth hanging out late there to chat up your favourite artists if you can get in.
Pit stop: “Katsuya”, also in L.A. Live, is the perfect venue to nosh Japanese fare at beforehand. In the winter you’ll also find an ice-skating ring.
4. “The Bootleg Theater”
The Bootleg Theater is a best-kept secret that everyone knows about. Located on Beverly Boulevard in Silverlake, it’s off the beaten track but well worth the effort. It looks like just a door from the outside but inside, it’s more like a large wooden barn where you’re bound to find one of your favourite folk artists playing. The White Arrows – a brilliant little L.A. indie band that soon might just hit the spotlight – is currently finishing up its residency. Free shows on Mondays.
Pit Stop: Stop off at “ChoSun Galbee Korean Barbecue”
5. “SkyBar” at the Mondrian Hotel
The SkyBar at the Mondrian might have an aura of pretentiousness about it but for the right artists it can be a perfect fit. A very Hollywood hangout, it happens to offer Live Music Fridays, which feature some pretty solid artists like Francis and the Lights, live on piano. It’s the type of space that commands artists that don’t need much fuss, live singers that can play alone on a grand piano or guitar. Adele would be a dream here. If you’re on vacation, come during the day to work on your tan and make an evening of it. People generally stand around the pool or recline on the lounge chairs and enjoy the bottle service. Check out the “Mondrian Sessions Facebook page” for concert dates and photos from past shows
Pit stop: “Asia de Cuba” is located adjacent to the bar and offers famed Asian fusion cuisine. Although it can be costly, the portions are generous, delicious and it’s romantic. If you can’t get into SkyBar, arrange a dinner here instead and enjoy the music from afar.
And one more for good luck…
“School Night”, every Monday at “Bardot” (formerly the Spider Club), is one of the best live music nights in L.A. It’s part of the Avalon building in Hollywood and has a rock-star-gothic-quasi-Mediterranean vibe. Past acts include The Naked and Famous, and Mr. Little Jeans. It’s always packed to capacity so make sure you get on the guest list early via the website “School Night”.
Pit stop: Stop at Roscoe’s“Roscoe’s” House of Chicken ‘n’ Waffles, which offers staple Southern cuisine, an indulgent and satisfying experience.
By Katrina Symonds