Best Concert Venues in Los Angeles, Where to Start?
Going to see live music
is one of our favorite things to do. If you love music and you are in
Los Angeles, whether you live here or just visiting, there is no shortage
of great venues hosting every type of music under the sun. The city has
a vast array of venues, that come in every size, shape, style and form
imaginable. Of course, most people prefer to see a band that they know
and like, but even if it is someone you have never heard before, one of
best things to do around town is take in new live music - especially at
smaller clubs. There is something special about the energy of these small
clubs with loud music banging and bouncing off the walls surrounded by
sweaty, frenzied music-lovers. But that is merely our preference. Back
to the point. The following is some information about some of the most
popular venues. This information should be helpful to concertgoers, as
well as to out-of-town bands deciding where to book gigs. Before we delve
into venue descriptions, here is a short list of what we think are some
of the best concert venues around town (in no particular order): Knitting
Factory LA, The Troubadour, Avalon, Little Temple, Spaceland, The Echoplex,
Ford Amphitheatre, the Hollywood Bowl, Key Club, House of Blues, The Greek
Theatre, Hendry Fonda Theatre and The Wiltern. Below are a few scoops
on our favorite concert venues.
Being New York City transplants, one of our favorite music venues is the Knitting Factory. Started in 1987 by Michael Dorf on Houston Street in Lower Manhattan, the venue is reknown for bringing avant garde, experimental music to the people. Initially the venue was supposed to be an art gallery with a performance space and cafe, as well as a home for experimental music. However, it quickly emerged as a home for sounds that could not be categorized at the time. Artists like Sonic Youth, Sound of Urchin, Cassandra Wilson, Yo La Tengo, Cecil Taylor, Cluster and Bill Frisell played there amoung many others. That tradition was brought to the West Coast a few years back, with the opening of the Knitting Factory LA in Hollywood. This New York-based music institution has staked a sizable claim on the more eclectic side of the L.A. live music scene with a massive, multi-level venue dropped right in the heart of Hollywood, just a couple blocks west of the consumer rampage at Highland. The main concert hall is a large, inviting room, the capacity is around 525, which regularly hosts big-time acts like the Roots and PJ Harvey along side local hip-hop act, Danish rock and an assortment of other sounds not to be seen in your typical venue. The Knitting Factory is located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Another favorite venue, Avalon, is located on Vine Street, right in the heart of downtown Hollywood, just around the corner from Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. The Avalon, formerly the Palace, changed the name a few years after remodeling. Adourned with red carpets, big dramatic curtains, it has the vibe of a traditional Hollywood club. Most shows are all ages, however, they do have a full bar. It has a large floor level in the front, and behind that are VIP tables. On the second story is a carpeted area with several levels, where you can watch the show in a more relaxed setting. There is a large lobby where bands usually set up tables to sell merchandise. This is swell because it doesn’t get as crowded in this area, and you can actually have a conversation with someone. Overall, this is one of the best venues to see music in town. Avalon is located at 1735 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028.
It would be amiss to not mention The Troubadour when discussing LA music venues. The legendary club has been launching the careers of contemporary musicians and peformers in Los Angeles since 1957. Legends such as James Taylor, Elton John, John Lennon and Tom Waits who performed here at the beginning of their careers. It continues to be a priority destination of some of the most cutting-edge music from around the globe. The venue is one of the favorite destinations of locals and travelers alike, because of its small, casual, easy to get a drink style. And you can actually see the artists playing. The Troubadour also remains a popular venue among serious music fans who enjoy listening to live music in an intimate and historically rich setting. If you have not been, you must go! The Troubadour is located 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Another little music gem is Little Temple. For those of you who want to get away from the over-priced “bottle service” of the Hollywood scene, this intimate East Hollywood club is ideal. And it hosts popular monthlies, such as Joshua Silverstein’s Reflection and the cutting-edge, Strictly Social brought to you by Nu-Soul Mag. A favorite destination of inner-city urbanites, hip hop heads, grooveful sould and funky beats. Little Temple is located at 4519 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029 at the corner of Virgil and Santa Monica.
These are handful of venues to springboard concert-goers into the vast, wonderful world of the LA music scene. There are hundreds of other venues around town to see great live music, but we feel these venues are a great start and great starting point to launch your music exploration.