So you have about $50 left from your last paycheck, and you’re absolutely itching for a live show. Britney Spears’ tour might be fully under way, with everything from a motorcycle to tons of confetti, but there is also a much smaller concert scene that is alive and well. If you haven’t ventured past or heard of concert venues besides the rowdy, traffic-causing Staples Center and similar locations, there is a treasure trove of smaller and more affordable places to see some great acts. This summer, add some more excitement to your lazy days by exploring Los Angeles’ more affordable and intriguing music venues.
The El Rey Theatre
5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; theelrey.com
Walking into the El Rey Theatre is a little like time traveling. The location is a bona-fide historical monument, an eras-ago movie house that in 1994 was made into the fancy, nostalgic concert venue it is today. This venue is standing room only, but rest assured you will feel like you’re somewhere else altogether, with a chandelier hanging over your head and the stage hidden by a red velvet curtain. There is even a self-proclaimed “diner-style cafe” to soothe your munchies.
The venue is similar to the Troubadour in terms of its close, cozy settings and is all ages (so you can bring the whole family, if you want to). Tickets are also a steal, and upcoming shows include STRFKR ($18) Aug. 11 and Peter Bjorn and John ($25) Oct. 5. The venue is also semi-close to LACMA and the Grove so you can enjoy art, food and shopping during the day before enjoying a great show at night.
The Music Box
6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; themusicbox.la
Built even before the El Rey Theatre, the Music Box is a little roomier but also offers some fun acts at decent prices. The locale was also used to play movies before being taken under the wing by Henry Fonda and having Broadway shows as the Henry Fonda Theatre. Afterwards, with many renovations, the Music Box became a legitimate venue for big and small acts.
When you visit, you can choose to be up close to your artists in a general standing room area or the balcony and get a breath of fresh air on the rooftop for a more lofty experience. Upcoming shows include Fitz and The Tantrums ($30) July 22 and James Blake ($36) Sept. 18. If you’re still hungry afterwards, Palms Thai nearby is open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and until midnight the rest of the week. They’ve got hefty servings and even a little old man who likes to sing Elvis tunes.
9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; troubadour.com
Opened in 1957, the Troubadour is a cozy but history-ridden venue in West Hollywood. Here, you can look up at the stage where Elton John was first introduced to the United States, Lou Adler discovered Cheech and Chong and Korn played their first Los Angeles show. The venue is standing room only, which makes for an intimate show with any given artist. So it’s no surprise that in 2009, the Troubadour won “Best Venue in Los Angeles” from NBC.
The icing on the cake is that most of the tickets are affordable, and both small and better-known bands grace the stage, making any live show a steal. Upcoming concerts include Colbie Caillat ($27.50-$30) July 14 and Yuck ($13-$15) July 30. The trick is to check the calendar often, as the biggest shows, like Cypress Hill’s 20th anniversary concert, sell out quickly. West Hollywood’s also got a great nightlife scene, so if the concert ends early you can always walk a couple blocks to a myriad of bars, a considerably large American Apparel and Millions of Milkshakes.
Article posted on 7/13/2011
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