Los Angeles is where musicians come to break into the industry and thus it supplies a nearly limitless array of establishments and activities to sustain the music lover’s soul. From the big names flowing freely through the iconic Hollywood Bowl to the bands just getting their foot in the door at The Satellite, L.A. offers something for everyone.
The Hollywood Bowl, is located in the heart of Hollywood proper just a mere three blocks from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Established in 1922, the open air theater takes advantage of L.A.’s yearly 329 days of sunshine and utilizes the temperate evenings which typically feature a soft breeze straight from the local mountains. Past concerts have included M83, Vampire Weekend, The XX, Earth Wind and Fire, John Williams, Kristin Chenoweth and Yo-Yo Ma. Beyond the rock bands and classical masters that grace the stage weekly, they also host special events like the annual Sound of Music Sing-along, classical music nights, and ABBA fest. The concert season usually starts in June and ends in September.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a much more modern addition to LA’s musical landscape. Completed in 2003 after a slew of budget and construction setbacks, the hall is now home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In true Hollywood fashion, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is frequently used as a set for television shows and movies; on occasion studios even use it for movie premiers. The venue is frequently praised for its superior acoustics and the orchestra’s ability to play on the space’s special nuances to bring even more life to their performances. Both an architectural wonder and classical music lover’s dream, everyone should see a concert here at least once. You haven’t heard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll until you’ve heard it reverberating off these walls.
If your heart speeds up at the thought of discovering unsigned indie bands, check out one of the many smaller music venues peppered throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Venues like Hotel Café, The Mint, Troubadour, The Satellite, and The Roxy Theater feature up and coming bands you can see in the comfort of your corner bar before they are selling out the Staples Center. Each one has its own charm. From Hipster to Hole in the Wall these smaller venues offer an intimate music experience with small but dedicated crowds. There is nothing quite like twenty ounces of PBR, L.A.’s perpetual summer, and a good band that no one has ever heard of.
Amoeba Records is a mecca for the world’s record collectors. Taking up an entire city block, it is officially the world’s largest independently owned record store. Well educated staff and two epic floors of records, CDs, movies, and memorabilia can easily take up an entire weekend if you decide to comb through everything they have to offer. If you are looking for something obscure, Amoeba is a good place to start. For example, they actually had a copy of the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack, new and still plastic wrapped fifteen years after the movie’s theatrical release. Beyond their boasted millions of music items for sale, they are also an acclaimed concert venue.
Follow them on twitter @AmoebaRecords for frequent chances to score free tickets to upcoming shows. Get there when they open, park in the garage below the store and make a day of it.
The Grammy Museum is 30,000 square feet of music history all in one building. Spread out over four floors, music memorabilia reigns supreme. On display you’ll find something from every aspect of the music business from industrial grade recording equipment to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Current special and traveling exhibits highlight music legends such as The Beach Boys, Ringo Star, Michael Jackson, and Boy Dylan. This museum is also home to the 200-seat Clive Davis Theater which is currently used to show special backstage footage from the 50th annual Grammy Celebration. On top of its priceless collection of music paraphernalia, the museum has taken it upon themselves to educate a new generation of music enthusiasts. Their educational programs encompass all things music, and are available to kids in grades six through twelve.
From the star-studded sidewalk pointing the way to one of Hollywood’s longest living venues to the newest dive bar showcasing the city’s finest musical surprises, the smog and smut of Los Angeles offers themselves up as a havens for music’s apt pupils.
What’s your favorite venue to experience music?