As we wind down the year and get
ready to head off for the summer, I find myself sad to go. I’m not sure
if I was just missing out on the wonderland that is L.A. for my first two years here
or if the underground music scene actually did decide to properly ooze out of
the cracks this semester, but the city hasn’t been in finer form in years.
L.A.’s musical world doesn’t begin and end with Burger Records
and the Smell, and if you’ve had your ear to the ground recently, you might
have picked up on some ridiculous venues and promoters working hard to bring in outside artists while supporting the ever-crucial local wellspring
of talent. From spaced-out tropical disco parties to gassed club nights to
moody gatherings for maladjusted youth, L.A.’s nightlife offers weird sonics of every
If you’ve got no idea
what I’m talking about, though, I’m here for you. Earlier in the semester, I
attempted a concert calendar as a way of answering the intimidating question of
how to actually find shows, but it was hard to
actually keep up, and that would have felt way too commercial anyway. So
instead, here I present a
guide to some of my personal favorite venues, promoters and parties, and a
present for all those stuck in the Claremont bubble over the summer months.
My favorite venue has
been and remains Jewel’s Catch One. Having become the de facto home of the
Church Off York’s expert booking crew and established a close relationship
with some of the best promoters in the city, their calendar is a buy-on-sight
affair, covering club sounds like L.A.’s own Fade To Mind crew as often as
ever-rising bizarre club night Threshold, thrown by the Arizona outfit Ascetic
House. It’s a strange place for strange people, and it’s rather proud of
Over in Glendale, Complex gives Jewel’s a run for their
money. Their soundsystem, one of the only
Funktion-Ones around, is hilariously complemented by the small space. They’ve recently become the home of a ridiculous number of regular club nights.
Out of Body kicked off at the beginning of this year, but within three lineups
has cultivated an intense, hypnotic aesthetic, having booked Ital, Aurora
Halal, D’Marc Cantu and MNDSGN. Heady beats for proper heads.
Verified’s first session happened last week, featuring the absurd combination
of Ahnnu, SFV Acid and Soul Ipsum. It’s such a scatterbrained, polyglot lineup
that anything seems possible for them. Combine all
that with the guts to book intense metal acts like Anaal Nathrakh or minimal
wave legends Severed Heads’ first show in 25 years, and you have one of the
best venues west of the Mississippi.
The Lash, while definitely lacking in the soundsystem
department, is similarly well-connected. They’re the regular home of Southern
Hospitality, what I wouldn’t hesitate to call LA’s best hip-hop night.
they often team with IHEARTCOMIX’s resident clubheads, Club IHC, to bring in Jersey
club acts like DJ Sliink and MikeQ. Next Friday, their show with Sinjin Hawke
and Zora Jones is the place to be.
If you’re picking up on a theme of tracking particular
promoters and party planners rather than just venues, you’re right on the mark.
Navigating spotty calendars is much easier if you know whose curatorial
skills to trust.
Los Globos, for
example, throws so many shows that it can be hard to sort out the wheat from
the chaff, but if you see the Club Called Rhonda name next to a lineup, you
know you’re in for a night of, as they put it, “POLYSEXUAL HARD PARTYING.”
Similarly, I can only recommend Lot 613 based on the presence of PrototypeLA, a
night that specializes in big-room house sounds like Bicep and Matthew Dear,
and I’m not even sure if the Continental Club throws real parties outside of
Heav3n, a strange new experiment in precisely how URL an IRL club night can
And then there are the nomadic promoters that wander from
warehouse to warehouse. Far Away has a strong hold on all things spacey,
melodic and disco-y, and is constantly booking big names like Floating Points (also
next Friday) and Jacques Renault. Allied with them is the brand new Fine Time,
who are throwing two unmissable events in the next week.
First is tomorrow’s
Giegling showcase, which will see two members of the melancholy Weimar
collective go deep into the murk all night, while next Saturday’s
Patricia/Project Pablo show promises something entirely more fun-friendly.
FACE2FACE are the resident warehouse techno heads, having brought in Greg Beato and MGUN
within the past year. Secretive crew Kinda has been popping up with stellar
lineups featuring the likes of Jack J and Maxmillion Dunbar, but they’re a
tough crew to follow from the outside.
It’s an incredible time to be into music in L.A., so
if you’ve gotten stuck in the rut of only checking the Echoplex and El Rey
calendars, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. See you on the dance floor!
Gage Taylor PO ’16 is majoring in media studies and philosophy. He is the electronic music director for the 5C radio station KSPC, and his first concert was *NSYNC.