The environment surrounding UC Irvine has little to offer other than being a sprawling wasteland of corporate headquarters, vast shopping centers and unnecessarily extravagant apartment complexes. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re all owned by the same company that every aspect of Irvine’s greater community is the same bland beige we have come to know and love throughout our years at school.
We have learned to ignore the uninteresting and unsightly lack of character of Irvine. Now with the quarter over, our eyes are pained with those torn-down orange groves and the perennial scaffolding for new construction. At least you know the vibrantly alive Los Angeles is just up the 405 freeway.
The greatest thing about L.A. is the nightlife, and as our faithful Orange County is still in the throes of becoming a people-friendly city, it has followed in its footsteps. The nightlife of both L.A. and the O.C. provide ample amounts of music venues, which have somehow managed to maintain their underground qualities while still being prime spots to see some great bands.
Celebrating half a century of providing breakthrough bands with a cozy spot, the Troubadour in West Hollywood allows bands to connect with their fans and shake hands at their merchandise table at the end of the lobby bar.
Probably one of the most intimate venues in L.A., the Troubadour is everyone’s favorite place to get up close and personal with their favorite musicians. These bands are not amateurs, with acts like Beirut, The 88 and The Gossip having graced their modest stage, and with greater acts and more star power littered through their impressive roster.
At El Rey in Los Angeles, the feeling of community you get watching a show at the Troubadour extends down a rectangular audience area and climbs to the tops of the raised ground on either side.
El Rey patrons barely experience the beefcake in front of them who blocks the view of everyone within five feet of his massiveness. Their acts are comparable to the Troubadour, as both remain key stops for great acts touring through the west coast.
The Wiltern is a little on the high end of the class ladder. It is home to an evening crowd of women in heels and men in sport coats, similar to the Avalon in L.A. The Wiltern has been home to some spectacular acts this year, including Editors, Shiny Toy Guns and Motion City Soundtrack. Apart from stellar acoustics, the venue can pride itself in being a popular hub among other standing venues.
If you’re stuck in the O.C. for winter break, you will have to drive at least to Costa Mesa to get a decent fill of music venues. Popular among them is the Detroit Bar, which stands out like a sore thumb in a nondescript strip mall.
Their acts are great, with the concert area somewhat separate from the rest of the establishment. A DJ spins next to the bar and provides an alternative to the guitars and vocals that might be berating the air at that moment.
At a happy medium between L.A. and the O.C. stands the Glass House in Pomona. It is home to some fabulous acts ranging from ska music to punk. With ample area to enjoy your favorite band, the Glass House remains a popular venue throughout Southern California.
The best form of entertainment usually lies in the throes of music. With these venues hanging on strong to their historical landmarks through Hollywood and Orange County, it’s about time you do yourself a favor and check them out.