Some of the best shows in life are small, intimate and involve being surrounded by enthusiastic music lovers — from punks to hippies — to nerds and artists. And this is why we love DIY venues. Lucky for Angelenos and its neighboring city dwellers, Los Angeles houses some of the best DIY venues catering to all styles of life and music. No corporate sponsorships, no service fees, no bullshit — just people, music, art and good times. Take a look at our top five picks for the Best DIY venues in Los Angeles.
1. HM157 — Lincoln Heights — This funky historical house (circa 1886) is a California Landmark that has been transformed into a tripped out DIY indoor/outdoor living room style venue that always attracts a mixed crowd. While it may feel out of this world at first you’ll quickly find yourself right at home. There are several couches from which to perch, kick back and watch an eclectic mix of bands and artistic performances. More info!
2. Church of Fun — East Hollywood — This former church is now a DIY, sliding scale donation-based venue fully equipped with quirky art, a chill patio lit by strings of Christmas lights, laidback crowds who really dig music, and exactly what the name promises: fun!
3. Nomad Art Compound — Elysian Park — Nomad Art Compound is the ultimate art lab: a collective event and exhibition space designed/founded by L.A. artist Damon Robinson. We’ve caught some brilliant shows on the compound including Dead Skeletons, and Dead Meadow with Sleepy Sun. More info!
4. The Vex — El Sereno — We last caught neofolk duo Death in June at The Vex, a true DIY community operated art space. The Vex has had ’80s Los Angeles punk legends such as Black Flag and X grace their stage and continues to enrich the surrounding community with a slew of arts programming. More info!
5. Overpass — Silverlake — You’ve got to be in the know to go to this mysterious after hours spot that’s been operating on-and-off for the past three years. Legend has it that it’s been frequented by celebs in the know too, such as Ryan Gosling and Sons of Anarchy cast members. Ask around if you want in.
California Institute of Abnormal Arts – North Hollywood – This museum brings to life a modern freak show experience and they’re damn proud of it. Featuring underground art, magic, puppetry, burlesque and more — pretty much anything bizarre and awesome can likely be found here.
Bridgetown DIY – La Puente – Open since 2011 the venue’s motto is “Building Communities – Creating Safe Space – Encouraging the Arts and Fostering Solidarity.” What’s not to like about that? The sober space hosts a variety of events and programming with cheap covers.
VLHS Warehouse – Pomona – You can tell by the VLHS tumblr page that they host some hot, sweaty and packed shows that look nothing short of spectacular and you may easily find yourself literally rocking out right alongside your new favorite band.
Farewell to Church On York (no longer the DIY hotspot that it was but they will continue to put on shows at Los Globos), Echo Curio (shut down), LA Fort (no longer hosting live music but hosting art openings, skill shares, movie nights, etc). You guys would have all made it on this list if you were still operating. May you rest in peace or return from the clutches of evil.
Feature by Emily Saex
Dead Meadow – Dead Meadow (2000) (Full Album)
Death In June – Nada! (Full Album)