The Fonda Theatre:
The heavy sound of music bounces off the mural-covered walls of The Fonda Theatre.
Walking to the venue, the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame cover the ground. A line of anxious fans wraps around the venue, through the door and onto the open floor in front the stage. Before the lights go down, elaborate murals plaster the walls under the dim light of chandeliers, setting the mood for the show to come. An article from LA Weekly said the venue added the haunting artwork, originally from the hell panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” in a past remodeling.
The hell panel of the classical-style painting shows people holding various wind and string instruments and includes a book with music notes. The painting’s dark hues are complemented by the walls’ gold detailing, which envelops the small theater of people waiting for the performance to begin.
Because of its small size, the venue is a must-see for anyone who is a fan of seeing their favorite artists up close. Shows are often general admission with tickets at cheaper price points than its numerous arena-sized counterparts. Once the artist takes the stage, it’s easy to maneuver to the front of the packed, 1,200-person venue if you’re crafty, offering a close and intimate feel for any show the venue hosts.
The smaller venue comes with more obscure headliners, such as Palaye Royale, Wallows and Hunter Hayes. The Fonda Theatre is a cheap Uber or Metro ride away from campus and worth the trip to see a favorite performer fill the small space with the energy of their performance.
Pellissier green wasn’t a color until the creation of the Pellissier Building where The Wiltern Theatre resides.
On the outskirts of Koreatown, the neon lights of The Wiltern’s sign and its signature green terra cotta tiles are visible even from blocks away. Artists ranging from lesser-known indie artists, like The Japanese House, to those with radio hits, like Lauv or Troye Sivan, frequent the venue. But no matter the artist, the shows often come at a lower price point, rarely exceeding $100, making it the perfect venue for budgeting college students with a plethora of music tastes.
At The Wiltern, however, concertgoers are treated to the venue’s art deco architecture in addition to the music it showcases, said David Saffer, a docent at the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Originally a movie theater during the 20th century, The Wiltern houses only one auditorium, which was altered during the early 2000s to better function as a concert venue, said Saffer. While floor seating was removed to allow for general admission tickets, Saffer said the interior design has remained mostly untouched. Concertgoers can look up to see the sunburst design – which Saffer said doubles as a skyline of skyscrapers on closer inspection – that has graced the ceiling of The Wiltern since its opening in 1931.
The sunburst of the vaulted ceiling matches the bright red felt of the seats in the mezzanine and the golden lining of the walkways, all housed within the Pellissier green paneling of the walls.
It’s clear that with each concert, the venue acts as more than just a display of music – it also acts as a small time capsule of Los Angeles history and art. And no matter the concert, any attendee will be treated to a building that has been preserved through time, with its own color to claim.
Largo at the Coronet:
Largo at the Coronet, an unassuming hole-in-the-wall on La Cienega Boulevard, offers an unusually casual setting for small concerts and comedy shows.
Wedged between a smoke shop and a Vietnamese eatery and just a 20-minute car ride from campus, the Largo could be easily missed by outsiders. However, beyond the scattered posters lining the opening entrance, the Largo offers a small, semioutdoor courtyard complete with glittering string lights looping between a tree and the walls. Quirky objects of interest, like a lightbulb-headed mannequin bedazzled with mirror shards, stand on brick flooring for attendees to view.
The venue itself is on the smaller side – offering just over 100 seats – compared to larger concert spaces like The Wiltern or Hollywood Palladium, but benefits from this limitation with its superior acoustics. The red curtain hung over the stage, as well as the spotlights attached to the ceiling, create a classic, Broadway look that contrasts with the low-key feel of the venue.
The Largo provides a space for not only musical performers, but also a variety of comedians, including Rachel Bloom, Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll. For an up close experience with high-profile performers, the Largo excels as a venue for a casual date night or a memorable night with friends.
The Hollywood Palladium unites generations of music lovers through performances ranging from Sinatra to Jimi Hendrix to Jay-Z.
A neon art deco sign and marquee distinguish the Hollywood Palladium from the more commonplace shops on Sunset Boulevard. Chandeliers, round columns and a dome ceiling define the building’s signature style, which is one of the longest-operating event venues in Los Angeles, according to a city report in a Curbed Los Angeles article.
The Palladium’s medium size makes it large enough to attract popular performers such as The Kooks, 2 Chainz and P!nk; however, it is also small enough to provide a more intimate concert experience with an occupancy of about 4,000 people on the ground floor. The venue size allows everyone in the audience to see the performers, eliminating the need for Jumbotrons, and the acoustics amplify the performance’s sound instead of blasting it through speakers.
The Palladium features a large dance floor for those who opt for general admission. A curved staircase leads to a balcony overlooking the stage, which is arguably the best view in the venue, despite its additional cost. The extra cash is often worth its reward – especially for shorter audience members – because the flat dance floor can make it difficult to see the stage. The best way to experience artists at The Palladium is to arrive early to secure a spot near the front of the stage.
If you are down for a drive, The Forum is the place to go.
With its distinct circular shape and tall white columns, the arena-style venue is one of the most well-known places in the Los Angeles area to see world-renowned artists. Close-knit intimacy is traded for nosebleed seats and a more expensive price of admission, but the seating capacity of almost 18,000 takes on a loud life of its own during shows.
The sheer size of the venue offers more opportunity for performers to introduce theatricality into their sets. Artists such as Fall Out Boy take The Forum’s stage and utilize pyrotechnics and stages suspended from the ceiling in order to entertain their enormous crowds and spice up their show. Other large names such as Harry Styles and BLACKPINK bring their high-caliber performances to the bigger space where a higher number of fans can have the experience of seeing them live.
The Forum’s Inglewood location may be a bit further from campus, but it hosts many big-name artists throughout the school year. It also provides the memorable experience of being surrounded by thousands of people who share a common taste in music.