As Champ Kind once said to Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, I miss your musk; I miss your scent. This is the perfect way to describe how I feel when Im away from one of my favorite music venues in Los Angeles: Spaceland. Located in Silverlake, Spaceland is one of the few venues in the City of Angels where you can see a band on the rise without having to deal with the Sunset Strip or pay a fortune watching them open for another group at the one of the city’s larger venues.
Founded in 1995, according to its website Spaceland was the first club in L.A. to book the Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, British Sea Power, Drive By Truckers, Jet, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, My Morning Jacket, Scissor Sisters, Secret Machines, Snow Patrol, The Black Keys, The Decemberists, The Gossip, The Killers, The Kills, The Rapture, The Shins, and The Walkmen. Thats a pretty impressive list of bands to have gotten their L.A. starts here.
On the outside, though, the venue may not look like much. Located on Silver Lake Blvd, the venue looks more like an old bowling alley than a concert hall. The marquee, if you want to call it that, is tiny, and depending on the show, can sometimes barely feature the nights entertainment. The parking situation at the venue, which many Angelinos familiar with the venue can attest to, is nothing short of abysmal. There is a small valet lot, where at a packed show, you can wait up to 25 minutes to get your car, which obviously is a huge pain in the ass considering there is nowhere else to go. That is, unless by some small miracle, you manage to find street parking in this heavily residential neighborhood, but the snafu with this is that theres an 11 pm curfew for parking without a permit, so if you dont live in Silverlake, you are pretty much out of luck.
Okay, okay, I know so I seem like a Debbie Downer, but I had to get the bad stuff out of the way before we could have some fun inside. Once parked, there is usually a line to get into the club. Once you get to the front and show your ID to the bouncer, you walk through the creaky wooden door into a small area where there is a small section to the left to pay for that nights entertainment. If you are wise, to the right is where the magic happens: the small, backstage area for the band. If youve been inside the backstage area, its no larger than your average narrow closet; unlike your closet, though, this room has character with a capital C. Stickers cover the rooms walls with nary a blank spot.
Once you pay the nights toll, you head into the main room, where the stage and standing room area is to your right and the bar is to your left. The sound at the venue isnt exactly Carnegie Hall, but it suffices. The best aspect about the stage area is that you can get up close and personal with the performing band. Often times in between sets, bands will hawk their merch and mingle with fans. Meeting a band on the way up is exciting, and having the ability to interact with them can be the stuff great stories are made of. Fortunately, you have this ability at Spaceland.
Spacelands bar serves some of the finest low-end booze (24 oz cans of PBR, to be precise) to quench your thirst. If thats not enough, theres a loft area slightly above the main area where, if you arent feeling the music, you can shoot some pool or play some Big Buck Hunter. Have no fear; theres a bar up here, too.
The venues décor is dingy, dark, and musky, better known as a great hall for rock ‘n’ roll. With old paintings, fading wall paint, and a distinct smell, Spaceland is truly one of Los Angeles great music treasures. Sometimes big bands play last minute shows at the 260 person venue, so if you are driving by on any given day, you could be privy to one of these few secret shows. Spaceland has been home to some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll, and if you are willing to put up with the obstacles surrounding the place, then its definitely one of the last great independent venues for rock in this fine country of ours.
1717 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
To get a complete listing of the upcoming shows, click here