TOWER's Guide To Los Angeles' Best Music Venues

Tenner for the first person to spot Nikki Sixx...
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TOWER are a brand new duo from LA, folding beats, shiny synths, and G n’R riffs together into a big, juicy, neon pop pie. Sometimes they remind us of Empire Of The Sun, sometimes ABC, and they've been compared elsewhere to a "very, very, modern Duran Duran".  Either way, naval gazing not allowed.

Here’s their guide to the top venues in their hometown…

The Troubadour

This was a staple in our high school lives, making the long and seemingly treacherous drive into Hollywood from our homes in the valley. It’s a deceptively small room for the size of the acts they book, the sound system seems like it can bring the entire building down, but somehow it consistently has the best sound of any club in LA. We saw countless sweaty shows here growing up: the first My Chemical Romance LA show for some reason, the first Death From Above (at that time I dont think they had the 1979) LA show, several Blood Brothers shows. The most striking experience for me was seeing Animal Collective at the height of their Merriweather Post Pavilion tour.

They were way too big for the venue and it was at the apex of their light show. I took a ton of acid and we went with a big group of friends. I remember slowly losing it during the opening act which was some extremely weird, borderline outsider artist and thinking this might be too much to handle. Then smoke started pouring out over the stage and it suddenly looked like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The opening arps of ‘#1’ started playing and I was just completely transfixed. I don't think I looked away from the stage for their entire set. The next memory I have is standing outside looking at [American actor and comedian] Aziz Ansari, and hearing everyones voice have the same delay that Avey Tare [of Animal Collective] had for the past two hours.

The Smell

I generally hate playing or going to shows downtown. The parking is always difficult, expensive, and one way streets are increasingly annoying when you’re late for something you really want to see. It just can go bad relatively quick. The Smell has such a great history and has been such a huge asset to the LA scene that it definitely gets a pass for being located in the parking black hole of SoCal. I can’t recall any great shows I’ve seen here, or even that I have loved my experiences at the venue. Going there after high school feels like the scene in Hook when Peter meets the lost boys. There’s just a bunch of raggedy kids running around in jean shorts, no one is seemingly in charge and you’re just sitting their wondering why the show hasn’t started yet. Still, I love The Smell for what it’s provided for musicians in LA over the past 10 years. Even if its not polished it has tons of character and has nurtured some amazing acts.

The Wiltern

More than any other venue in the city, I want to play the Wiltern. Its one of my favorite buildings in LA and just an all around beautiful theater. In high school we got free tickets to see Death Cab here (a band we were passionately not into) but went just to see the opening act Pretty Girls Make Graves. I’m not sure if the system has changed, but back then it was really easy to sneak into the floor level if you had mezzanine tickets. The proximity to the stage did not help us get into the Death Cab set, but I still just love being in that room. If anyone knows anyone from the Wiltern hook a brother up.

The Echo

This might be the venue in LA we’ve played at, and gone to, the most. The first time we were here was the very first FYF fest. I remember having absolutely no idea where in the city I was, or what band was playing, I was just psyched that Travis Keller from Buddyhead was standing five feet from us. Early on when we first started playing East Side venues, playing the Echo was always some distant goal. It definitely seems like an early milestone for emerging bands and whether you’re playing to three people at 1 AM or to a sold out show its always a fun time. The sound is great, the vibe is cool, its got a great location. What else could you ask for?

Hollywood Bowl

While 99% of my experiences with the Hollywood Bowl are being furious at all the 60 year old dudes with trophy wives clogging the highland off ramp to go see the fucking Eagles or something, its hard to hate such an iconic and beautiful venue. My first concert ever was here, Jimmy Buffet (I still haven’t forgiven my parents for taking me) and I puked from all the pot smoke and presumably shitty music in the air. Darin saw Aerosmith there in seventh grade, something I made fun of him for then, and continue to till this day. But the importance of the venue transcends the kitschy music we’ve seen there. It’s just a gorgeous piece of Los Angeles that I would still treasure even if the Eagles played here 365 days a year.

All words by Derek Coburn of TOWER

TOWER haven't got many tunes on their Soundcloud. Here's what there is so far. Get them on Twitter here. 'Teenage Miracle' is out 2nd Oct via B3SC1 Records.  

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