The Best Places to See a Show in OC
Our Best of OC Issue just came out yesterday! No doubt you've been waiting to study the entire thing word for word. But for those who may just wanna know where to go to take in a punk band, a DJ night or a drag show...here's a shortcut we figured you'd appreciate.
Chad Sengstock The Observatory
See also: Best OC Musicians By Genre
Best Venue for Live Music
The Galaxy Concert Theater was an infamously run-down venue; remember that brief moment when it was supposed to be a club that changed themes every couple of months? We don't, either. Then Jon Reiser, former co-owner and talent booker at the Detroit Bar (where Foster the People had a residency during his tenure), bought it and made it amazing with the help of business partner Courtney Michaelis and a silent co-owner. They revamped the website into something clean and simple, split the venue into two rooms with their own stages, and renamed the place, christening the bigger venue the Observatory, and the more intimate stage the Constellation Room. Now, it's a must-stop for all up-and-coming bands and DJs making their way through Southern California, from remix artists and indie poppers to Compton rappers and Sub Pop dream musicians. Just look at the lineup for the next few months: Toro Y Moi, Youth Lagoon, Flux Pavilion, GWAR, Phantogram, Tyga, RAC, Misfits--damn.
Readers Choice: House of Blues
Best Alternative Venue for Live Music
The Santora Building
The Santa Ana art walk has a vibrant scene every first Saturday night of the month, boasting an eclectic range of art next to an even-livelier nightclub and music scene. But wander down the stairs of the Santora Building and check out what sorts of music/art happenings are going on there. While you peruse the artist studios and art showcases, you'll always be in range to hear whatever band is playing, and with the absence of a stage, you're close enough to the talent to watch the beads of sweat running down their faces as they belt out a bluesy tune or jam with frenetic passion. Just one of the things that makes downtown SanTana feel like home to its artistic dwellers.
See also: The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene