Monday, November 19, 2012

L.A.'s Hidden Gem: School Night!

I want to say a little over a month ago my good friend Melissa called me up asking if I would like to go out and check out some live music at a small venue in Hollywood. She mentioned it to me before that on Monday's when she has time, she goes to a place where smaller mainstream bands come to promote their latest records and albums to gain and expand their fan base. As a preface, Melissa asked me to go see Channel West Coast perform at the Viper Room in Hollywood a couple weeks before, and if you don't know who that is just watch an episode of Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory and you will know who exactly I am talking about. Lets just say it wasn't the best show I have seen. Anyway, the reason I mention this is because Melissa promised me that it would be nothing like that, even though I did happen to run into Steven Tyler from Aerosmith at the Viper Room (and yes, I am asking the same thing: why was he there for that show?!) To answer Melissa I said: "Sure, I am definitely down to try new things out" and I know the show at the Viper Room does not reflect Melissa's taste of music. So on a casual Monday night we were off to Hollywood to a venue called Bardot. It is next to The Roxy which is a popular concert venue in Hollywood, but I was never aware Bardot existed at all. Chris Douridas at KCRW radio hosts something called School Night! at the Bardot venue. It is a FREE event where bands from the area, country and outside of the States come to play. Chris and KCRW have done an awesome job putting together such a unique experience for L.A., considering that you have to pay for everything and anything in this city. It is a 21+ venue, but if you are 18+ you can still get in but there is a $10 cover charge. Trust me, the $10 is worth it and from the moment you walk in you will love the atmosphere. I have been to a few L.A. clubs and even though I love loud music and partying, the shows hosted by School Night! are just as fun. You don't have to deal with the fake and bougie from the Hollywood scene, annoying bouncers or the pushing and shoving that usually occurs at a popular night club. From my 2 visits it is safe to say people who come to the shows are there for the music, and not to show off and be fake. It is a casual setting and from the street you would never know driving by that this place even existed. Can't thank Melissa enough to bringing me to this place!
The venue consists of 2 large rooms with their own vibe and style. One room consists of a DJ booth that overlooks the dance floor with a low dimmed casual lounge to the right of it. The dance floor is bordered with sofas, ottomans and tables, and as an aspiring Architect I appreciate the overall design from the color scheme, to the furniture setup, lighting decor and the paintings on the wall. Before the bands start performing in the other room, the venue has a guest DJ who is performing and spinning a wide variety music before and after the show is over, and in between bands. Usually people start filing into this room to grab a seat and relax before the show starts by grabbing a drink or two. We got there early which was fine because it was nice to walk around and check out the place. I have never been to a venue like Bardot and right away I already knew it was going to be a better night than at the Viper Room (no disrespect to the venue or Channel West Coast).
The main room is the dopest small venue I have been too. The picture above does not justify the setting, but it does give you the idea why I called this post "L.A.'s Hidden Gem."I can see why it does get full, but I am also confused why there isn't a line around the whole block to get in (but I am not complaining). If I was a musician I would love to perform at such a place. The back wall is decorated with old classical paintings, the rich Victorian color scheme and design creates a very soothing environment and the retractable ceiling revealing the night sky and the Capital Records Tower screams California Love. Though it does get full, it never feels suffocating and this is the room all the guest bands perform for the fans. There is enough room to groove and rock out to the music, or if you get there early enough, you can find a seat to relax and appreciate the good music. The cool thing is that you can smoke inside with ash trays located at tables and you won't get ripped off on drinks either. And this room also comes with its own bar which makes it easy to get drinks all night making the night a lot less stressful. 
I have been here twice and I have never heard of any of the bands that played the nights I went, but for me it made the night a lot better because I didn't have a prefix notion whether or not I liked their music. I prefer rap and hip hop music, but I appreciate alternative and rock music more when it's live because of all the instruments. Coming with an open mind and just getting away on a Monday, yes I know it's a Monday, was something new and it didn't disappointment. I will definitely be coming back soon, and when I went the second time I recognized that people do come every week to check out the newest bands making it up in the ranks. Below are the flyer posters from the shows I went too, and I am also including the poster for tonight's show for anybody that lives in L.A. that want to check it out!! I HIGHLY recommend that if you live in the L.A. area to go on a Monday and support Chris and KCRW for all the hard they do to make every Monday fun. Like I said, it is a casual setting to go on a date or enjoy with friends and listen to awesome music. I have been impressed with every band I have seen, and it is cool to see what unique style they bring to the table. Also, if you are in NY, Chris and School Night! do also host free shows, but only once a month. Join the emailing list service to get locations for the venue and updated information on who will be performing!!

Below are the links for School Night!'s Facebook page, Twitter, Home Page where you can add yourself to the emailing serve list to get updates on for the shows every Monday and directions to the venue (Bardot):

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