For music lovers, LA is a musical paradise. We are so lucky to have plenty of great live music here any night of the week. But for those times when you get tired of ticketing agencies doubling the price of your ticket, it’s nice to know that you can always find some awesome free music right outside your door. One of our favorite places to catch a free live show is Amoeba Music in Hollywood. With a great mix of bands and DJ’s coming through, including some pretty big heavy-hitters, it’s worth bookmarking their schedule and keeping it in your concert-going rotation.
We recently caught a live set from Band of Horses, one of our favorite live bands. We’ve seen BOH play all over Southern California—The Masonic Lodge, The Majestic Ventura Theater, The Observatory—and they have never ceased to blow us away with their pure heart, soul and grace on stage. So when the chance came to see them up close and personal right at home, we jumped on it.
There are a couple ways you can do the free show. You can start to line up outside the building along Ivar just South of Sunset 1-2 hours beforehand. That’s enough time to guarantee entry into most any show. But if it’s a big act or you just HAVE to be up front and center, you might want to get there even earlier and just sit in the shade to hold your spot. You can switch off with friends heading across the street to Groundwork Coffee which serves delicious healthy food along with organic coffee and tea for all your street-side provisions. We highly recommend their short rib hash any time of day. BONUS: their many gluten-free pastries are the best in town.
But I had some DVD’s to sell and an old credit burning a hole in my pocket, so instead of waiting outside, I opted to indulge in one of my other favorite musical pastimes—record shopping. Amoeba has a great selection of new and used LP’s of every genre and their “new arrivals” section is always filled with plenty of gems. It’s a thrill to search through the unfiltered smorgasbord and see what you might find. If you’re shopping, they won’t kick you out of the store. You can just shop and enjoy the show without the hassle of the line. However, the center aisles do get blocked off for only those people who have stood outside, so you just have to get a little creative about where you stop to take in the show. We had no problem getting a place right up front off to the side for perfect viewing.
Even doing an in-store performance in the middle of the afternoon on a random weekday, Band of Horses did not disappoint. The pared-down acoustic setting created a very intimate vibe, allowing the soul of their music to shine through and take center stage. The band played some new tracks and old favorites to promote their new album Why Are You OK, with advance copies available for purchase along with a beautiful signed poster made just for the show. These guys are always so gracious on stage and they perform with so much heart, you can’t help but want them to keep playing forever. But sets here are short and sweet, so make sure you arrive on time and pay attention.
We loved what we heard off the new album and the classics are always slayers. If you’ve never seen Band of Horses live, do yourself a favor and go. If real live rock ‘n roll angels exist, it’s these guys. Their music always elevates you and makes you feel like you’re suddenly in church, in the best sense. We’ve yet to see a BOH show that has not felt reverant, the audience rapt with attention, feeling like we’ve entered some Musical Holy Land by way of South Carolina. They’ll be in Southern California this summer, so be sure to check them out if you get a chance. You can find their tour dates: HERE.
For your listening pleasure, enjoy this gorgeous song off Band of Horses’ new album, currently on heavy rotation on our summer playlist. Sit back, relax and soak in the sweet summer seaside vibes…
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Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
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