What Rocks in 2021? Sunset Blvd and the LA luxury rock scene

Robert Plant, Dreamland Tour / Illustration by; Loop Magazine, Photo: Dreamstime

“I felt like I was one of the crazy fans from the ’70s and 80’s waiting to party with the band after their show.”

During the era of sex, drugs and, rock&roll, there was no better place to be than Sunset Blvd. Throughout the twentieth century, Sunset Blvd. was known as the strip with no rules. As it was not initially controlled by the LAPD, there was no fear or reason to behave on the strip. Famous rock&roll bands were known to take advantage of this freedom by spending several drunken nights performing and hanging out at the local restaurants, bars, and hotels acting like delinquents with no consequences. This reckless behavior essentially became a part of rock&roll culture. Bands such as Led Zeppelin and Mötley Crüe became known for their debauchery as well as their iconic performances at the Sunset music venues. Fans would pile into venues such as The House of Blues and the Troubadour to see these bands perform and eagerly wait to party with the members until the following morning.

These wild times on Sunset Blvd. eventually came to an end as more restrictions were enforced, in part due to the out-of-control drug usage among artists and fans. As a result, many of these iconic venues were forced to close down, potentially erasing the history and culture of rock&roll. Despite this, there are still many venues along the strip that provide live music and appearances from popular artists. Some of the most popular of these music venues include The Roxy, The Hollywood Palladium, and Whiskey A-Go-Go. These places hold remnants of Sunset Blvd.’s legendary rock&roll times, making them must-go venues for both locals and tourists. 

The Roxy Theatre was one of the most famous music venues during the 70’s and 80’s as many famous artists were invited to perform here. Although this theatre is smaller than the concert venues that we typically see today, The Roxy remains one of my personal favorite music venues for this reason alone. Before beginning my first year of college, a couple of friends of mine invited me to see the band ‘Bleachers’ perform at The Roxy.

Although I was not familiar with many of the band’s songs just yet, I decided to go, knowing I wouldn’t see these friends once I left for college. So, we got ready and took an Uber to see the band perform. I left the concert as an official Bleachers fan! The small environment of The Roxy Theatre made the concert so much more personal than the typical stadiums we see today. It felt as though the band members had put on a show just for us. We became friends with other fans in the audience and discussed what we loved about the music together. The Roxy’s intimate atmosphere made my experience so memorable and made it one of my favorite places to watch bands perform live even to this day. 

Another music venue that holds ample rock&roll history is the Hollywood Palladium. Famous rockers such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Alice and Chains have performed wild shows at this iconic hall. The Hollywood Palladium continues to host many famous artists and bands in its very large space even today. One of my favorite performances that I saw live at the Palladium was that of Nine Inch Nails. Although we’ve perhaps passed the legendary rock&roll days, this band managed to bring that energy back to life with their wild 2018 performance. I felt like I was one of the crazy fans from the ’70s and 80’s waiting to party with the band after their show. This riveting experience made me truly understand that the Hollywood Palladium is timeless: the atmosphere in this venue brings the wild, wicked, historical rock&roll vigor into the present day.

The final music venue worth checking out along the strip is the famous Whiskey A-Go-Go. Whiskey A-Go-Go was known for hosting rockers and crazy fans pre-2000s at its unique and personal locale. This establishment allowed artists and fans to express themselves as their soul desired, with no judgment and no rules holding them back. Although regulations have changed, this site is transportive with its eccentric décor and liberating vibes. Fans can still attend Whiskey A Go Go to see their favorite artists perform and experience ‘a night from the 80’s’ whilst in 2021. 

Some may argue that we are living after the fall-of-rock&roll, but we disagree: the legend lives on along the Sunset strip. What we love about these recommendations – The Roxy, Hollywood Palladium, and Whiskey A-Go-Go – is that they haven’t been updated due to contemporary influence. They are time machines, places to don your leather and studs, throw your hair back and forth, and enjoy rock that transcends all eras.

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