The Sunset Strip: A Musician’s Rite of Passage
West Hollywood is home to some of the world’s most legendary concert venues, from the Troubadour, to the Roxy Theatre, to the Whisky a Go Go and more. These venues have hallowed histories, hosting countless iconic acts over the decades. But it would be a mistake to consider them relics. For all of the legends that have graced these stages, it’s the new performers and their passionate fans that keep them alive and thriving.
For many new bands, to perform on the same stage as the likes of The Ramones and Bob Marley is to follow in the footsteps of giants, a rite of passage of sorts. And likewise, attending these concerts is a rite of passage for many young music lovers. They’re among few venues in LA that welcome audiences of all ages, and therefore serve as many LA youths’ introduction to the world of live music and nightlife. And while the early years of the Strip were dominated by rock-and-roll, contemporary audiences can find a wide variety of genres on a given night on the strip. From synthpop to hip-hop to R&B to metal, these fabled venues have adapted to the eclectic tastes of the next generation of music fans.
On a recent evening at the Roxy, we saw Yana Kedrina (aka Kedr Livanskiy), one of the many rising artists that keep the space vital with fresh sounds and ideas. Hailing from Moscow, Kedrina draws on an eclectic set of influences to create her atmospheric, nostalgia-tinged sound. As part of Moscow’s underground electronic scene, Kedrina is at the forefront of an emerging youth culture in Russia, and has a keen sense of how space and history can shape culture. “I’m 100% affected by place, from the sound quality to the atmosphere of the venue itself. History is important in performance, as in life. I’m incredibly inspired to stand on a stage where Bruce Springsteen once played,” says Kedrina.
Watching the audience during Yana’s performance, one imagines how many people have had formative musical experiences in these spaces. Despite the years that have passed since these venues first opened, and the endless ways in which culture has shifted, there will always be young people ducking into a dark club with friends; looking for those particular, ineffable moments of joy that only live music and passionate fandom can offer.
For more, check out our video of Kedr Livanskiy playing her single Ariadna, live at the Roxy.