By Andrew Bansal
When it comes to national and international touring acts, Los Angeles is undisputedly the biggest market in the United States and without doubt, one of the biggest in the world. But even in this concert-friendly city, there is still vast room for the improvement of the local music scene, the local hard rock/heavy metal scene, to be more precise. Getting people out to attend all-local shows and support local bands is a huge challenge, specially with so much happening in town on any given night of the week. But, in a new endeavor inspired by the concept of the well-known “Emo Nite”, there is a new series of events called “Heavy LA”, featuring a combination of curated heavy metal playlists and live metal bands. The series made its debut at Silverlake Lounge on November 8th, and I ventured to check it out.
Heavy LA founder Kelsey Luo herself performed a short and impressive set with her solo band, playing songs that are clearly heavily influenced by modern prog metal, and the same can be said about the playlist of songs she prepared to be blasted through the PA speakers before and after the well-received live performance. Luo also took requests for the playlist via the event’s official facebook page in the days prior. Her band mate, performing solo, was the other live act of the evening.
This being the first event of the series, she hopes to continue it on a monthly basis, and says that she will most likely do so at a different venue, which makes perfect sense, because as accessible and artist-friendly as the venue’s location is, the venue itself and its regulars aren’t very welcoming to heavy music, as we found out in our own experiences booking shows here earlier this year. Working the door for Metal Assault events here myself, I discovered that the Silverlake Lounge’s walk-in regulars do not want or expect to pay even a small cover, and refuse to do so even when you tell them that money from door collections goes towards paying the bands.
When it comes to promoting the local scene in LA, there is no such thing as too many events. Heavy LA is a good initiative and we sure hope it succeeds in its efforts and finds a new regular home for its future installments.