THE EL REY THEATRE
5515 WILSHIRE BLVD., LOS ANGELES, CA 90036
Opened in 1936.
The El Rey was the fourth theatre I remember visiting when I started music blogging in 2010 – 2011 season. That moment will always stay with me because when it comes to looks, it doesn’t get more gorgeous then the El Rey. It’s vintage art deco decor screams old LA from the ticket station & classic marquee outside to the red velvet interiors with dim lighting. Always feel like I’m under-dressed when I see a show. Much props to the owners for keeping it in such amazing shape. If you’re looking for a truly elegant date night concert, take him/her here. The intimate feel will set the mood just right.
That first initial visit changed my musical life because that show was The Civil Wars. They’re now extinct. But I stood in the dance floor pit in the middle of a sold out crowd of 700+ watching indie folk magic materialize right before my eyes. No show has equaled that memory of listening to a band for the first time the morning before, buying a stubhub ticket hours later, then going to El Rey the night later. That process eventually became my life. Chalk it up to me trying to recapture that initial feeling.
My early days at the El Rey taught me more about photographing a show because all the conditions were (& are) the absolute best. The back light at the El Rey envelops the artists in a halo of light. Allowing for a perfect image. So there isn’t really a bad angle on the entire floor. I normally stand on the steps between the pit and the railings because you get that extra pop above the floor. Granting a better angle for those randomly tall guys with short girlfriends. I can’t speak for the balcony of the venue because I never shot there. Only on the floor near the stage. Almost all my favorite photos occurred at the El Rey. Certainly not a coincidence.
The miracle mile of Wilshire Blvd can feel quite deserted.
I’ve always had the best time at the El Rey. It’s been run by Goldenvoice since 1994 and the acts always top notch. If and when I live closer, I’ll be sure to go to more shows.