A music venue that played a key role in the birth and stabilization of Los Angeles' burgeoning Spanish Rock scene is going to close. After several years of hosting live music performances and contributing to the explosion of Los Angeles' local Spanish rock scene, the Westside?s Westchester Sports Grill and Bar is going to close their doors at the end of July. They will go out with a bang, with July showcases of the Cream of the Crop that has come out of the scene in the years the Westchester has been in business.
The venue closes it's doors after emerging as a destination for live rock en Espa??ol in 1998 and has spotlighted not only the best local talent in L.A., but alternativo all over the US, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Colombia and the entire Spanish-speaking world. They became the ONLY venue in the United States to provide Latino alternativo every Friday and Saturday and on certain Sundays and weekdays for touring bands. The resource and opportunity this location served for many bands will be sorely missed. They recently had upgraded their sound system turning a restaurant into a legitimate live music venue.
"It's the end of an era," says Rick Fazekas, who handles booking for the venue and is a major force in the movement with his Verdad y Justicia Label Group, which gave local latin alternativo bands national distribution through Navarre. "One door closes and another one opens. We are determined to bring this type of venue to some part of Los Angeles. It doesn't end on July 29th. We are looking for the future home of Latin Alternativo in Los Angeles."
The Westchester will not close their doors before going out with a bang. The month of July launches a series of shows called "The Last Days of the Westchester". Friday July 7th brings the exciting fresh musical blend of ska, reggae, cumbia, rock and funk that is Upground (website: http://www.upgroundmusic.com/ ). They received an overwhelmingly positive review in the Los Angeles Times on April 22, 2006 in which Staff Writer Agustin Gurza says, "Upground has to be seen and heard live to be fully appreciated." Joining Upground is Inner City Soul (formerly known as the East L.A. Sabor Factory), who had the opportunity to open for WAR earlier this year.
The fun continues with a very special treat Saturday July 8th, when indie alt rock favorites Los Abandoned (website: http://www.losabandoned.com ), presently on tour with Maldita Vecindad, make time out to return to the Westchester. Los Abandoned were part of a very special Westchester show in September that also featuring Pastilla, Maria Fatal and Dildo that was broadcast to Mexico by XS Grita Radio. This night, they are joined by electronic rock pioneers Nefalim (website: http://www.nefalimmusic.com) who will be playing songs from their soon to be released sophomore CD. Newcomers Pet, who have become a Westchester favorite in 2006, will open up the show.
Ska punkers La Banda Skalavera and others will move the Westchester on July 14 and there will be reunion shows, and other local biggies such as Maria Fatal and maybe even Curanderos before it all ends on July 29th with Sony/Colombia recording artist LIK and Latin Alternative trailblazers, Pastilla.
For more info: http://www.mediaelemental.com/events.html
Camilo Arenivar is a freelance journalist who has written numerous articles for Latinola.com and other organizations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org