Living in Westwood is like being trapped in Footloose's Bomont, Georgia. There are no clubs, no open mics, no student centers, no anything. It's bad. They're even shutting down one of the only two bars students go to with much frequency -- Westwood Brewing Company -- to replace it with the chain The Boiling Crab.
The campus tries as it might to offer some sort of relief, but there aren't many opportunities to get too crazy. As a recently-graduated student, I can attest: Our only respite on Thursdays and Fridays was trying desperately to convince the frat kingdom gatekeepers to let us in. And then, if we were lucky, we got to hear some Skrillex. There had to be a better way.Finally, there was a Eureka moment: A group of students -- Taylor Fugit, Aaron Rabkin, and others -- got together in early 2011 and decided their 500 square foot apartment, on Midvale Avenue, could suffice as a concert venue. Thus Midvale Sessions was born. And it was a hit.
Students would line up around the block to see their friends' bands perform; people squeezed themselves into the small, oxygen-deprived room to hear some of the school's most talented musicians. In the beginning, it was mainly music students -- like classically trained, jazzy cats -- but rock bands quickly arrived as well. One of the first regulars was a student group called No Insurance. They mixed pop-punk with hip-hop and rocked the tiny room so hard, and drew so many people, that they cracked the floor and had to replace the downstairs neighbor's ceiling fan.
Demand grew and soon there were many spots to see live music around campus every week, mainly student apartments. There was one room that called itself The Treehaus (which hosted the open mic nights that led to the formation of the band I'm in, The Ten Thousand) and another called The Lighthouse. Even frats started catching on.
One band, called The Internship, organized an entire concert featuring three bands in May 2011, in a UCLA Parking Garage (above).