We're delightfully surprised to report that El Cid has been rocking harder than ever lately under new ownership. Much credit goes to booking manager Kelly Spencer, who has filled the room with everything from garage favorites to cabaret to metal. While some of the acts can be seen at other local venues, there's something about this Silver Lake spot that lends itself to particularly visceral music. Sure, due to capacity issues El Cid doesn't pack 'em in the way it used to, but that can make for a more pleasant experience: You can be sure that everyone else who got in is serious about music. As always, it's still putting on those famed dinner shows, and the sound and sight lines are first-rate. Further, the outdoor patio provides a welcome respite when the music gets too loud. 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 668-0318, elcidla.com.