If you've been to an LA concert in the past half decade, no doubt you've seen LA Weekly music photographer Timothy Norris machine-gunning his way through gigs of all shapes and sizes. Norris, who also shoots for Getty Images, has a unique perspective on the city's clubs, so it's only natural that he chime in the newest addition to the LA venue scene, Club Nokia.

Photographer's Notes on Club Nokia

photos and text by Timothy Norris

Last night (and Sunday) Beck and band helped usher in a new era in concert going to Los Angeles with the opening of Club Nokia at L.A. Live in downtown. What sets Nokia apart from the rest of the 2000+ capacity venues in town is that everything from top to bottom is completely modern. A few finishing touches remain necessary, but the over all feel of the space is intact.

The main lobby is up a few escalator rides on the third floor, just above Lucky Strike Lanes. The lobby isn't huge, but there's more than enough room in outside spaces (balconies/decks), each easily accessible from the three floors that comprise Club Nokia. Equally convenient are the vast bars at the rear of the club, one per floor. You make a trip for a cocktail during the show in about two minutes without leaving the the auditorium.

As far a concert viewing is concerned, the main floor will usually be standing room general admission; the balcony has assigned seating. The views from the back rows are nothing to worry about as I found that just about every corner of the club has a decent perspective — there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Sound in the club on first listen was better than many other venues I’ve been in, and I think I’ve been to all of them in town by now. There is a difference in what you hear if you’re sitting upstairs versus what you’ll hear being on the floor, but either way the quality was fantastic. The sound was even great on the street below as I walked to the car to drop my gear (after first three songs photogs have to exit their cameras). It sounded like a house party playing Beck, only it was Beck playing a house party. I’m sure that some tweaking is in store, but the direction is there.

What excites me most about this last point is that the sonic landscape of our city is taking a step in a new direction. There’s no question that Los Angeles (downtown and otherwise) has been on a steady march forward over the last several years to expand it’s cultural landscape with the construction of world class venues such as Disney Concert Hall, Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, LACMA’s recent addition of the Broad Contemporary, to name a few, and that Club Nokia and L.A. Live fits into that list further points to Los Angeles’ status on the world stage.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, if you’re on the VIP list your entrance is on Fig and the lounge is pretty sweet. They even have private cabanas up there!

LA Weekly