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Two Packed Nights as Beck Opens Club Nokia

By Camilo Smith
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008, at 09:36PM
Beck Flickr user hobogirl923 [Flickr]

Singer Beck helped break in the latest module of the multi-billion dollar L.A. Live complex this weekend, opening Club Nokia over a packed two-night stint that ended Monday night.

The 2,300 capacity club is something of a smaller, more intimate sibling to the sprawling Nokia Theatre, which has been showcasing larger shows for just over a year. Entering the VIP entrance off of Figueroa Street, concertgoers are greeted by draped lounge areas, curved walls and neon ambient lighting that give the room the feel of a cool spaceship.

Take the elevator down to the general audience area and the hardwood floors contrast with the low metallic ceiling. The standing room-only floor can be a bit loud at times with speakers jutting out half-way between the stage and the bar. But that's to be expected--it will take the first couple of concerts to tweak the sound and get it just right.

The bar area, which occupies most of the back wall, also has the neon blue accents, giving it a warm glow. Everything about the Club Nokia signals space-age, but with the simplicity of your average Hollywood club space.

While many people packed the sunken-in section closest to the stage, others danced on the sidelines. Security cleaned up spills to maintain the newness of the dark-wood floors.

Beck opened his almost hour-long set with the hip-hoppy "Where It's At." The stage, made to look like some sort of movie set with giant spotlights, benefited from the depth that was later created when the back wall lit up in varying sequence.

The audience, which varied in age, was taken through a "best of" from Beck's catalog, as he went through all of his phases, from trip-hopper -- when he stood at the front of the stage, his band mates playing hand held drum pads ("Hollywood Freaks") -- to rocker ("Nicotine & Gravy"), to folksy acoustic guitar crooner ("Lost Cause").

Although the crowd started to thin out before the set was done, Beck's rendition of his 90's hit "Loser" brought all the energy back before he closed the show.

As a trio, the lineup of Staples Center (nearly 20,000 seats), Nokia Theatre (7,100 seats) and Club Nokia (2,300 capacity) give L.A. Live owner AEG an impressive capability to book shows of all sizes. For years, music fans have been used to coming Downtown for stadium-sized shows at Staples and, more recently, large shows at Nokia. Now Club Nokia brings its own unique quality -- an intimate space in the midst of a gigantic entertainment complex where music lovers can savor live acts just a little more closely.


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