The Return of Live Music

After months of lockdown, in-person performances have returned to take center stage


Along with its iconic live music, Republic of Pie’s rustic decor, artisan coffee, and no-stress feel make it the ideal place to finish up homework, meet up with friends, or start writing your best-selling novel. Photo credit:

     The hardwood floors of the theater tremble under the weight of hundreds of fans. We all jump simultaneously to an electrifying guitar riff, shouting the lyrics of a song that pulled us through months of lockdown. As hands sway rhythmically and speakers blast, it’s impossible to deny it—live music is back, and it’s better than ever. 

     With many COVID-19 restrictions lifted, artists both big and small are sharing their music in-person again. 

     Massive concerts—like the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas—have resumed in full-force, packing eager fans shoulder to shoulder in lively outdoor venues. 

     Headliners at the event included Coldplay, DaBaby, Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo. 

     Gizelle Medina ‘23 was ecstatic to attend the show as a present for her seventeenth birthday. Reflecting on what the experience meant to her, she said, “I think music is a way to bring a bunch of people together. I made so many friends literally just by being at a concert. I got at least 15 peoples’ Instagrams and I’m still talking to some of them.” 

     There’s an inescapable, intrinsic sense of community when you’re sharing in the same overwhelming excitement of seeing your favorite popstar perform merely feet away. 

     But the recent resurgence of live entertainment hasn’t just affected the big names. Local musicians and rising artists have felt its reverberations as well; among them our very own soccer coach, Religion and Spanish teacher, Mr. Michael Armas. 

     Mr. Armas plays in a mariachi band that has finally gotten back to performing at restaurants, weddings, and birthday parties after a year-long break. The time he spent in isolation allowed him to truly appreciate the joy music brought him and others.

     “I think having a year without live music was really detrimental to peoples’ health and well-being. For example, I listen to music all day, everyday, so the fact that it’s back is so good and positive for so many people,” Mrs. Armas said. 

     And being the second largest city in the United States, Los Angeles has no shortage of musicophiles. Known for its exciting nightlife and booming film and music industries, the Entertainment Capital of the World is home to some of the best small concert venues. Favorites include the Troubadour, the Roxy, the Regent Theatre, and the Ford.   

     Many incredible rising musicians have performed at these theaters, so consider taking a chance on a name you don’t recognize—they just might become the world’s next big star. Some of the greatest icons started their careers here. Elton John, Bob Marley, and Neil Diamond are a few among many of the household names who left their hearts out on those small stages many years ago.

     But don’t feel limited to just traditional venues. Seeing live music (free of charge!) has never been easier thanks to a wide variety of lively restaurants and cozy cafes scattered around LA. 

     One of the greatest spots to enjoy live, relaxing music is a little coffee house nestled in the heart of the North Hollywood Arts District. Republic of Pie boasts freshly baked goods, a warm and comfortable atmosphere, and nightly up-and-coming talent. 

     Since 2018, the Ateliers have been performing regularly at the restaurant. Sweet-sounding harmonies float easily above gentle guitar, the low warble of a cello almost compelling eyes to shut in order to fully absorb the perfect consonance where folk meets jazz.

     Nathan Benedict, one of the lead vocalists of the group was excited to return.

     “I don’t know about you guys, but I was definitely stuck in my house for a year and a half, so coming out has been weird. But I think audiences are crazy ready for it and bands are crazy ready for it. So I think the energy right now is really, really great. Bands are thankful to be on stage and audiences are thankful to be hearing it; just a lot of gratitude all around,” Benedict said. 

     But even as COVID cases decline, anxieties about catching the virus haven’t completely quelled. Venues are working hard to provide fans with an unforgettable, yet safe experience. Vaccine cards or negative tests have become the industry standard, and masks are enforced at all indoor events. If you’re feeling unsure, there’s nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution. Whenever you’re ready, the music will be waiting for you.