Destination LA: McCabe’s Guitar Shop

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Santa Monica California has sun, surf, and music…

One of this L.A.’s treasures is McCabe’s Guitar Shop where you can expect to find more than just stringed musical instruments and lessons on how to use them. People come to hear from those that have mastered their craft. Concerts at McCabe’s are an intimate small stage affair that feels like what it is, getting up close and personal with an artist. Whether you are a fan of the performer(s) or just looking for a destination to hear live music, this is the place to keep an eye on with a history of greats going back five decades.
For my experience I was lucky enough to catch an all time personal favorite, Langhorne Slim, in a pared down solo performance in the back room. Telling stories and singing from a single chair, which at times could barely contain his energy and need to move, Langhorne entranced fans and first timers alike with a mix of folk, rock, and country twang. How do I know? I’m a fan from back before his first album Electric Love Letter came out in 2004. The couple next to me had been tracking him for a few years, since they first encountered him as an opening act. The group behind me were new to the experience of seeing Langhorne Slim on stage just like my date, and by the end they were total converts.

There are artists that exactly repeat their albums when they perform live, those that sound nothing like it without a sound engineer, and those that transcend recordings of their work when you experience their vitality in person. Langhorne Slim is definitely the third. Don’t get me wrong, he is in all of my playlists and his most recent cd, The Spirit Moves, has a permanent home in my car, but there is nothing like being there. I have caught three performances in LA over the last few years, the most recent which lead to my discovery of McCabe’s Guitar Shop as a venue, and each time I brought a newbie as my guest. All three are now on notice for the next concert and ready to buy their tickets.

The experience was enhanced by the atmosphere at McCabe’s. Wood paneled walls covered in every type of strummable guitar, ukulele, banjo, and more that I don’t have names for, come together to create a world transported back and steeped in history. With tickets running between $20-$30 and affordable afternoon shows for families as well as their night time events McCabe’s Guitar Shop offers a taste of the now while surrounded by the history of the music played there. Come during the day or slip in at night for a show, either way visitors can feel the notes that have sunk into the walls as greats play skillful chords, and newbies their first notes.

Check out the Concert Calendar at McCabe’s Guitar Shop and keep your eyes open for Langhorne Slim’s Tour Schedule for local appearances.

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