By Frank Barron
Universal CityWalk is unquestionably the most active and entertaining place in Los Angeles, with something for everyone. And the exciting hot spot is currently rocking with its annual Spring Break Live music program. It has a lineup of free rock concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, through May 7 on the outdoor stage in the heart of CityWalk.
The rocking schedule started with a great launch party at the Universal’s Hard Rock Café hosted by Pat Donahue, director of entertainment and special events at Universal. Donahue introduced three great bands who have wowed the crowds on CityWalk’s center stage: Paperback Hero, Later Days and Rey Fresco. They played for an appreciative gathering of media and music industry guests, and Donahue spoke with pride about nurturing their talent and others. “Here at Universal, we like to discover great talent and we support them on their journey towards success. Showcasing the bands at CityWalk gives these performers an opportunity to connect with their fans, and become headliners and recording stars.”
Bryan Hopkins with Paperback Hero said that it was Donahue who got his group to put together a music video, which helped spread the word about their great sound. Paperback Hero will be releasing their CD at the end of April, and Hopkins noted that they even have a clothing line for their fans who support the band.
Great talent will continue to be discovered on Friday nights at CityWalk. KIIS-FM’s Wango Tango Breakout Star competition is being held through May 6. The Wango Tango event features energetic, undiscovered bands performing April 15, 22, 29 and May 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. They are being judged by a panel of industry professionals and championed by online public voting. The acts compete to win a coveted on-stage spot at KIIS-FM’s summer Wango Tango, which showcases a group of A-list talent annually. This same Friday night lineup will then transition to the Universal Music Showcase at 9 p.m., highlighting the emerging pop, hip hop and rock musicians who have signed with the Universal Music Group.
So the second half of Friday nights will feature Elaine Faye presented by Hard Rock Cafe, on April 15; Andy Grammer on April 22; Gustavo Galindo on April 29; and Hyper Crush on May 6. A variety of sponsors are presenting their shows, including Eight O Five/Universal Music; Bashtown Music Group/Upstairs Records; Hard Rock Cafe; S-Curve Records; Universal Music Latin Entertainment and Universal Motown.
Saturday nights at CityWalk will have two bands performing at 8 and 9:15 p.m. On April 16 the groups of Avenue 52 and A Living Daylight appear; The Inheritance and Darius Lux are on April 23; college fans should enjoy the USC Sirens and USC Trojan Men on April 30; and rockers Stereofix and Method Echo wrap it up on May 7. It’s a wide variety of music genres, from pop rock to Latin to soul — to whatever is hot. Its sheer entertainment every weekend, as in past years, is aimed at the music-loving crowd and sure to please everyone.
There is no admission price to CityWalk, and the concerts are free, but there is a charge for parking. And for the budget-minded, there is “The Awesome Date” package that has dinner, a movie and parking handled for $25 per person, Monday through Thursday. It is a tremendous deal, and you can go to CityWalkHollywood.com for more details or on Twitter @CityWalkLA and Facebook.
Universal CityWalk itself is a diversity of food and entertainment, with several fine dining places and various fast-food outlets. The new Johnny Rockets restaurant and sports bar has a “blast from the past” atmosphere that’s lots of fun. Additional entertainment includes the 16-screen AMC and IMAX Cinema complex, Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, iFly Indoor Skydiving, shops and so much more.