The indie rock genre first made its presence in the mid-1980s for those that basked in the independent and relatively low-budget, do-it yourself band and music that is easily interchangeable to alternative rock. Although LA is a big music scene, Orange County provides a various amount of intimate venues that offer a personal and cherished experience for the indie rock connoisseur. These are some of the best places in Southern California’s OC scene to catch an indie rock show.
(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

The Observatory
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 957-0600

This local and well-known venue in the heart of Orange County is home to a series of top notch performances and bands that have performed including Jessie Ware and Yellowcard in the past. Formerly known as the Galaxy, the venue is one of the best to catch a live show in Orange County. The intimate atmosphere gives a unique experience that many concert goers prefer to the LA concert scene.

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(credit: Steven C./Yelp)

(credit: Steven C./Yelp)

122 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA
(714) 871-2233

This Orange County establishment takes pride in celebrating the history of Orange County music and rock’n’roll. Music played a major role in the downtown Fullerton scene with one of the biggest contributions from Leo Fender with the creation of the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars. Some notable artists that have performed at this venue include The Righteous Brothers, Jackson Browne, Agent Orange, No Doubt, Sugar Ray and much more.

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(credit: Dawn A./Yelp)

(credit: Dawn A./Yelp)

The Coach House
33157 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 496-8930

Like many Orange County venues, The Coach House encourages and supports local bands to play at the venue. It was first opened in 1980 by Gary Folgner where it is the launching pad for aspiring artists and home to those that are established in the industry. Some artists that have performed at this venue include Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak, Tori Amos, B.B. King, Tom Jones and the Black Crowes. Check out the latest bands on the website

(credit: Wayfarer)

(credit: Wayfarer)

The Wayfarer
843 W 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 764-0039

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New owner Jeffrey Chon opened the doors to the Wayfarer in July of 2014. The Wayfarer was once home to the former hot spot Detroit Bar. Years ago, the venue would have heavy hitting band like Modest Mouse perform. The history of this venue was finding amazing local talent and giving them a stage to sell up to 2,000 tickets for a performance. The inspiration for the venue came from the owners’ love for food and drink when traveling. With some changes to the floor plan and atmosphere, Wayfarer is a local stop that is growing and evolving. You can also catch local music on their Monday Night Residency.

By Elle Toussi