Malibu Performing Arts Center

Best New Music Venue, August 2008

Granted, the first visit to the Malibu Performing Arts Center can be off-putting. The room seems more conducive to a sonorous lecture on law than a rowdy evening with Lucinda Williams or Tegan and Sara. But we were fooled. This is a venue for discriminating fans, built for live music and the recording gigs of professionals, with sound quality that’s better than that in any comparable theater in Los Angeles. No matter the volume level, every instrument rings out on its own, which is likely why Cat Power, Tom Petty, Mavis Staples, Aimee Mann, and Richard Thompson have all played shows here.