What's left of L.A.'s rave scene are about a dozen after-hours joints from Santa Monica to Downtown, serving several hundred die-hards. Some look classy, others look like drug dens, most cater to the 18-and-up crowd. Some rave veterans say after-hours clubs are too extreme even for them. "Everyone's on speed, violent and packing (guns)," says former rave organizer Lou Rittenhouse. "I don't go out anymore."
The downfall may have been inevitable. Massive crowds, drug overdoses and crime hurt the rave scene in Manchester, England, in the late '80s. "It's very similar to what happened in England," says Brit Steve Levy, a record company owner who helped bring raves to Los Angeles. "It got huge and commercial, and then it went back into the much smaller clubs, the underground clubs."
PHOTO: COLOR, At Abyss, an after-hours club in the Rampart district, the Saturday night party doesn't begin until 1 a.m Sunday. At 10 a.m, as the rest of the city wakes up and smells the coffee, the music stops.; PHOTO: COLOR, Security guards at Abyss frisk party-goers, who hunt down the clubs for a chance to let loose and dance.; PHOTO: COLOR, An exhausted dancer takes a break amid the pulsating music at the Reaktor, one of the nearly dozen after-hour clubs around L.A.; PHOTO: COLOR, Bathrooms are said to be first stop for drug-using ravers. A club-goer enjoys light show, above, before the late-night dance rush begins. / GINA FERAZZI / Los Angeles Times