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Sunset Strip Music Festival -- Live Review

The Sunset Strip Music Festival was held August 18-20 in Hollywood, Calif. Our girl Kari went to the fest and provides this special review below:

MOTLEY CRUE ROAST: This event was not open to the public. Luckily with the three-day VIP pass, I was able to attend. Best news as soon as I walked into the House of Blues was….OPEN BAR (YAY) – Ray Manzarek kicked things off with a piano/Doors tribute/Whisky a-Go-Go speech. I know this was a spin off of CRUE’S history playing the Whisky, but personally found no relevance in how Manzarek related to the CRUE, but that was just me, whatever! Dane Cook (FAIL) – cool video montage – tons of Motley Music - OPEN BAR (YAY!) Kennedy (from MTV back in the day – FAIL) and someone else presenting with her but can’t remember who – David Johannsen (FREAK and barely anyone knew what he was talking about) – OPEN BAR (YAY!) - author NEIL STRAUSS (probably the only person who literally had some merit speaking on behalf of the CRUE). Adler (the owner of Whisky, I think) – CRUE accepted an award and looked less than excited to be there. Vince was hammered (what’s new). After the event was over, some band called The Crash Kings played and I don’t know anyone that stuck around. Little disappointed in who they had speaking on behalf of the CRUE but its always a good time when the CRUE is involved!

Friday night I chose to go see BUCKCHERRY at the ROXY (instead of the Doors at the Whisky) – little problematic with our VIP passes (regular ticket holders were honored before VIP ticket holders, YES, you are reading this correctly) – so backwards and so not what we were promised when we bought our VIP passes. Taddy Porter sounded pretty cool as I waited outside, and then alas I was able to get in about 10 minutes before Buckcherry went on. Fell in love with this venue as soon as I walked in. Loved the intimacy of the place and how the stage is on an angle with the beautiful, heavy drapes. Buckcherry sounded Great! Looked Great! The band had a ton of energy and ROCKED as they always do. I think they were even happy to be there. Highlight for me was when they did a cover of "Whipping Post" at the end of the night. (Oh yeah, and being that I was standing right at the rail of the back section, something must have gone down because literally about 15 cops pranced through there like it was nobody’s business). No actual idea what went down, though.

Saturday – Day of the Street Festival

I had to be there on time because there was NO WAY I was going to miss hearing Black Veil Brides. There has been quite a buzz circulating on the 'net over this band. Well... they DID NOT DISAPPOINT! (Sidebar: being that I’m from New Orleans and we have festivals of all types, all year round, the first thing I wanted was a cold beer at 2:00 in the afternoon. I quickly learned you could only drink in the designated “beer” gardens and there was free Vitamin Water for those walking on the street. Little cooky in my world and a lot of opportunity for profitability lost, but hey, its not my rules. That VIP pass paid off later that’s for sure).

OK, back to the fest…

Black Veil Brides had a killer glam look, glam attitude and just ROCKED the S**T outta the place. I’ll be finding out more about them thanks to this festival! (Note: Sebastian Bach has gone nuts for this band and was hoping to tour with them but apparently promoters shot the idea down, per Baz). You will be hearing about this band quite a bit I think.

I watched a little of the next act on the east side stage and was unimpressed – some synthesized act that just didn’t catch my attention. Off to check out the VIP areas. I preferred VIP next to the Key Club (as opposed to the VIP area on the rooftop of the bank next to the Key Club). I didn’t bother seeing a bunch of other acts in the clubs and east stage. Escape the Fate weren’t bad, nothing that really stood out about them in my opinion and the lead singer had a bit of LSD going on. He totally freaked out because he couldn’t hear his in-ear monitors and let everyone know – whatever! Skipped a few more bands and then next up was Bush on the West Stage... I was NEVER a fan of theirs, do not own one song, CD and personally thought no one actually gave a lick about this band anymore, but let me tell you... I was DEAD WRONG! The street was insanely packed by the time they hit the stage. They came out guns-a-blazing and rocked it! I was impressed with how great hey sounded and surprised how much I enjoyed them (except "Glycerine" as I will NEVER EVER like that song no matter how well they play it). KUDOS to them!

Next up was probably the most surprising highlight for me. I was a bit fearful I wasn’t going to be able to leave my sweet spot in the VIP section to get down to the east stage for Public Enemy but after Bush, the crowd started moving so I made a mad dash. Talk about FUN, FUN, FUN... After some little technical difficulties, out comes Chuck D and Flavor Flav and they TORE IT UP! Kickin’ it back old school and the crowd ate it up (as a matter of fact, Taime Down and Riki Rachtman both stood behind me for a song or two – little ironic for me, yes, but I wasn’t paying attention to them, I was there to see how scary Flavor Flav is in person, haha). Scott Ian had announced earlier in the day that he was going to come out and jam with PE and JAM he did! The crowd went NUTS as soon as they went into the Anthrax/PE version of "Bring the Noise." I then went back to my VIP spot because I knew my travel window was closing.

CRUE finally take the stage and the crowd was READY! When I tell you the energy on that street was nothing short of insanity, let me explain: about two songs in there was a small tree on the street in front of the Key Club and I guess it was hindering some people’s view because the people standing by the tree actually managed to take it down, limbs and all. CLASSIC! Crue’s set wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, little shorter than their regular set, but yes, I think this tour has had a great energy all summer long. Watching CRUE ON the Sunset Strip underneath the evening sky was something I never thought I’d see, so it made my trip out to L.A. completely worth it!

Next up after the CRUE I had to go to the Whisky to see Motochrist and... LONDON! That’s right BBG! readers! I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed Motochrist. I have a CD that was given to me a few years back, but live they are much better than on the record (in my opinion).

I enjoyed Motochrist but honestly, I was so excited and anxious for London to take the stage because again, never in a million years did I EVER think I’d see this band perform on the Sunset Strip after all this time! The club bands were only playing 25 minute sets so it was like dangling the bait and LONDON left me wanting more, that’s for sure! Nadir D'Priest's pipes are still as strong as they were back in the day. I just closed my eyes at one point and had to take it all in. For the life of me WHY did this band just go nowhere? Sure they had success on the Strip and of course, thanks to the cult classic, Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: THE METAL YEARS, and D’Priest (formerly London) had some mild success in the early 90s but it just hit me how much I loved their music. Now they are back under the name London and I think they are better than some of the scab bands touring regularly. Anyway, it is what it is and you better believe I’ll figure out a way to see these guys play again! HELLO M3 ROCK FEST, I THINK YOU NEED TO JUMP ON THIS ONE FOR THE SIDE STAGE PRONTO!

I do prefer my festivals to include a lot of the same genre of bands, especially if I’m traveling a long way from home, however I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the Sunset Strip Music Fest. Anxious to see how they top CRUE next year and I can’t wait to return to THE SUNSET STRIP!

Reader Comments (6)

Awesome review, Kari! Black Veil Brides! Buckcherry! Crüe!

And coolest of all, LONDON! For you to have seen that band, one that really helped define "The L.A. Hair Metal Sound", in that atmosphere of The Strip, where it all happened, I am SO jealous.

I probably would have found myself staring at the sidewalk in front of The Whisky, looking for the band flyers they all used to confetti The Strip with back in the glory days, hoping to find a few fluttering down the sidewalk, the ghosts of all the unknown legends like Ana Black, Plain Jane and Rock Candy flying off the pages on the wings of their Flying V's.

p.s. There's always next year, but sounds like this years line-up might be hard to top. They really should embrace the past even more and approach all the legendary L.A. Strip bands still out there like RATT, L.A. Guns, Slaughter, Pretty Boy Floyd and Junkyard, as well as those who have been known to reunite from time to time, such as Wildside and Rock City Angels, to play the Festival, as well.
September 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
did you write this drunk?
September 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Metalboy, I appreciate your comments, as always! The only thing I noticed worth staring at in front of The Whisky was the beautiful gold Van Halen plaque in the sidewalk in front of the entrance!!! Didn't pay attention if there were flyers up around the building.

steve: to answer your question, YES!

September 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Kari, I luv ya, I really. do. But.... Black Veil brides? Really?? UGH!
September 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
Kari, i can see where Steve is coming from. At the beginning of your review, it really does seem like you're babbling incoherently. it gets much better a little way down though. :) I don't get black Veil brides either...Just don't hear what the fuss is all about.
September 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Kari! What I meant was: I WISH I would see old flyers. Those days are long gone, like Jani Lane (RIP) and Taime Downe were lamenting just last week on "That Metal Show".
September 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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