The Sunset Strip has been known as a place where music makes an imprint on history. What better way to celebrate music other than shutting down a section of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood for a music festival?
The third-annual Sunset Strip Music Festival, on Aug. 26-28, remained just as unique as in past years. All three days were filled with a variety of shows located at the The Roxy Theatre, Whisky A Go-Go, Viper Room, Key Club, Cat Club and the House of Blues. It isn’t every day a person can walk into some of Hollywood’s most famous clubs on a given day.
Out of all the shows available during the three days, Saturday was the best night. There were additional outdoor performances on two stages, one on San Vicente and the other on Doheny. It was aural paradise, the music booming through the hills of Hollywood as people from all walks of life enjoyed the wide array of performers and food trucks lined up in the middle of everything. Among The Greasy Wiener, Shrimp Pimp, Greez Wheez and Dosa trucks, the Grilled Cheese truck grabbed the most attention with its inventive, customizable menu.
Saturday was by far the busiest day. More than 50 diverse bands, including Lady Sinatra, Nikki & Rich, The Divine, John West and The Lonely Drunks Club Band, took the same stages where Mötley Crüe, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, The Doors and many other rock legends once performed. During an interview on the 98.7 FM stage in the Viper Room, Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe reminisced about when he hung out on the Strip as a teenager and his Motley Crue days when he realized the Strip was the “destination place to play.”
Slash, the 2010 SSMF honoree, drew one of the largest crowds of the day with fans taking up the majority of the room on the street and sidewalks — even standing on brick walls to get a better view of the stage.
Slash’s performance was full of life, with heavy, driven riffs that blew everyone away. His solo touring band, including lead vocalist Myles Kennedy, was there to back him up as he shredded away on his guitar though it was clear he was still the main focus.
Bridging a gap between the old and new generation, younger performers also graced the two outdoor stages. Travie McCoy was all smiles during his performance on the West Stage, interacting with the audience members as if they were one huge group of friends and appreciating their love for music and Los Angeles. His playfulness and excitement shone through in his upbeat stage presence, signature funny faces and songs, such as “Critical,” his hit single “Billionaire” and even a Gym Class Heroes throwback from 2007, “Cupid’s Chokehold.”
Other hip-hop acts included Common and Kid Cudi on the East Stage. Although Common had a 30-minute delay because of technical difficulties, his fans waited for him. When Kid Cudi came on after Common, a sea of people waited as the sun began to set. A couple of people right against the barricade had waited hours to see Cudi and lost the feeling in their legs, but they found it all well worth it.
Before the street fest came to a close, The Smashing Pumpkins, with the last remaining original member Billy Corgan, lit up the entire street with colorful stage lights and pure rock ‘n’ roll energy. Covering both old classics, such as “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “Tonight, Tonight” as well as new favorites, they were the perfect closers for the show to remind everyone the purpose of the festival: to celebrate and honor music legends and the history that has created an epic path through the Sunset Strip.
Melissa Leu contributed to this report.