ALESSIA CARA MAKES HER LOS ANGELES DEBUT @ THE TROUBADOUR

Canadian Alessia Cara made her highly anticipated Los Angeles debut at The Troubadour. Signed to Def Jam records based on her Soundcloud page that included covers of Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, this show marked Alessia's first headlining gig.

PINS ANNOUNCE U.S. SUMMER TOUR

Ahead of their June 9th release of their upcoming album Wild Nights, UK's PINS have released their new single "Young Girls." Also, they just announced their U.S. summer toiur which kicks off June 13rh in New York.

ZELLA DAY @ THE TROUBADOUR

Zella Day has released her debut album Kicker and she celebrated with a sold out show at LA's famed Troubadour last week.

MAKE MUSIC PASADENA SHINES IN ITS 8TH YEAR

Last Saturday, over 150 bands made their journey to downtown Pasadena to take part in Make Music Pasadena (MMP), billed as the largest free, all-day music festival on the West Coast.

WINTER @ THE ECHO

Winter's new album Supreme Blue Dream is the ideal soundtrack to your summer..

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dø @ The Bootleg Theater

Olivia Merilahti of The Dø performs at The Bootleg TheaterIt’s hard to pin down the music of The Dø. A Finnish band making waves across the pond, they stormed our beaches like a thief in the night. Like a record playing in reverse, there’s an uneasiness yet pleasing sound to their music. Wailing guitars in despair, methodical drum beats, dirty pop arrangements laced with Olivia Merilahti Bjork-esque sharp vocals. The Dø is everything in between, balancing between pop, rock and sometimes bordering rap and folk-rock. Mix all these ingredients together and you get The Dø. Their first English album, aptly titled, "A Mouthful" pulls from all genres of music. They were the first French act to score a #1 record in France with an album sung in English.

And last week, they ended their North American tour at The Bootleg Theater, a venue on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles, away from the bright lights of Hollywood or Sunset Blvd. You knew the neighborhood was pretty rough when the bouncer of the venue asked us not to linger outside too long, rather to take it inside to the back patio. You wouldn't know from the outer appearance but the inside told a different story. People shoulder to shoulder, nearly filled to capacity awaiting The Dø's final U.S. show. The show, this particular night was paced perfectly, their trance-inducing sounds, especially "On My Shoulders" turned the crowd into hypnotics with mesmerizing beats and barbed guitars cutting through the air. And with Dan Levy's guitar landscaping the melody in "The Bridge Is Broken," Olivia's edgy vocals are free to envelope the crowd. By the end of their set, they didn't disapoint, leaving fans wanting more after leading the crowd singalong to "Stay Just a Little Bit More."

Although The Dø didn’t cause waves stateside, it was clear they did manage to cause ripples that will, no doubt, leave a lasting effect here in the US.


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NICO VEGA'S "Million Years" Video



In this new animated music video Nico Vega go back in time to a "Crucible" inspired Salem Witch Trial. Will the band's message of freedom and individuality save them from their puritanical captors or will they face the gallows?

Shot entirely with an iPhone 3G and all original artwork by Sascha Ciezata. "Million Years" is off Nico Vega's self titled debut album Nico Vega.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

BIRD & THE BEE'S New Video for "Man"

Inara George of Bird and the Bee
Inara George of Bird and the Bee
photograph by picksysticks


Bird and the Bee just released a new video for "Man," which is off their 2007 EP, "Please Clap Your Hands." The video was directed by Rocksusto, using many photographs taken during their 2008 tour.


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HEY MONDAY on MYSPACE TRANSMISSIONS

This week, Myspace Transmissions welcome Hey Monday to their Santa Monica studios. Head over to the link HERE to catch their acoustic performances of "Wondergirl," "I Don't Wanna Dance," "Wish You Were Here," "Homecoming" and a cover of Jason Derulo's "In My Head." Mike Gentile, Cassadee Pope and Alex Lipshaw also sit down for an interview which you can also watch. Below is one video from their performance. Currently, Hey Monday are on tour but you can expect them when they return to Los Angeles November 18th (Glass House) and November 19th (El Rey Theater).

MySpace Transmissions is your place for free exclusive acoustic music performances and musician interviews on MySpace. Listen to exclusive music tracks and exclusive interviews.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

GRAM RABBIT @ Port of L.A. Lobster Festival


Gram Rabbit
photo by Marina Chavez


by JPegg

There’s something strange emanating from the galaxy of dirt out there in the Mohave Desert . In the location of Joshua Tree, California , to be exact. The origin seems of alien sound, but of this earth. Terrestrial, yet spacadelic. A mirage of odd characters with leaders armed with weapons of confound sound. Here to stay and make their impact. All reports have been confirmed true: Gram Rabbit has once again arrived!


On Saturday, September 18, 2010 , there was a Gram Rabbit sighting at The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival. The location was an ocean side port that seemed to be the front line of human existence fighting a losing battle against the salty corrosion of Mother Nature. Gram Rabbit was out of their usual rabbit holes and under the moon lit celestial sphere this evening. The Royal Order of Rabbits were out and crowded with lobster heads and crustacean carcasses of various varieties. The gathering of witnessing inhabitance was immense. When the music started, the humans gravitated like asteroids hurling towards stage.

The Gram Rabbit performance was an interesting twist of sight and sound. It was as if Alice fell into a surreal Wonderland of rabbits. Alice turning into female front artist Jesika von Rabbit as she performed among a strangeness of alien rabbits that looked to be conjured up from desert heat delusions, a Mad Hatter, or an LSD trip: there was the black bug-eyed space cadet rabbit with bubble gun blaster, the white boxer rabbit trying to off heads, and Victorian rabbit dancing disco ball. A wild bunch of fantastical bunnies that stirs among the hop along cowboy dusty bop invaded by spacetronic beats. Jesika von Rabbit had the trance wide-eyes at time as though she had seen the unbelievable, no longer a skeptic of the false reality she realized that now reflects in her lyrics. “Stuck in a native trance, we call buffalo stance.” Freedom to roam, but having imprisoned mind and body. Tom Rutherford on bass, vocalized a few anti-sentiments as well. Ethan Allen, the lone stranger on guitar. Hayden Scott on drums.

“Miracles & Metaphors” is the new album from Gram Rabbit that is set to be released October 12th. Copies are currently only being sold at live shows, but a few tracks can be heard on their MySpace page. The following is their live Lobster Fest show finale performance of their new spaced-out, bunny infected, desert dedicated, party themed song, “Candy Flip”.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Catch THE Dø's last US show at The Bootleg Theater (Wednesday 9/22)

THE Dø
photo by picksysticks

Hey guys! Whenever there's a band coming to town worth mentioning, I like to pass it along. Playing to sold out concerts all over Paris, French/Finnish band The Dø (pronounced like 'dough), is the first French act to score a #1 record in France with an album sung in English. A MOUTHFUL, their debut album was released in U.S. this past April to rave reviews. Be sure to check them out when their highly anticipated month-long US tour comes to a close Wednesday night (9/22) at The Bootleg Theater.





*****UPDATE*******
Read our review of their Los Angeles show at right HERE.

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CHERRI BOMB opens up for SMASHING PUMPKINS

Julia Pierce and Miranda Miller of Cherri BombJulia Pierce and Miranda Miller of Cherri Bomb
Julia Pierce and Miranda Miller of Cherri Bomb performs at the Roxy.
photo by picksysticks

Great news for Cherri Bomb!! Billy Corgan, front-man of The Smashing Pumpkins, announced that Cherri Bomb will be opening for them during three of their September shows. Cherri Bomb will be joining The Smashing Pumpkins tour for shows at Houston (9/21), Dallas (9/22) and Tulsa (9/24). LA based Cherri Bomb just recently played the Sunset Strip Music Festival last month in which The Smashing Pumpkins headlined. Read our review and see more pics of their show right HERE.


See also: Girls Rule The Sunset Strip Music Festival: Day 1

DANIELLE ARTAUD of MILLIONAIRES confirms split


Dani Artaud, Melissa & Allison Green of The Millionaires.

Dani Artaud, one of three that forms The Millionaires confirms she split from the band in her blog while also revealing that she's venturing out to to start a new band called, Mr. Downstairs. Read HERE for the full statement.

"A lot of rumors have been going around on the internet and it’s about time I set things straight. I’ve heard a lot of weird and outlandish things that are completely untrue but one thing that is true is that I have left the Millionaires. Contrary to some belief there is no “beef” between me, Melissa or Allie. It was just time for me to take the next step in my life...For those of you who think I’ve called it quits and will never hear from me again, you’re wrong. I have too much passion to just roll over and die! I’m beginning something new that is going to be both very creatively challenging and rewarding. My musical passion lies in a completely different genre than I am now used to writing, but I am ready to seize it!! I am starting a new project with my best friend, Asia Whiteacre, called Mr. Downstairs. We have already started writing and have set things in motion; you will be hearing more about this in the next couple weeks. I am so excited about this and I hope you are too!!"
The Millionaires just released their new EP, "CASH ONLY" which is available everywhere online including on iTunes right now.

See also:

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Monday, September 20, 2010

HEY MONDAY on Jimmy Kimmel, Cover Jason Derulo's "In My Head"

Cassaddee Pope of Hey Monday
Hey Monday's Cassadee Pope performs during Vans Warped Tour
photo by picksyticks

They've been known to sing this song on tour. And now,
Billboard's Mashup Monday's
features Hey Monday covering Jason Derulo's "In My Head." Their new EP Beneath It All, which came out last month, peaked on The Billboard 200 at 25. Next month, they begin their fall tour with Cartel, The Ready Set, This Century and We Are The In Crowd. As for when they're playing LA? Well, they'll play The Glass House in Pomona on November 18th. And make sure to watch Jimmy Kimmel on ABC this Wednesday (September 22nd) when Hey Monday's performance airs (which they taped last month).

*******************UPDATE 9/23*****************************
Here's Hey Monday's performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live singing "I Don't Wanna Dance."


****************HEY MONDAY covering Jason Derulo's "In My Head."*************

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

PALMDALE @ The Hotel Cafe

Linus Dotson and Kay Hanley of Palmdale
Linus Dotson and Kay Hanley of Palmdale performing an acoustic set at The Hotel Cafe.
photo by picksysticks


The newest Hollywood couple isn't Bachelorette Ali and Roberto or Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. If you were at the Hotel Cafe Tuesday night, you saw newest couple Linus Dotson and Kay Hanley banter onstage like one of those couples you see at the supermarket arguing about what flavor ice cream to buy, not caring who hears them. They're actually not a couple (or are they?) but they sure do play the roles nicely. But both do make up the band Palmdale and Tuesday, they played an intimate set at The Hotel Cafe in support of their download-only EP, "Get Wasted."







Kay Hanley of Palmdale


A transplant from Boston, Kay Hanley, the former lead singer of Letters To Cleo, who now calls L.A. home brings her talents and sound to Palmdale (the band). And with Linus Dotson's talents as a writer and producer, working with bands such as Bowling For Soup, Puff Daddy and Cheap Trick, Palmdale is just getting started wetting our appetites with an 5-track EP earlier this year. "Get Wasted" from Oglio Records consists of infectious melodies of pop-rock with guitars that bite. Listen to "Happiness Has A Half-life" and "Here Comes The Summer" on the widget above and you'll quickly be singing along while driving up the PCH. Their songs, stripped down this evening during this full one hour set are even catchier when heard acoustically. Their chemistry was easily the highlight of the evening during a night in what felt like a friendly jam session in front of close friends. Kay and Linus revealed their upcoming album, which was expected to drop this October, has been pushed back indefiniteley, Linus admitingly remixing it for the third time. Such perfectionist.

In the mean time, for updates or if you need a quick chuckle, check out Palmdale's very entertaining video blogs HERE.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sara Bareilles Claims #1 spot on Billboard

Sara Bareilles' new album, "Kaleidoscope Heart" just claimed the Number 1 spot on Billboard's 200 album chart, selling 90,000 units in its debut week. Sara begins her tour next week, returning to Los Angeles when she plays the Orpheum Theatre on September 28th and House of Blues (San Diego) September 29th. Click on the image below to read the full article or just click HERE.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Port of Los Angeles' LOBSTER FESTIVAL: THIS WEEKEND

It's going to be a great weekend of fun and music when the LobsterFest hosts an A-list group of artists which include Gram Rabbit, Miss Derringer, Walking Sleep, Dengue Fever and Spider Problem. Check out the site HERE for set times and the images below for more info on the bands.










MISS DERRINGER'S New Video for "Bulletproof Heart"

Miss Derringer's Liz McGrath
Liz McGrath of Miss Derringer
photo by picksysticks


Shockhound.com posted Miss Derringer's new video for "Bulletproof Heart." Check out ShockTV for more videos, music news and interviews. Miss Derringer also plays this Saturday at the Los Angeles Lobsterfest with an all-star lineup that includes Gram Rabbitt, Walking Sleep, Spider Problem, Dengue Fever and Leslie Stevens & the Badgers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SPIRIT VINE: Residency Fridays @ 5 Star Bar

spirit vine
Spirit Vine

by Georgia Dorge

There are some indie bands that belong to L.A. They appear at every street fair or city festival. They can play east side or west side. They're rock filtered through one particular influence or era. Spirit Vine has earned this position over the last two years. Their influences include blues, ayahuasca, and beer, which they combine into a form they call "dirt rock boogie."

This month, Spirit Vine is headlining a residency at 5 Star Bar, a cool spot nestled between the Mexican gay bars around the corner from The Smell. They've culled the indie scene for variety, yet the bands selected fit in a sort of L.A. rock family, 2nd and 3rd cousins to the city's sound, experimental but digestible. The Pity Party, Seasons, and Manhattan Murder Mystery are well-known and approved, but they're joined by some rising talents like Cigarette Bums, Spider Problem, Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound, and then there's Run River Run, who don't even have a recorded track yet! Take a look, listen, and find your Friday night plans.

Listen to a song from each band on this residency mixtape.


And download a mixtape created by Spirit Vine to ease your stress.
"Here's 10 songs in specific order to be played before doing anything that's harmful to the brain: homework, shitty job, paying for tickets, hearing authority figures telling you what to do, and paying bills. LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO LET ALL THAT BRING YOU DOWN." —Spirit Vine
download link: http://bit.ly/dqGGav


Spirit Vine at Silverlake Jubilee

Friday, September 10, 2010

JOY FORMIDABLE'S "Balloon Called Moaning" EP

Rhydia, Ritzy and Matt of Joy Formidable
Rhydian Dafydd, Ritzy Bryan and Matt Thomas from Joy Formidable.

The Joy Formidable is a three-piece band from Wales whose been around for at least three years and has been dubbed by London press as the "one to watch." Ritzy's pop and sugary sweet vocals layers nicely above grungy guitars and hard beats echoing the sounds of Belly and The Breeders. In May they released their 8-track EP, "A Balloon Called Moaning" from Black Bell Records with a forthcoming debut album currently in the works.

They just played The Bootleg Theater in L.A. in August but in November, they return stateside with dates on the east coast.




Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MILLIONAIRES 'CASH ONLY' EP OUT NOW


The Millionaires just released their new EP, "CASH ONLY" which is available everywhere online including on iTunes right now. Here's the video from their new song, "Stay the Night."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FESTIVAL: Final Day

Nikki & Rich performs at The Roxy during the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photos by picksysticks

Last Saturday was the big finale of the third annual Sunset Strip Music Festival. The lineup so big, the Sunset Strip had to be closed to hold top acts like caged animals - Neon Trees, Semi Precious Weapons, Common, Kid Cudi, Slash, Fergie – all there to keep the 30,000 in attendance at bay for the festival's headliner – The Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan gave the fans what they wanted, a 90-minute set of hard rock, screeching guitars and loud music that would've made the ghosts of the Sunset Strip proud. It was a night sure to added to the many legendary stories of the famed Sunset Strip.

It began much earlier in the day, anticipation of the unexpected. The Sunset Strip, the Mecca of rock and roll had given up its musical throne to the likes of Silverlake and Echo Park. Three days. Two outdoor stages. Five venues. Over 100 bands. The SSMF was built to take the crown back and return the Strip to its past glory.

The Strip, helping shape the musical careers of The Doors, Guns n' Roses, The Byrds and Alice Cooper was also instrumental in the careers of other musicians. When girl-fronted bands were just seen as novelty acts, The Sunset Strip helped launched the careers of bands like The Runaways, The Go Go's and The Bangles.

Queen Caveat performs at The Viper Room on the last day of The Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photo by Picksyticks

The women who were able to crash this male-heavy lineup proved they belonged on The Strip, rocking all three days of the festival which saw the likes of Beth Hart, The Shakers, Cherri Bomb and Nico Vega. And on the final day of the festival, there was no slowing down for the girls.


Monte Carlo's Star 98.7's sponsored media lounge at The Viper offered performances and live interviews throughout the day. Queen Caveat, scheduled to play later in the night at 11:30 pm, played a toned down set in front of the media. Queen Caveat seemed like a deer in headlights in front of hundreds of camera flash bulbs and buzz of interviews in the background. At night, a totally different band took the stage on the dark recess of a dim stage. And what a difference between night and day makes for this four-piece band from Los Angeles. Instead of flash bulbs, an intense spotlight carved them out of the darkness. Queen Caveat's adrenalin fueled performance was throttled by spark-plug front-woman Lauren Little. This was their element. And this late-night show a more fitting time for their dark and sultry melodies. As people scattered to their cars after The Smashing Pumpkins electrifying set, Queen Caveat served to fill the void for those not ready to go home.


HDR performs at The Cat Club during The Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photo by picksysticks

HDR was a two-piece band playing an early set out of The Cat Club. Spending many a nights on the Sunset Strip, adjusting to HDR heart-pounding bass and drums took awhile. It just didn't seem right. Maybe it was the bright afternoon sunlight flushing in every time someone opened and walked through the door. No coffee needed this early in the day, vocalist and bassist Amy Tung breathed life into me and found my pulse like a defibrillator and I quickly head-banged through their entire set. It was great start to the day. HDR took no prisoners, slapping the crowd silly like a no-holds barred sledgehammer beating them senseless. To my surprise, at the end of the set, Amy revealed that their lead singer/guitarist Joe Mora couldn't make it. And to that, I say, "Who needs him?" Amy and drummer John Lord held their own and didn't miss a beat. But to be fair, I came home and listened to their studio recordings (with Mora) and was actually pleased by what I heard. HDR is definitely worth a second viewing with full band in tow.

Next up was The Roxy. Unfortunately, The Roxy was running an hour and a half behind schedule. Those who packed the club to see L.A. based Nikki and Rich had to wait almost two hours until they took the stage. Those who couldn't wait left to watch Slash tear it up with Fergie on the West Outdoor Stage. But those who remained were treated to Nikki and Rich's soulful/pop inspired melodies. Inspired by pop, hip-hop, R&B and classic '60's girl groups, Nikki & Rich bring fun back into music bringing to mind the sounds of Adele, Amy Winehouse and Duffy. In a festival that heavily featured hard rock, Nikki & Rich were a true standout dubbed the most anticipated new duo in music. Songs from their debut album, "Everything," released last month has been burning up the airwaves and already found placement on numerous television shows and films. When curtains lowered on Nikki & Rich, those who stayed to catch this amazing performance realized it was well worth the wait.

Which leads us to Slash, the honoree of the Festival. Playing with Myles Kennedy, special guest Fergie joined them onstage to sing super-charged renditions of Barracuda and Paradise City. Later, they gave way to Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins who proved that they're as strong as ever, hard as ever and exciting as ever, delivering a 90-minute, 17 songs set to close the night.

Nikki & Rich's Nikki Leonti performs at The Roxy during the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photos by picksysticks

If The Sunset Strip Music Festival's goal was to promote The Strip's legacy and continued relevance, then this year's festival went beyond that, reminding people that The Sunset Strip and Los Angeles is still the music capital of the world, a breeding ground for up and coming artists. The three-day event merely awoke a sleeping giant from years of slumber.

Fans gather to watch honoree Slash perform with Fergie.
photos by picksysticks

Saturday, September 4, 2010

SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FESTIVAL: DAY 2

Nico Vega performs at The Key Club during the second day of the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photo by picksysticks

by JPegg

Sunset Strip Music Festival: Day 2. Friday. This night was different. The mood was not the same as the celebratory opening night; rather it felt of a somber lull before the big bang storm finale happening all day and all night Saturday. It was Friday night and the street was yet to be closed off, while the outdoor beer garden stood silent in the dark, motionless and waiting for tomorrow, like a carnival ride waiting for the power to be flipped on. Ready to go, but not yet time.

It was more of an evening to stroll and absorb the surroundings before heading to a couple shows, but the place seemed forgotten, dingy, an alley turned into a street where the homeless knew that this was another good time of year to ask for charity. There was the Santa in rags, rolling along in his rickety wheel chair; the bag lady that wore layers of soiled clothes that amounted to as much as what was in her filled shopping cart; and the other dragging droves that politely held open their tired and strained hands. They were the Hollywood streets and their lives ran over just as much. Only an answered prayer to the grasping hope they must had held deep inside saved them. They smelled too. Or maybe it was the pungent day early food truck sitting deep in The Roxy parking lot that nobody wanted to approach, open and empty, like a dumpster luring flies. Or possibly the stink of the hunting paparazzi as they waited to attack a celebrity’s evening with blinding flashes to turn it for a quick buck. This place needed a good flood tonight, but that arrived the next day.

Rich Koehler of Nico Vega at The Key Club on the second day of the SSMF.
photograph by picksysticks

On the brighter side there were the ten foot tall guitars spotting The Strip like colorful Easter eggs. Each of these more than twenty-five individual giant Gibson Les Paul guitar canvases celebrated music history unique to The Sunset Strip. They were scattered all over the place ready for a scavenger hunt through history. This section of The Strip turning into GuitarTown was supposed to be part of the beautification and revitalization of this area, but it just looked like tinsel placed on a nostalgic street. What The Strip should have done were monuments. Everybody would have loved taking pictures next to their favorite historic rock star. There was a nice bronze plaque outside Whisky A Go-Go that told of rock legends that graced their stage, but it would have also been thrilling to see them life-sized in their most memorable poses. What rock aficionado wouldn’t have taken a photo next to a life-sized bronze Jim Morrison? And while thinking all this, Aja Volkman of Nico Vega waltzed by in a flowing white silky garb as she headed down the street towards Sunset Plaza . I only later realized it was her when she took the stage later in the same outfit.

A bit after, I met a young lady in satin black dress and heels walking down the street from the direction of the plaza . She asked about the music that was on so many advertisements around town. She was headed in the right direction, but after conversing with her for a while, I realized that her Hollywood dream had fallen to pieces. She was a musician from Ohio that came to Los Angeles with her hopes of success, but she had nothing much left now, except debt, back-due rent, and something not right in the four cigarettes she chained. She was thinking of New Orleans , she said. I didn’t say anything, except give her a hug and wish her luck. I met far too many people like this in Hollywood . They arrived bright-eyed, stayed a while living the glamorous starving artist life, got a few gigs, made excuses why the city didn’t understand them, then suddenly disappeared with little notice. Most of these Hollywood hopefuls were only tourists, yet they didn’t know it until the opportunities and money ran dry.

Nico Vega
Nico Vega performs at the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photo by picksysticks.

Live shows offered a momentary haven from this reality, any reality, and bliss to be happily fixated in a feeling at a show with senses fully engulfed in the experience. Even entering into Key Club was like getting on a space ship, the outside world left behind. A packed gathering, but very breathable because of its size. Key Club had to be the largest venue on The Strip. Cavernous. There was the recessed pit in front of stage, steps behind was the floor with a bar and sitting booths on both sides, the dinning on the second level with its own bar, and the secluded downstairs lounge bar with a mini stage. This place was a sanctuary from the streets of life, oh so far away, surrounded here in the protective womb by the over stimulating music and scenery of enjoyment peoples. Then it was time for Nico Vega as they too released their frustrations of modern living.

Watching Nico Vega was like watching an atomic bomb explode over the Grand Canyon . The shockwave magnitude energy that erupted from within lead vocalist Aja Volkman stretched faces into smiling uproars. She had an attitude of a political protester, held confident and positive, keeping alive the wild beast within, not letting The Man shackle her thoughts and desires. Her body and limbs danced like a spiritual shaman heretic as each song voiced a message of screaming defiance. A few new songs were performed that took some time to get to liking, much like the deep cuts in their debut album, but once one knew the lyrics, the music was fully understood as to why they sounded like a grinding steel factory riot. Nico Vega showed that now was the time to join together, stand-up, oppose the wrong, and restore dignity. Moral unrest. False promises and lies had to be punished. Nico Vega was the alarm clock for 21st century America . Wake-up and smell the corruption. It was always good to be able to relate bands on levels beyond songs of romance. A burden felt lifted after the performance, knowing I was not alone in my down trodden views.

The Paper Dolls at The Cat Club during The Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photos by Picksysticks

The final show of the evening was at Cat Club. This place looked like it used to be a bar that later added a stage next to the street entrance. It was the smallest venue taking part in the Sunset Strip Music Festival. Not much to the stage lights, not much to the stage, and a floor area that backed into the bar with two bench seats lining the wall. The set-up made watching a performance a little distracting. The previous band was rolling out their equipment across the floor, cutting through the fans, and out the door that glared in street lights as the set started for The Paper Dolls.

The mood of The Paper Dolls playing Cat Club felt like a backstage rehearsal. A work in progress, both club and band. A dark garage that hosted a demo band. An antique automobile during its black primer restoration. A sneak preview before the completed product. Kristina Allison vocals sounded heavy and parched, as if she was holding back, or as though she couldn’t decide whether to sing or scream. There was stiffness too in her performance, not nervous, just unable to loosen up it seemed, while the guitarist was over anxious squealing to get ahead of bass and drums. Uncontrolled rock and roll. These few elements still needed sync and refinement. But when Allison slowed it down for the love song with her Les Paul, she sung as smooth as a rose petal. It was like noticing Bel Air tailfins on a wrecked automobile about to head to the scrap yard. There was something to salvage and build upon after all. Cat Club had these types of bands often, where the whole performance didn’t sound refined enough for the big lights yet, but a song or few surely became a popular single. A nurturing club to hear a lot of knickknacks, but a lot of acts and tunes to sift before being astonished by that glistening gem, an unexpected song that stopped conversations and turned heads towards stage. It was a nice surprise end to the two consecutive nights on The Strip. There was only going to be one more day, but it was going to be larger than both nights combined. The final day was to come of Sunset Strip Music Fest 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GIRLS RULE THE SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FESTIVAL: DAY 1

Beth Hart performs with Slash at The Whisky A Go-Go during the Sunset Strip Music Festival honoring Slash.
Beth Hart performs with Slash at The Whisky A Go-Go during the Sunset Strip Music Festival honoring Slash.
photographs by picksysticks

by JPegg

Beth Hart at The Whiskey A Go-Go was clearly the obvious headliner on the first night at Sunset Strip Music Festival 2010. Hands down, no argument. There were other concerts going on at the House of Blues, Key Club, The Viper Room, The Roxy, and Cat Club, but none near rival the magnitude of a set with her special guest, Slash.

It was a Thursday evening on The Strip, the painted black, music infested side. Slash was this year’s festival honoree. A red carpet arrival of rock legends and stars gathered at House of Blues for this special tribute. This launched the three day festival of rock that was held at six distinct music venues with two massive stages erected in the streets on Saturday that closed off part of Sunset Boulevard.


With so many bands overlapping each other, the difficulty was selecting which to cover, but the advertisements of Cherri Bomb on those Hollywood billboards decidedly peeked early interest. So it was first off to The Roxy Theater to watch them open for Filter.

Cherri Bomb is a foursome of tween girls that label themselves, “Rock’s New Generation”. Their band name revamps fascination back to thCherri Bomb's Julia Piercee all teen girl rock sensation of the late 70’s that were called The Runaways. “Cherry Bomb” was the hit single that shot this group to stardom, and now likely taken as this current band’s name to pay homage to the talented wild girls of adolescence and genre of music that they share in common. Cherri Bomb’s lead singer, Julia Pierce, in her full black hair and attire, even looked like a young spunky Joan Jett.

This new generation of youth girl rock may actually match and possibly exceed the talent and influential rock reckoning force of The Runaways. Here were these tough roses on rocks that could each kick Hannah Montana a few times around the playground. They looked dwarfed by their instruments, but when they played it was mind blasting. The show felt like a story line taken out of a movie like Freaky Friday. What rock star did these girls switch bodies with for this evening? Too skilled for school. This was not the typical sweet cutesy girl pop rock, this was full on rock & roll mayhem. Rock legends reincarnated into youth. Watching them felt like there was another band behind-the-scenes performing and these girls were just mimics, the stand-ins, the puppets. The incredible sound blasting from these four girls averaging only thirteen in age came off literally larger than life, almost superhuman. Unreal. Hello daddy, hello mom, hello world, here comes the new wicked Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch Cherri Bomb!

Rena of Cherri BombMiranda of Cherri Bomb
Cherri Bomb opens up for Filter at The Roxy on the first day of The Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photos by picksysticks


Next it was a venue hop to The Viper Room. Entrance is on the side of a hill, and going in leads through a narrow down slope corridor and then up a flight of stairs that spits into the rear of the crowd. It felt like an exclusive backdoor only club. The teens with their parents were not present. Here were the 21+ crowd of mellowed drinkers and casual talkers, a subtle, toned down relaxed mood before the show, an adult’s den, darker and more compact than the grazing spaciousness of The Roxy. An intimate gathering where the band plays on top of the audience. The Shakers were on next.

The Shakers performs at The Viper Room.
The Shakers performs at The Viper Room on day one of the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photo by picksysticks


It was long due to get a live listen to vocalist Jodie Schell’s current band and new sound. She was former part vocalist, tambourine player, crowd hyper, fashioning her rainbow Punky Brewster appearance for the party pop band, The Automatic Music Explosion. More than a few years have passed since her Kiss or Kill nights with The AME at El Cid. Things have changed. She has matured.

When curtains rose for Schell and The Shakers this night, the rainbow girl was gone, with the exception of the familiar hot pink bangs. She stepped out of the smoke and lights clad in black, fitted tight to a vest. All grown-up now, the raggedy rainbow was now stream line and rock star slick. Her vocals reflected a grave maturity as well. Her sweet pink Poky Stick sound was no more. It was now a razor edge sword. Angry high pitched fine cut vocals that sheer smooth every verse. No jaggedness, no sloppiness, no lose ends, nothing soft loops about it, just straight, true, and precision sharp. She was accompanied by Chris Lee torturing up hell on guitar. He was so ravenous on the screaming strings that it was a strike first, strike back sword slashing of thin strings versus vocals. Each battle forged a song. Brad Lee on drums and Nick Woods on bass were mere undercurrents, seemingly present only to keep the steady rhythm. The live experiencing of The Shakers puts their recorded tracks to shame. Why does it often sound like girl rockers wear bunny ears and chew bubble gum when recording in the studio? This sudden fan of The Shakers should have started going to these shows over a year ago when they initially formed in the early part of 2009. They are for sure a must watch again.

Soon it was time to head to the main show at the Whisky A Go-Go. There had been a line going into the club all evening. After a half-hour of standing in the cool breeze, I was given a Jack Daniel’s stamp on the hand, and stepped into the past.

It was an odd chill to step inside, this being one of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted landmark venues. This was where music greats got their start before they became legends. Two levels of simplicity in black viewing towards the corner stage. It felt like nothing had changed from the day it opened in 1964, a haunting museum coming to life in the after-hours of night. The stage of equipment waiting for the next band felt like anything could happen, even apparitions of Whisky past appearing seemed possible. Would it be The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Love, Van Morrison, or Frank Zappa? There was a sudden hair raising breeze from behind that headed towards stage, then nothing, but felt like an eerie premonition of history about to happen again. Nobody seemed to notice as the crowd packed, turning the place into a sweat box.

The time was heading towards midnight when it did happen. The stage came to life with Beth Hart. There was something oddly familiar about her wavy dark hair and her look of a cold sweat natural beauty in recovery, but seeing the band turned everything back to normal, another venue, another show. The usual rainbow of lights waved down from above, the crowd got loud, and Beth Hart opened the set with an Aretha Franklin cover. It sounded of some good old Motown gospel soul. Little did I know she was conjuring up another soul as well.

Beth Hart
Beth Hart at the Whisky A Go-Go during the Sunset Strip Music Festival honoring Slash.
photos by picksysticks


After the first song, Beth Hart turned into Janis Joplin. That was the oddly familiar that she resembled in appearance. She now sounded like Joplin , too. Her vocals turned into that famously infamous voice of psychedelic blues rock parched by alcohol, drugs, and tired lungs in tar. It felt like I had become part of an audience witnessing first hand the live lost performance of Janis Joplin at Whisky A Go-Go. I had fallen back in time. Or somehow I was reliving somebody’s memory or stepped into a Joplin documentary I had seen earlier. Or was this just a movie set with Richard Donner getting started on his next film? Somehow, the past had come to life, and it was perfect for this historic venue.

Then something else happened.half way through the set. Slash took the stage. It looked like he stepped out from the 80’s with his Guns N’ Roses oil slick tire tread hair flowing out from under his black trademark curved out top hat. Janis Joplin and Slash together at Whisky A Go-Go, circa 2010. The awe was in applause. Slash was the real Slash, and Beth Hart was that amazing.

Slash and Beth Hart started with their song, “Mother Maria”. Hart on piano, while Slash on stool next to her, slowly waking up his guitar. Every note he played resonated emotion. It was like he was strumming the guitar and it responded with a gentle cooing. The guitar was a life of its own, and Slash was only tickling the baby to get it to sing. But the lullaby of politeness didn’t last long. Slash would soon slap that puppy awake, take it by the leash, and turn it mad dog frothing.

Beth Hart and Slash
Beth Hart and Slash at the Whisky A Go-Go during the Sunset Strip Music Festival honoring Slash.
photos by picksysticks

The encore performance took away the piano and stools, leaving Slash and Beth Hart open range to let wild: one song, twelve minutes of malicious metal, “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie. Frampton Comes Alive! He had to be feeling this performance where ever in the world he was. This show not only felt historic, it had epic appeal, a greater surprise than a reunion tour. Whatever I missed at Winterland ‘68 and on the Sunset Strip in the 80’s, I was seeing and feeling it here tonight, together. And this was only the end of day one of the three day experience at this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival. More to come.

Beth Hart
Beth Hart at The Whisky A Go-G0 during the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
photos by picksysticks