Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunset Strip Music Festival 2010

Photos and words: Dean Wick

Sunset Strip Music Festival 2010

Marking only the second time The Strip has shut down for a live music festival, the SSMF had an East and West stage set up on the boulevard itself--while people darted in and out of the Key Club, Roxy, Cat Club and the Whisky a Go Go to see over 50 bands performing during 3 days. The Rainbow Room played host as the Bermuda Triangle, with an extended drinking area where many ended up in the middle of without really knowing how they got there, and not in any particular rush to find their way back out. Smashing Pumpkins, Slash (special guests Myles Kennedy & Fergie), Common, Nico Vega, P.O.D., Unwritten Law, Kid Cudi, Big B, Steel Panther, Semi Precious Weapons and Travie McCoy were the big-draw names at the festival.

With 6 stages continuously running, there was certainly no shortage of musical variety. Vanaprasta played the Key Club and delivered in a package you had to sign for at the door: the magic to make you feel like the holes on the sides of your head were the best idea ever. Tomorrows Bad Seeds, fresh off The Warped Tour, closed out the Roxy, telling people to 'Slow Down' while giving them no choice but to dance frantically. We SHOULD know them better than that. If you have worn out the grooves on your Sublime and favorite Reggae-punk Cd's, give them a listen. Meanwhile, the dark corners of the Cat Club had couples getting a little bit closer when LINKS sang sultry southern rock stylings to them.

Sometimes, closing down the boulevard is the right thing to do.

Dean had a moment to chat with Unwritten Law's Scott Russo...check it out.

Q: As far as going from a smaller band situation, and then blowing up with an album like Elva: what is the main difference you see when all of a sudden everything opens up like that and it starts moving in fast forward?

SR: That happened kind of a bit ago, but I do remember at that time when 'Seein’ Red' actually hit and was seen on TRL or whatever; I remember the audience tripling immediately. What I did notice, the fan base went from generally 16-24 year-olds to 12 and 34 year-olds. The demographic got really wide, really quickly.

Q: How many different festivals have you been on at this point?

SR: I've played basically every festival in the whole world. Played Redding in England, Lowlands in Holland, Big Day out in Australia, Warped in America, Weenie Roast-I've done a lot of shows; once again, we've done this for a long time, almost 20 years now...pretty much had a very blessed career.

Q: What was it like playing in Yellowstone? Sounds like an amazing idea.

SR: It was very cool, actually. The funny story behind that, Jimmy Eat World has a manager named something-Silva, and our manager was Bill Silva-they called the wrong band, my manager is so slick that he ended up talking them into inviting our band to do the show. We did the show, ended up becoming such good friends with the producer of the show and we talked him into parlaying that into a record. Then Atlantic picked that up and we put out the record. It's really kind of scary for me, I'm a beach kid, and I like either the city or the beach, I don't do very well with, like nature and bears and shit-or being part of the food chain, or whatever. That's pretty much where I was at, I said "Yo, man, I don't want to get dirty-I don't want to (expletive deleted) meet any bears, or whatever". Every single song was shot in a different place, which was pretty cool-and obviously we were well protected from bears. It was really actually a really religious experience; we met the Crow Indians, which was pretty cool. We did some next level things with next level people, we became part of nature and filmed the thing-it was a very good time for our band, you know what I'm saying. It was cool, and we were stoked to do it. It was dope, yo.

Dean also snuck a little interview with Tomorrows Bad Seeds...

Q: When was the band actually formed, because I noticed one thing: a lot of the bands here are really new-formed in the last three or four years?

TBS: We've been together six, almost seven years; touring heavily and really trying to do 'the thing' the last three years.

Q: You just did a tour of Nevada and parts of California....

TBS: We just did a whole national, along with the Warped Tour
(discussion ensues about Warped Tour and the 'two cute girls' in Eyes Set To Kill, among other important issues)

Q: How many albums deep are you?

TBS: Two Albums. The last one was just released May 25th

Q: What do you notice in the progression of your sound from the first album to the second; are you sticking with the same thing, or are you trying new things as you get more comfortable in the studio?

TBS: We've never been the kind of band that sticks to one sound. If we write a song, however it comes out-we try a lot of different ways-whatever sounds the best and meshes the best with it is what we usually go with. We don't really stick to a particular sound. Whatever we play, we try to make it happy-you know...whether it's a ballad, if you listen to our second album, you'll see what I mean.

Q: Was Warped your first festival circuit?

TBS: Yeah, as far as a circuit festival, we've done a lot of festivals, but never a circuit.

Q: Is it a more comfortable than touring alone; more of a support situation from city to city?

TBS: It's hard to say. To do the Warped Tour, it's kind of crazy-you have to check in at 7 in the morning. You find your set time every day. If you don't have a bus, you're gonna have it pretty heavy-if you are in a van. We got to have a bus on this one, so that was a lot of help. It's seems really fair, I like it. In a lot of ways it was easier, but in a lot of ways it was nuts; a lot more discipline and hustle. There's about a 100 bands there.