After lamenting the demise of the Sunset Strip in my review of day one, I took note of the fact that lineups between day one and day two were perfectly crafted for two very different types of audience. While day one catered to rock and roll purists, day two focused on the future of music and the future of the legendary drag known as the Sunset Strip.
After spewing the “Get off my lawn” rant of day one, I recalibrated to my default setting of being very excited about the future of music. Day two of the Sunset Strip Music Festival still featured some vintage acts like Onyx throwing down one of the most energetic sets of the weekend and D.F.L. representing the only true hardcore punk act at the entire festival. Hell, if you know what’s up then you’d know that even Destructo was spinning techno sets on vinyl well before the term Hard Fest ever even existed. He just happened to look less out of place on the main stage playing in front 1 Oak than some of the other headliners and for me, it was easy to make the transition from slam dancing to pop locking; from Nekroboblikon to Tove Lo.
PPL MVR — Photo by Danny Baraz
I spent a good amount of time at The Roxy yesterday, which was only hampered by the fact that my beverage of choice cost $3 more dollars at the Roxy than it did at The Whiskey. The bands I saw were worth it though. The band PPL MVR made metal arrangements with vocoder vocals less awkward than it might seem. Even though they seemed to have borrowed some costume gimmickry from pioneers, Fartbarf, they had their own thing going on musically. And then came the band, Babes. Just wow. The future of music takes many cues from the past and that is definitely true of the band Babes. With their doo-wop feel and genetically linked members, three of which are siblings, Babes are a sexy young band that know how write great songs and play their instruments well.
I wasn’t as nimble on this day as I was the previous day. I pretty much stayed on the west side of the strip and missed some acts I wanted to see like Killer Mike and Metalachi. I posted up at legendary Shamrock Social Club for a bit between acts on the main stage. Cody Mac was hospitable enough to let me eat my food there and I tried to sell some tattoos for my friends at Shamrock until Empire of the Sun took the stage as the day two headliners. As different as the headliners were between Jane’s Addiction playing day one and Empire of the Sun playing day two, they both have a knack for showmanship in their live shows. Visually, Empire of the Sun is as stunning as any band I’ve ever seen. Musically, they already have an arsenal of anthems, many of which they played early in the set like “Standing on the Shore”. Even though there is a real electronic feel in the Empire of the Sun sound, frontman Luke Steele shreds on his Gibson six-string at every possible moment. A true showman, Steele is as flamboyant as possible, with the word diva used in the most complimentary way.
The organizers of SSMF 2014 got a few things right this year. The headliners were perfect and marrying the past and the future was a great accomplishment that made me forget the issues I have with current trajectory of the future of the Sunset Strip, even if for just one day.
Review: Danny Baraz
Photography: Tamea Agle
ONYX – Photo by Danny Baraz
Check out our photos and review from day one of the 2014 Sunset Strip Music Festival!
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