I never thought that they could pull it off, but damnit, this weekend was unlike any I have seen on the Sunset Strip. What started as a tribute weekend opening on Thursday on the strip for a handful of family and friends (or those willing to pay a few bills for seats) to the one and only Ozzy Osbourne, ended in a street-closing Saturday on the Sunset Strip.
I had the honor of being one of the handful of journalists to attend this first ever feat; closing the legendary Sunset Strip for the first annual Sunset Strip Music Festival. It was hard to imagine what to expect when I got there, but it was something to behold. From the base of operations at the Viper Room, to the far end of the Key Club, the 10,000 attendees made the most of the sunny afternoon.
All of the music venues (Cat Club, The Roxy, etc.) had a full bill all day long with up and coming bands, with the East and West stages forming a barricade on either end of the strip. The East and West stages played home to some of the bigger acts, with appearances by bands like The Donnas, Fishbone, Korn, Pepper, Shwayze and a plethora of funky flow and flavors.
Photographer Dan Huse and I hit the scene to take in the scene and meet with the townsfolk. Street food vendors were aplenty, with a very addictive bin of Soy Joy bars that Dan hoarded all day long.
We arrived just in time to say hello to saviors at MSO, and make our way to the East Stage for the midpoint in old school ska band Fishbone’s set. The legendary band jammed out and got a mosh pit going, and even did their famous cover of Sublime’s Date Rape, while donning their famous “Fuck Racism” Tshirts.
Meanwhile, The Donnas took the main stage after some long awaited stage difficulty, but all was well when the beautiful ladies took the stage. It was humbling to see such a petite and lovely Allison Robertson shred so many faces with her guitar.
One of the best parts of the night was after this set; when I had the honor of meeting Mayor (Pro Tempore) Abbe Land. I introduced myself and thanked her for the honor of being a part of history on the Strip. She was on her way to eat lunch at her house nearby before returning later in the evening to watch Ozzy perform.
Kottonmouth Kings were an odd bunch to see. After waiting an extra 20 painstaking minutes (just to start their set at 4:20…*sigh*), the boys came out with their visual assassins in tow, and even threw up sign language to spell out the group’s name whilst yelling it out on the mics. Gorilla fingers aside, the most amusing part of their set, was watching the ten year olds hang out on stage banging their heads to (what is probably) their dads’ music.
Running back to the West Stage, we caught Pepper, as I wanted to make sure I got a preview what to expect from them live for this weekend’s West Beach Music Festival. The Hawaii based band came out clad in beach gear and skater shoes, and personified an energy rarely seen in most stage performances. Most amusing was bassist Bret Bollinger using his bass to simulate his lesser seen (at least on stage) organs to add to the fun. The ladies loved it, and I have to admit that the guys know how to have a good time.
Also in preview for me was Shwayze, the Malibu-born rapper that we interviewed not too long ago. Blasting his beach friendly beats, the ladies screamed their love while he and Cisco Adler cradled the sun into position for Ozzy’s mayhem that would ensue in the hours that came.
Ozzy was a true sight to behold. I didn’t realize until I wrote this article, that he’s 60! And disregard what everyone says about him not being able to move; he rocked the stage and belted that voice throughout his set. Sure he didn’t move his legs much, but it was still an honor to be a part of the show. I’ve never been so proud to be called a mother fucker by an old man. Here was the setlist:
- I Don’t Know
- Suicide Solution
- Bark At The Moon
- War Pigs
- Crazy Train
- Iron Man
- Mr. Crowley
Encore: I Don’t Want To Change The World
Encore 2: I Don’t Wanna Stop
I had my doubts, but if anyone could shut down a wild nightlife city for a day, so we could hold a concert on it, the city of West Hollywood can. Thanks again to MSO for showing us love as always, to the Mayor and city of West Hollywood for having us. Hope to make it 20,000 strong next year. Hopefully I won’t epically fail while trying to take a picture of 4 girls at once next time…either that, or Dan was just meant to be my focus….you’ll get what I’m talking about once you look at the gallery. You stay classy West Hollywood.
Until next time my friends,