To any passerby on the street or in their car, the Sunset Strip last night looked like it does on any other night of the year, with bands of all kinds loading and unloading at the various legendary music venues. But, this was no ordinary night; it was the first night of the Sunset Strip Music Festival, which culminates this Saturday when several blocks of the Strip will actually be blocked off for the outdoor concert that will be headlined by The Smashing Pumpkins, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & Fergie, Common, Kid Cudi, and Neon Trees, among others. On Saturday it will look like a festival.
Some notable performances from last night include a relatively unknown group called Rival Sons, whose bombastic, blues-influenced rock ‘n’ roll charged some genuine energy into the all too often too cool for school audience of Hollywood. They explained to QRO in a brief interview after their performance that they don’t plan their set too much, so that they can truly improvise on stage together. "We like to keep our music as dangerous as possible," said guitarist Scott Holiday. They played at the Roxy right before Filter headlined at that venue. Best known for their hits "Take a Picture" and "Hey Man, Nice Shot," their recently released The Trouble With Angels is reportedly a heavier and darker rock effort than previous albums. Their energy on stage had the packed out Roxy cheering with fists pumping.
The talented rock vocalist and songwriter Beth Hart headlined at the legendary Whiskey. She took her raw passion from a short acoustic set with guitarist Jon Nichols, to a full band setting joined by bassist Tom Lilly and drummer Todd Wolf, to a set of songs on the piano. Here, she was joined by the man of the festival, Slash. They performed a song they had written together called "Mother Maria". The crowd was very excited as the unassuming rock legend joined Hart on stage to finish the set with her and her band. Earlier in the night, there was a tribute held at the House of Blues a few blocks east for Slash, who is said to be synonymous with the Sunset Strip and a big contributor to its legendary status. He will be performing again this Saturday on one of the main outdoor stages.