Sunset Strip Music Festival: Slash, Semi-Precious Weapons

Summer is not over yet, and neither are the music concerts on Sunset Boulevard. The Sunset Strip Music Festival is bringing together some of the biggest bands back to a familiar setting. KCET guest blogger Daiana Feuer previews some of the hottest bands to see.

By Daiana Feuer

Daiana Feuer

The city of West Hollywood decided that August 26 would henceforth be known as "Slash Day," honoring that inimitable guitarist with the big hair and tight leather pants whose music and fashion sense left a permanent mark on the Strip.

His recent solo album, SLASH, topped the Billboard charts and, honestly, who doesn't retain a soft spot for Guns N' Roses? The chance to see him on stage Saturday will attract some die-hard-rock fans, and potentially a steady trickle of 13-year-old girls who find out Fergie is performing with him.

What do Slash and Smashing Pumpkins fans have in common? Could it be Billy Corgan's enthusiasm for pro-wrestling? Smashing Pumpkins ruled the angsty late-'90s, when it was really cool to be a "Zero," when bullets and butterfly wings forged a unique, unexpected bond. Another kind of bond will be celebrated this Saturday as well, that of spandex, ripped mesh, and hair spray as the epitome of bad-ass rock and roll, like when Steel Panther conquered the Strip in the late-'80s.

Powerful androgynous sexuality in rock has definitely had an impact. Catch Semi-Precious Weapons for a fine example. These Brooklyn guys are very much NOW. They're wild, crazy talented, and openly gay, and that is something West Hollywood proudly embraces. Girls are allowed to rock, too, of course. Today, Nico Vega shows how with one of the fieriest female lead singers in Los Angeles.

Sure, the rock and roll days of the West Side ain't what they used to be. While the overall neighborhood mythology has transformed, there's still a history worth revisiting and a unknown future to anticipate. The Sunset Strip Music Festival establishes a new tradition. In its third year, the festival reminds us that Cat Club, House of Blues, Key Club, The Roxy Theatre, Viper Room, and Whisky A Go-Go built this city on rock and roll and eyeliner.

Daiana Feuer is the executive editor of L.A. Record and co-founder of The New Los Angeles Folk Festival.

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