Category: Sunset Strip

Songwriters: Pen an ode to West Hollywood, win $5,000 in prizes

One of the hardest parts of writing a lyric is finding a good topic, one that resonates through its universal appeal while descibing something -- or somewhere -- specific. It's what connects Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," Bruce Springsteen's "Greetings from Asbury Park," the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA": each captures a setting and fills it with emotion. The West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau seems to understand this, and is offering $5,000 in cash and prizes to the songwriter who pens the best ode to West Hollywood.

Many Angelenos have a good sense of West Hollywood, and therefore have an advantage when writing a lyric about the city, which is located between Hollywood proper and Beverly Hills, has a population of about 35,000 people and is home to the Sunset Strip.

Those lyricists outside of Southern California, however, might need a little coaching. Yes, they could write about the city's large gay population, which makes it one of the most out-and-open cities in the country. They could write about the allure and danger of the Sunset Strip -- except that Axl Rose and company already took care of that on "Welcome to the Jungle." Or another standby, the ritzy restaurants and hotels that line Sunset Boulevard between Fairfax and Doheny (pronounced "do-HAY-nee").

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Marilyn Manson, Offspring, Bad Religion to play Sunset Strip Fest

Marilyn Manson
Goth rocker Marilyn Manson and rock acts the Offspring and Bad Religion are set to play the final day of the fifth edition of West Hollywood's Sunset Strip Music Festival, on Aug. 18. Local dance-pop act the Far East Movement, veteran hip-hop act De La Soul and electro-rap cut-ups Das Racist are also on the bill for the street fest. 

Tickets are on sale now for the all-day event. Sunset Strip Festival activities officially launch on Aug. 16, but the name acts and ticketed outdoor concert is on Aug. 18.

Other artists that will appear include the Black Label Society, Dead Sara and Steve Aoki. All told, the three-day Sunset Strip Festival will feature more than 50 acts at West Hollywood venues such as the Roxy Theatre, the Whisky A Go-Go and the Key Club.

This year's Sunset Strip festival will pay tribute to the Doors, with many artists on the bill expected to cover a Doors song or two. Sunset Boulevard will be closed on Aug. 16 between Doheny Drive and San Vicente Boulevard and the fest will feature two outdoor stages. Also planned is a silent disco and a VIP rooftop lounge.

Tickets for the concert start at $75 and are on sale now via TicketWeb. A VIP pass costs $135. A three-day pass that will get concertgoers into every Sunset Strip event is $250 and includes all VIP perks. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit the Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Pasadena.


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-- Todd Martens

Image: Marilyn Manson. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Sunset Strip Music Festival: Motley Crue, back on the Boulevard

The glam metal band got its start at the Whisky and the Roxy along the Strip. Now, Tommy Lee & Co. are headlining the street’s annual music festival this weekend. 

WILD SIDE: Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, left, and Vince Neil are headed back to the Sunset Strip. Credit: Jake Danna Stevens / Los Angeles Times
When Mötley Crüe brings its flashy, fiery show to Sunset Boulevard this week as the headlining act for the Sunset Strip Music Festival, complete with eruptions of pyrotechnics, bikini-clad female fire breathers and Tommy Lee hurtling around in a 360-degree vertical drum roller coaster, it will be a riotous celebration of one of the Strip’s most notorious progeny.

“They might be sorry they invited us. We could be the band that closes the festival down,” Lee joked on the phone from Portland, Ore., last week, one of the dates on the band’s current greatest hits U.S. tour. “I can’t even tell you what everyone has gone through to make this happen on the streets of the Strip. But we got our full show in there and the band is thrilled.”

A three-day celebration of music starting Thursday, the fourth-annual Sunset Strip Music Festival takes over the iconic 1.6-mile stretch of Sunset and pays tribute to the area’s illustrious history and the evolution of music filling the venues.

Mötley Crüe will be acknowledged for its contributions to the Strip’s legacy by receiving the annual Elmer Valentine Award (past recipients are Ozzy Osbourne, Slash and original Strip venue owners Valentine, Lou Adler and Mario Maglieri). It’s a fitting tribute as the band is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and the Strip is an integral part of its history. Mötley Crüe played early gigs at the Roxy and the Whisky (where the group also shot a video for “Kickstart My Heart”) and band members all shared an apartment close by.

“It’s where we lived together, got our start and raised hell,” says Lee. “So to be honored in this way means so much to us.”

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Sunset Strip Business Assn. to host record swap

Record_swap More than 100,000 records from the '60s, '70s and '80s will be at the disposal of music aficionados hoping to score the missing pieces to their vinyl collection on Saturday when the Sunset Strip Business Assn. hosts a record swap.

Record Collector News and KLOS-FM (95.5) partnered with the association for the event, which is set to have 40 vendors, including Amoeba, Rockaway Records, Record Surplus, Headline Records, Hollywood Book & Poster and Burger Records.

The Record Swap starts at noon at LIVE! On Sunset, the former home of Tower Records.

Early-bird admission is $15, or $10 with a donated canned good. Admission is free after 2 p.m.


Sunset Strip Music Festival renovates one of L.A.'s classic rock addresses

Mötley Crüe, Public Enemy, Matt & Kim, Bush to headline Sunset Strip Music Festival

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Nikki Sixx: Ace photographer?


Multiple sides of Nikki Sixx's personality will be on display around Los Angeles in the latter half of August. His band Mötley Crüe will perform in the Sunset Strip Music Fest on Aug. 20;  on Aug. 25, fans can get a glimpse of a lesser-known facet of the Sixx oeuvre at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City when he discusses his approach to photography.

But Sixx isn't hiding a PhD in his bass case. The artist has a new book, "This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx," and Sixx's appearance at the Annnenberg Space is no doubt something of a promotional one. The book is a follow-up to his 2007 memoir, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star," and Culture Monster has a little more details:  

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Mötley Crüe, Public Enemy, Matt & Kim, Bush to headline Sunset Strip Music Festival

Mötley Crüe will celebrate its 30th anniversary by headlining the three-day festival that has created a "renaissance" for the legendary strip and shuts part of Sunset Boulevard.


Mötley Crüe, Public Enemy, Matt & Kim, a reunited Bush and Cobra Starship are a few of the headliners expected to shut down the Sunset Strip for a weekend in August for this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival.

As in previous years, the three-day rock 'n’ roll and hip-hop celebration will take over just about every major West Hollywood venue and spills outside for the concluding street party.

The Sunset Strip Business Assn., which organizes the festival along with participating club venues, announced the lineup Wednesday. This fourth installment of the festival will kick off on Thursday, Aug. 18, when Mötley Crüe will be fêted at the House of Blues as the band celebrates its 30th anniversary, and will continue in the clubs on Friday, Aug. 19. On the final day of the festival, Saturday, Aug. 20, the outdoor street festival will again shut down a swath of Sunset Boulevard between Doheny Drive and San Vicente Boulevard. Expect a number of outdoor stages, beer gardens, a VIP lounge, food trucks, bands in all the clubs, and thousands of music fans.

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West Hollywood's House of Blues isn't going anywhere -- for now


A proposed hotel/condominium project has cast some doubt over the future of West Hollywood's House of Blues outpost, but operators of the Live Nation-owned Sunset Strip club intend to stay in the neighborhood. If a wrecking ball ultimately hits the 1,000-capacity venue, don't expect it to strike in the near future. The club has a lease until 2012, and any demolition would not occur until the potentially lengthy process of securing financing and permits has been completed.

The West Hollywood City Council voted 4-1 this week in favor of moving forward on the development of a project dubbed "Sunset Time," which, according to a release from the city, will include a "boutique hotel, condominium units, a live entertainment venue and other commercial uses." The House of Blues has an option to renew its lease in 2012 for an additional 13 years, until 2025. 

Reached by phone, House of Blues general manager Marcus Nicolaidis read the company's official statement: "We have a lease, which with renewals rights, goes through 2025, and we plan on continuing our operations at the venue and look forward to being a continued part of the West Hollywood community."

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Live review: Smashing Pumpkins, Slash and the Sunset Strip Music Festival

Billy Corgan and Co. mix old and new in a headlining set at the annual celebration of the Strip's musical tradition. Also on the bill: Slash and Fergie.


Somewhere near the middle of Smashing Pumpkins' headlining set Saturday night at the Sunset Strip Music Festival, Billy Corgan recited a long list of the Los Angeles musicians who'd "made [him] want to be a big rock star." That the group included the Doors, Love and the Electric Prunes came as no surprise: Traces of those bands' expansive sonics and flowery philosophizing course throughout Smashing Pumpkins' work, from its 1991 debut, "Gish," to the new songs Corgan began releasing for free online late last year.

A handful of unlikelier names cropped up as well, such as Guns N' Roses, Ratt and Mötley Crüe — acts whose commercial instincts and lack of self-reproach once seemed at odds with Corgan's tortured-artist vision. At first, you wondered whether the frontman was playing nice for the occasion, an annual three-day celebration of West Hollywood's vaunted (if perhaps declining) musical tradition. Yet Saturday's concert actually suggested that after several years of combative relations with the band's fan base, Corgan has happily reclaimed his role as crowd-pleasing hitmaker. For the moment, at least, "big rock star" does not appear to be an ironic guise.

Backed by three able stand-ins for his original bandmates, Corgan alternated fresh tunes with old favorites during the 90-minute show, which Smashing Pumpkins performed on an outdoor stage near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Doheny Drive. (Sunset was closed to traffic Saturday between Doheny and San Vicente Boulevard.) "Ava Adore" and "Cherub Rock" were energetic and full of heavy-metal muscle, while "1979" sounded dreamier than it has on past Pumpkins tours. "Hummer," from the group's 1993 breakthrough "Siamese Dream," emphasized the sumptuously lyrical quality of Corgan's guitar playing.

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The Sunset Strip Music Festival renovates one of L.A.'s classic rock addresses

Billy400 A big swath of eastside music fans will trawl the 10 east to Indio for a show more often than they'll venture past Vermont Avenue to the west for one. But this weekend's Sunset Strip Music Festival, the third installment of the fest and the second to feature a blocked-off Sunset Boulevard, is banking on the idea that there exists a huge community of fervent and distinctly Westside L.A. music fans, with their own distinct glam-infused rock, rap and electro ethic.

"I meet more people moving to West Hollywood for the music scene than ever," said Nic Adler, the owner of the Roxy. " You see scenes on the eastside and in Venice, and now I look at the opportunities here and see a great place to find yourself in L.A.'s music culture."

With headlining sets from Smashing Pumpkins, Common, Semi Precious Weapons and Kid Cudi, it's not meant for kids who devolve into spasms after spotting Dean from No Age at Chango. But it might also be codifying one of rock's most legendary stretches of blacktop as the backbone of a busy Westside music scene again. Read the whole preview feature here.

-- August Brown

Photo by Lyle A. Waisman / Getty Images

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Set times announced for Sunset Strip Music Fest: Smashing Pumpkins, Common close it with a taste of Chicago

Nestled between this weekend's Sunset Junction and the Sept. 3 FYF Fest is West Hollywood's three-day celebration of rock 'n' roll riffage and crossover hip-hop. The third annual Sunset Strip Music Festival closes with an all-day street fest and headlining sets from Billy Corgan's current incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins, as well as former Guns N' Roses slinger Slash and rising psychedelic rapper Kid Cudi. 

Though events start happening at West Hollywood clubs on Aug. 26, only Aug. 28 will feature two outdoor stages and a host of nationally known acts. 

Set times for that day's fest, which will close down a stretch of Sunset Boulevard to house the two stages, were unveiled today, and will feature a closing hand-off of sorts from a pair of Chicago-bred artists. Veteran rap lyricist Common will finish out a stage near the corners of Sunset and San Vicente Boulevard, ending his set moments before the Smashing Pumpkins take to a stage closer to Doheny Drive at 8:20 p.m.

The Aug. 28 portion of the fest, in which music starts at 1 p.m., will involve a host of Sunset Strip venues, including the Cat Club, the Key Club, the Roxy Theatre and the Whisky A Go-Go, with bands playing throughout the afternoon and into evening. Tickets for Saturday are $49.50 in advance, and $60 at the gate. Other acts on the bill include Semi  Precious Weapons, Travie McCoy, Neon Trees and the Binges. Fergie is slated to guest with Slash.

Full set times after the jump:

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