SSMF 2013 – Day Three

The Sunset Strip Music Festival 2013
West Hollywood, CA
August 3, 2013
By Victoria Joyce
Photography by Mila Reynaud
Including Live Interviews with Sad Robot, The Last Internationale, and Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Best T-shirt seen all day: The Beatles Didn’t Need a Website

The big day is here and Sunset Boulevard is blocked off from San Vicente Boulevard at The Whiskey to the old Key Club down near SSMF 2013 - Photography by Mila ReynaudDoheny. Traffic was being diverted. Lots of LA County Sheriffs waving at cars and looking bored. The snarl was kept to a minimum. We serve and protect.

2013 Sunset Strip Music Festival had the usual five stages despite the loss of indoor venues Key Club (soon to become a disco) and the Cat Club (morph’ed into a sports bar last year). An extra outdoor stage was set up in the empty lot across from the Hustler Store in addition to the big stages at either end of the Strip with indoor venues at the Whisky and the Roxy. Five stages within a two-minutes of each other. Beat that Coachella!

SSMF 2013 was downsized a touch. The number of featured bands dropped from 50ish to 30-something making the whole magilla a lot less stressful and more do-able.

The line up was considered a little “weak” by Sunset Strip veteran rockers. Festival headliner was Linkin Park? What was their connection to our turf? Started here? Played here? Yeah, nice band, but they left a lot of the locals rolling their eyes.  But we do that a lot being Tragically Hip since birth.

Main sponsors, Gibson guitars and Jack Daniels were all over the place. Notably  Gibson with it’s ten-foot tall guitars in the third year of the public art project called GuitarTown, partnering with local artists. Other participating cities are London, Austin, Orlando, Miami, Cleveland and Waukesha, Wisconsin. Started in Gib’s hometown, Nashville in 2004, this gorgeous program has raised thousands for charity.  Are you ready to rock?

Displayed on the hotels and clubs – The Strip’s latest brace of 11 giant Plaster of SSMF 2013 - Photography by Mila ReynaudParis axes are painted, sculpted and collaged by (among others) Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, tattoo artist Kat Von D, tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle (who was close friends with Janis Joplin), sculptor Eugene Daub (who recently created the Rosa Parks sculpture for the U.S. capitol), and jewelry designer Kathy Rose.

We loved Stacey Wells’ Alice Cooper tribute, “Welcome to My Nightmare” with a fake snake coiled around the neck. Sssssssss. Our fave was Eugene Daub’s “Call Me” inspired by the music and influence of Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie.  The Fest continues to salute Rocker Grrrrrlllss. Yay!

Starting our Festival day at the Media Lounge at the Viper, we were grateful for the Mexican goodies from Pink Taco; rice, beans, chips and salsa with a lot of air conditioning. Live interviews and acoustic sets in a dark cool club in the middle of blistering summer day. What’s wrong with this picture?

In an impromptu parking lot meet up, we got an interview with locals Sad Robot that was not sad at all. Very cute girls and boys out of The Valley with a hit video and a lucky break with the TV show “Bones” using their song “Hold On.” Plus KROQ is very fond of them, playing them on the “Locals Only” showcase.  They should change their name to Golden Robot.

Listen to the Sad Robot Interview here.

Caught their set at the Roxy. Sad Bot lead singer, Katherine Pawlak is a little bundle of dynamite backed up by Nicholas Perez on guitar and Jake Hogensonon drums. Music is classic blues-rock, very Black Keysie, Florence & the Machinist, White Stripey. VeryThe Dreaming sweet. Punk Mod thigh high boots on the little lady with a mini. Grabbing a keyboard and slung over her shoulder gave her nasty swagger. Vocals had a sultry delivery and big personality onstage. They’ve got a good beat and it’s easy to dance to. S’Robot have an amazing cover of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” on line that would make Led Zeppelin pea green with envy.

Walking around and checking out some of the vendors & food trucks, we flipped out for the Black Bean Ice Cream made with real coffee beans. Sold in those coffee-like cups with the plastic lids. Cute or what? Get this stuff at Whole Foods.  You’re welcome.

Also present was a representative from New Era Global Foundation out of Hawthorne California providing art & recording studios for young people to come in and create and record their stuff. Very cool deal. We got a CD from them: “Legend City.” We are the world.

Heading up to the main stage for the opening act we caught a little bit of Street Drum Corps. (Note to band: Change your name! It’s much too generic.) Big whoop-de-doo production act, all percussion, like the show “Stomp.” Amazonian Go Go dancers in Mad Max-Shaggy Man-Cami waving riding crops, sporting Mohawks and melting eye makeup and tats. Delicious. All tin cans and tambourines, slashing and flashing, blowing whistles these guys are: Bobby Alt, Adam Alt, and Frank Zummo. Think Mad Max meets Bauhaus. A great kick off to the day.

Walking back to the Viper Room Media Lounge for some more interviews, we dug the chalk art on the street by the kids of all ages. Got to say – the diverse line up of artists (rap, hip hop, metal, goth, electronic, rap, etc) makes for a nice crowd mix. Every color of the rainbow and many shades of eye make up. Classic Slacker, Homies, Hipster, Rocker, Valley Girl, Beatnik, White Boy fashion statements meant jeans, ironic tees, baseball hats to the side and backwards, torn fishnets and sun dresses of every length.

We got a chance to check in with Robert Levon Been from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-listen here.

Our next interview was with the Last Internationale out of New York City, two guys and a girl with elements The Ramones and Blondie but kicking it up a notch with some of that old-time protest song, folk rock. The drummer Fernando was the guy wearing the award-winning tee: The Beatles Didn’t Need a Website. All you need is love.

Last Internationale is Delilah on lead vocals, Edgy on guitar and like we said Fernando Silva on drums wearing the coolest T-shirt of the day.

Done up in their ironic tees with skinny jeans and Beatle boots –  the look was Ramones meets John, Paul George and Ringo. The classics are forever. Very impressed with this band’s credentials. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine is a big fan. Catching more good buzz with the hook up to Bono’s The One campaign using their song “Gypsy Woman.” It’s a free download on Reverb Nation – check it out. They are currently on tour opening for Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts.

The L’Internationale’s acoustic set was very folksy & Beatlesque. Listen to their interview with us here.

Passing photographer Mila Reynaud, she let us know she just witnessed Stolen Babies. Dang! We missed them because we were too busy waiting for The Dreaming at the Whiskey a Go-Go . LocalThe Last Internationale Interview Viper Room and loved, The Dreaming took the stage with blue lasers, strobe lights and a lot of smoke, singing “What Do I Have to Do.” Big crowd pleaser.

Took a break at the Kat Von D Make Up booth and had our eyes done and bright red lip-gloss applied. Famous from her Tattoo Diva reality show – Kat’s had her own makeup line exclusive to her boutique and Sephora for a year or so now. Nice stuff Whose idea was this? Genius! is all we have to say!

Wandering up to the main stage we caught the fabulous Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Who doesn’t love this band? We were fortunate enough to run into our dear friend Casper Von DJ and Zoe of Indie 103. Respected Rockers both for a running commentary.

Time flies. BMRC has been around for 15 years, making them Old School. And who doesn’t love the TV ad for the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas – Just the right amount of wrong –with the funky bass line from “Spread Your Love,” boom, banga, boom, banga, boom, banga boom, boom! As nice a break any band can get is a TV commercial lifting a 10-15 seconds of a wicked riff. Shazam much?

BMRC did a wicked cool set of dark jazzy rock with shades of Rye Cooder that included a cover song from The Call. We didn’t know that BMRC’s lead singer is the son Ian McKaye. Thanks dad, Let the day begin. Casper reflected “I don’t remember these guys being this good.” But they were.

Like any big festival we lot we missed a passel of bands that we wanted to check out but there just wasn’t time. For example, we missed JulianFestival Day 2 Divers Artist SSMF 2013-37 K (who played last year’s festival) we love that guy. And Sabrosa Purr, those guys are fantastic. But noooo.

Walking down to the Whiskey, we passed the Roxy, and the line was down the block for Doug E fresh and Slick Rick and Warren G. Not really our thing, but had the fans lined up.

Ironically, out last band of the day for us was The  Last Internationale, who we interviewed earlier. Lead singer, Delila has a great big beautiful voice. Very Chrissy Hynde. Very Debbie Harry with shades of Siouxsie Sioux.

Songs are a throwback to social-consciousness-raising folk rock. Protest Song much? Yeah, they do. Like we said, the Last Intls. have been opening for Scott Weiland and the Wild Abouts. Scott’s guitar guy, Tommy Black sat in with the Lasties. House of the Rising Sun cover was dead nuts on.

This band has a haunting musical fullness and very flushed out. A big, big sound with a lot of soul. Edgy plays guitar like Michael Bloomfield and Elmore James. Serious blues rock old-school but with the modern Goth punk energy. These guys live up to their hype all the way.

More SSMF 2013 Photography by Mila Reynaud

SSMF 2013 - Photography by Mila Reynaud





















Julien KBRMC



The Sunset Strip – Guitartown
(Sad Robot-Ain’t No Sunshine)