The Sunset Strip Music Festival celebrated its sixth year in West Hollywood honoring the famed boulevard's role in rock history and the musicians who got their start in its many clubs.
Apart – and sometimes part – of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the Sunset Strip is the backdrop of a rich musical landscape where the Byrds (who held court at Ciro's, a one-time rock 'n' roll club in the '60s, now the Comedy Store) the Buffalo Springfield, the second incarnation of the Animals with Eric Burdon, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Love, the Seeds, Frank Zappa and many others played at clubs like the Whisky a Go Go, the Roxy, Pandora's Box and the London Fog.
To those who found fame on its stages, the Strip was the “axis mundi,” or the center of the universe, as described by the Ray Manzarek at the Doors SSMFcelebration last year.
This year's SSMF took a more modernist approach with musical genres that included rap-rock, hip-hop and electronic dance music. Closing headliners AWOLNATION and Linkin Park rocked the festival along with Wale, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Logic, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, Asher Roth, Finch and Street Drum Corps.
But this year's festival honoree Joan Jett, who did not play on Saturday, would have blown it up for sure had she performed. Earlier in the week, Jett was honored with the Elmer Valentine Award at the House of Blues. She was visibly humbled by the honor and spoke of her early musical influences such as David Bowie and T-Rex and her beginnings on the strip with the Runaways.
Jett said the honor was a refreshing change, as both she and the Runaways experienced a lot of rejection in their early days. Then Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played a rocking set, which kicked off with "Bad Reputation" and “Cherry Bomb,” closing with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” "Crimson and Clover" and "Everyday People." They just kicked ass.
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