Second Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival Pays Tribute to Metal’s True Godfather – This past weekend marked the second annual Sunset Strip Music Festival. This year the festival paid tribute to the prince of darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne and it included a street festival in which for the first time the Sunset Strip was closed off and two stages played host to about twenty bands. More artists were also performing in the all of the historic clubs on the strip.
The festivities got started at 2:00pm with LA alternative rock veterans Fishbone and San Diego’s Unwritten Law. While Fishbone still continue to lack the fire they once had one thing remains clear; singer Angelo Moore, is still a dynamic vocalist and frontman. Unwritten Law never seemed to quite connect during their short set. In fact the band seemed to be still either feeling the effects of the night before or possibly the effects of a bit of early morning partying. Faring far better on the east stage were The Donnas.
The Donnas may have come off as an all girl rock band gimmick when they first emerged but these ladies have indeed matured into a serious hard rock outfit. They may still be a one trick pony lyric wise (fast cars, cheap thrills, fast rock and roll drum fills) but they are now playing with an intensity and grit that had the audience cheering them on throughout their set. San Bernardino (for better or worse) was represented by the hip-hop group The Kottonmouth Kings. As the name may suggest, the group had no problem rapping about their love of a certain, leafy green substance. “Substance”, however seems to be the key ingredient the group is lacking when it comes to their brand of hip-hop. They may get an “A” for effort but the group failed at having anything original or inspiring within their music. Reggae rockers Pepper and Malibu hip-hopper Shwayze were also on hand doing their best to keep the party going on the outdoor stages.
One band that did not get a chance to play outside was Earl Greyhound. It’s a shame that more people did not witness this east coast three piece. The band was probably the loudest and most original group of the day. With a sound that mixed Led Zeppelin’s muscle with a bit of soul and a ton of melodies/harmonies, Earl Greyhound made you a believer in the power and passion heavy rock has to offer. 90’s nu-metal heroes Korn powered through a set of their hits and came off as conquering heroes. They are one of the few metal bands from the 90’s still standing. Only time will tell if they can regain the fan base they once had but on the strip they put on a thunderous, loud, brutal set for their loyal fans.
Ozzy Osbourne closed the evening with a 45 minute greatest hits set that included his solo work as well as his best work with Black Sabbath. He was flanked by an almost entirely new band that featured new guitarist Gus G. and long time drummer Mike Bordin of Faith No More. Osbourne’s career has taken many twists and turns over the years. He has gone from metal madman, to Satan’s son, overseer of his own festival to even heavy metal’s father knows best. Through it all one thing has remained consistent; Ozzy Osbourne remains the true king of the heavy metal genre. By combining themes of the occult, heavy guitars and a serious sense of melody, Ozzy still reigns supreme over the genre and there does not seem to be any stopping him. Here’s hoping the SSMF gets bigger and bolder next year.