While most of my time during the Sunset Strip Music Festival was spent running from stage to stage to catch at least a few songs from as many performers as I could, two acts drew me in so completely, I had no choice but to stay for their entire sets. Who might these captivating acts be, you ask? I’ll give you a hint. Both are LA locals and neither was playing on one of the main stages. I guess that was two hints, actually. Read on to find out which band blew me away during Friday night’s slew of venue performances, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out which artist put on a performance so electric on Saturday in one of the Strips’ legendary venues, I couldn’t be persuaded to head back outside.
I started Friday night at the Cat Club, arriving just in time to see The Outline take to the stage, and I’m glad I did. Their eclectic performance showed hints of a Cursive influence and was a great way to start off the weekend.
Next stop was the Roxy, and the moment Fat Wreck Chord’s Pour Habit took to the stage, a circle pit instantly broke out in the audience. Watching frontman Chuck Green dance around like a ballerina between his bandmates, it was obvious these guys were simply having a blast, and you couldn’t help but feed off the energy.
After exiting the Roxy, we headed into Key Club just in time to catch Nico Vega perform. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been invited out to see these LA locals more than a couple times and something has always come up to prevent me from attending a show. To all those who have told me again and again that I need to see this band, YOU WERE RIGHT! I was absolutely blown away by the level of music guitarist Rich and drummer Dan were able to create using only two instruments, and there simply aren’t words to describe the showmanship of frontwoman Aja. A mix of Karen O, Björk, and Grace Slick, she was simply mesmerizing to watch and brought such an energy to the stage. Best of all, she seemed to be having the time of her life during the show, and so was I! No way was I leaving the venue while Nico Vega was performing, and I can’t wait until I have a chance to see them again.
The last band I saw Friday night was one that graced the Sunset Strip Music Festival last year as well: Unwritten Law. Unlike Nico Vega, UL is a band I have seen several times and yet each performance holds up against the last. Scott Russo is as charismatic as ever, and the group put on a tight show, kicking off their set with crowd favorite “Up All Night.” Though the band wouldn’t be playing one of the main stages this year, Friday night wouldn’t be the last I’d see of Scott Russo. Check back tomorrow for our coverage of Saturday’s festivities to find out where else he showed up on the Strip.