What Not to Miss at The Sunset Strip Music Festival

This year, with the imminent closing of the House of Blues, there is no better time to celebrate the musical legend of the Sunset Strip. The Sunset Strip Music Festival runs this weekend, 2pm-11pm on the 20th and 2pm to 10pm on the 21st. To accommodate the event, Sunset Boulevard will be closed between San Vicente Boulevard and Doheny Drive starting at 3 a.m. on Saturday, September 20 and will reopen by 6 a.m. on Monday, September 22. For those attending the festival, be forewarned — there are no ins and outs, but there will be food trucks and other vendors. We are offering up a few of our picks for the event, but it is not all-inclusive. The other bands might not suck, but this is who is on our radar.

Check out our picks after the break


Nightmare and the Cat are a British-American group whose “sharp guitar lines, forceful percussion and distinct, soulful vocals are what endure.”

Perhaps our favorite group, The Birds of Satan, offer wailing guitar solos, solid drums and vocals by Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters and Pat Smear on guitar. They cover the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch” if that helps you any.

Cold War Kids has catchy melodies and one of the strongest, most distinct lead singers I’ve heard in years. I can also imagine jumping up and down in a pit to them.

Failure recently rocked the El Rey with a reunion show. They are reminiscent of the moody, dark punk/new wave of the 80s.

Jane’s Addiction is the headliner Saturday night. They are blowing everyone’s minds by playing their 1988 album Nothing’s Shocking in its entirety.

You can stay late for the LA Guns if you miss the hair band scene. And leather.


The Narwahls are happy, smiley pop with a bit of surf guitar. Danceable.

Dead Fucking Last is some fast thrash punk. Expect a swirling, elbow-jabbing pit.

One of the buzziest acts is Big Freedia, the queen of New Orleans bounce. Music to seriously twerk to. It is a rager, not to be missed.

Chon is an instrumental prog math band that you will get really into if you yourself are a musician or have taken mushrooms, or molly, or whatever kids take these days.

If you are into ska and reggae you may like the fun-loving boys of Iration, but they sound a bit more influenced by No Doubt than by the Specials.

Do you like your metal so extreme it sounds like it was recorded in hell with Satan himself on vocals? Then psycho-vegan Cattle Decapitation is your band. Bang your head til your neck snaps!

Killer Mike is political hip hop with a good beat and catchy melodies. Killer Mike, who hails from Atlanta, has often collaborated with Outkast. It’s nice to see someone is still mad about Reagan.

Mayer Hawthorne is described as “fun lively blue-eyed soul.” It’s part bad modern, part Roxy Music and part 60s soul. In fact, his song, “The Walk” sounds an awful lot like “Grazing in the Grass”

Australia’s Empire of the Sun headlines Sunday. Although heavily influenced by British dance music, they have that anthem quality that you can imagine thousands of shirtless Aussies singing along to at one of their massive festivals. Along with the Narwahls, this is a feel-good band you should seek out if you are on the aforementioned molly.

Definitely stay for closer Metalachi. Yes, it is a combination of Heavy Metal and Mariachi and it works. They also look like they are having a blast.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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One Response to What Not to Miss at The Sunset Strip Music Festival

  1. Great band descriptions.

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