|Sunset Strip Redux|
I don't really know what the word "redux" means, but I just drove through Hollywood so movies are on my mind. I have seen the word "redux" added to the titles of some movies when they get re-released, so I think it means taking something old and awesome and trying to re-create it today.
To warm up for our Friday night, we started on Hollywood Boulevard, doing the star walk. Our favorite of them all was the recently added RUSH star. We also checked out the famous Hollywood sign, best viewed from the balconies outside the Kodak Theater, home of American Idol. Next to that is the legendary Grumann's Chinese Theater, which hosts many movie premieres. Unfortunately, we missed seeing the preview of "Suck: The Movie" by a week. This looks like a great flick, simply because Alex Lifeson and Alice Cooper are in it, and it is about a metal band made up of vampires. Sufficiently full on Hollywood cheese, we then proceeded to top off at the nearest In n' Out Burger, which I was happy to learn was not a reference to how quickly the meat passes through you, rather it alluded to the supposed quickness of the service. The place was packed inside, the drive thru line went around the block, and it was a good burger, not as good as Five Guys Burgers n' Fries, but pure Hollywood and therefore a must-go place.
Next up was a walk down Melrose Avenue, and a quest for vintage Rush and Asia concert T-shirts. There were a couple of good shops with a nice selection, and Mel picked up a sweet Grace Under Pressure baseball sleeve shirt, complete with the p/g logo on the back. I found some killer hand-made rock star pants in one place. I was excited to find both pairs of pants worn by the guitarists for Adler's Appetite when they played Rams Head Live in Baltimore. I really wanted one of them but I am not sure I can legitimately pull off rock star pants as a mere journalist, and with a price tag nearing $200/pair I had to pass.
Finally we were ready to hit the Sunset Strip and rock out. First stop had to be The Whisky, home of such one time up-and-coming local acts as The Doors, Van Halen, Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses. It is a cool little club, much smaller than I imagined it would be. It must have been insane back in the day to be able to see bands like Dokken, Ratt and Quiet Riot performing here. The place was not too full, unfortunately this seems to be the case in any city these days. Original live music deserves to be supported but it looks like a struggle no matter where you are. As we entered there was a band with a female singer, sounding a bit country, looking a bit Ke$ha, and when they broke into a rock version of Tik Tok, we were kinda bummed and realized that we were not in 1989 anymore. The next band up was Bellevue Suite, from Chicago/Milwaukee, featuring a new young lady drummer. They were great. They rocked hard, the singer sounded a bit like Chris Daughtry, and the band harmonized well, particularly when drummer Hannah sang with the lead singer on some as yet unreleased tunes. Definitely keep an eye out for these guys. Following that was something called Ninefinger, featuring a lead singer missing a finger, and thinking he was Jim Morrison. He was a bit too screamy and naked for our tastes, and after a while we decided to see who else was playing.
Here is where reality smacked us in the face like a burst of Aqua Net. We walked up and down Sunset, looking for some rock action. Some of the clubs had R'n'B or Hip-Hop. About the only thing that looked remotely interesting was the House of Blues, which had both 5150 and Atomic Punks serving up Van Hagar and Van Halen tributes. Scanning the LA Weekly for upcoming shows, we realized that the only thing keeping the metal spirit going in LA is an endless supply of cleverly named tribute bands, and the odd parody bands such as Rock Sugar and Steel Panther, who don't really pay tribute as much as they mock the past for profit. There appears to be no real scene and no new metal to be found in LA, which is probably why we are getting our rock these days primarily from places such as Dallas, Jacksonville, Chicago and Birmingham [yeah, I'm talking to you Lynam!].
We settled on the Cat Club, since we were parked there, they had an open air alleyway, and a band called Big In Japan, featuring 3 cute ladies singing 80's pop songs, was about to play. They did a nice job looking sexy and belting out hits from Flock of Seagulls, Erasure, The Cure and the like. So instead of seeing guys dressed like girls playing glam songs, we got girls looking glam singing guys pop songs. Oh well, these days, you get what you get and you don't get upset. Or do we do something about it?