The 6th Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival was a whirlwind of almost running into multiple giant macramé Gibson guitars, watching one too many drunk people upchuck their overly priced alcohol in the beer garden, and becoming temporary best friends with the people getting their sweat all over you when Awolnation and Linkin Park performed their mind-blowing sets. With the sun shining and listening to attendees ask their friends which band they should see or what venue they should go to next, it was definitely a great day for appreciating music.
It’s safe to say that a majority of the audience went into watching Awolnation knowing “Sail” and “Not Your Fault” (guilty as charged). They must’ve known that would be the case because they were very engaging of the crowd, kept the energy going throughout each song (even the slower paced ones), and overall they performed their asses off. Lead singer Aaron Bruno is extremely charismatic and the band definitely fed off of his energy throughout the set. There is no doubt that Awolnation’s unique style of electronic-with-a-touch-of-hardcore-vocals paired with a magnetic stage presence is why they’re rising fast in the music industry.
On Linkin Park:
It wasn’t surprising that right after an incredible performance from Awolnation, everyone decided to wait the hour and a half for the Sunset Strip Music Festival’s headliner: Linkin Park. Of course, they had to keep up the tradition of making their antsy fans wait an extra ten minutes before they took the stage, but once the screen came on showing their faces mixed with elaborate digitalized graphics, the crowd went from dazed to rowdy in a matter of minutes. They not only played almost all of their hits like “Breaking the Habit,” “In the End,” “What I’ve Done” and “Castle of Glass,” but they also included an exclusive look at a song that never made it onto the first album. The age range of the audience was an incredible sight because it showed just how much one band’s music can reach multiple generations. I was a little shocked that Chester Bennington’s voice didn’t go out because he was definitely screaming a lot more than on the recordings, and I was quite impressed with how fast Mike Shinoda can rap (especially live). However, it was pretty obvious that they’re a seasoned band because their energy level didn’t seem quite up to par in comparison to Awolnation’s.
Overall, apart from almost getting trampled by moshers and people trying (and failing) to crowd surf, it was hard not to enjoy my first experience at the Sunset Strip Music Festival. Even though I got there a little later than I wanted and missed some of the bands I wanted to see, it felt like the day was moving slow enough to enjoy every piece of musical greatness that loomed around each stage. The fact that it’s an event that promotes preserving the live music scene in L.A. (or anywhere for that matter) is something that should remind concert goers of the sheer bliss they can feel when seeing a band live. Now if only Awolnation and Linkin Park were going on a real tour together (fingers crossed).