Live Review: Marilyn Manson, The Offspring, Steve Aoki, and More at The Sunset Strip Music Festival
Mon, 20 Aug 2012 08:22:37
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Marilyn Manson personifies everything the world loves about the Sunset Strip.
He's the kind of gritty maverick who could've risen out of one of Hollywood's gutters to become a star in the '80s. He's got the panache. He's got the look. He's got the vitriol. Even though he's not properly from Los Angeles (who is anyway?), he lives here now, and he should be the mayor.
Given how connected he is to L.A., it made sense for him to close out the Sunset Strip Music Festival, and he brought a level of sonic excess that'd make Jim Morrison and Axl Rose equally proud.
As soon as the curtain dropped, Twiggy churned out the tense and choppy riff to "Hey, Cruel World..." from Born Villain. Clad in an a propos leather jacket, Manson stood with his back to the crowd moaning with verse with haunting panache before turning around with a scream on the death march hook. It proved to be a fitting opening to his dirty, devilish, and divine headline set to Saturday's street fest. He prefaced a rousing "Disposable Teens" from Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) by talking about recording in the location of Californication "with the help of my brother, not biologically thankfully…Twiggy". More than ever, the duo remained a potent yin-and-yang with Twiggy's airtight thrashing and Manson's hypnotic screams cycling together in the perfect storm.
"The Love Song" stood out with its grimy bombastic beat and searing guitars as Manson asked, "Do you love your gun?" The audience chanted along to the Antichrist Superstar with unmitigated power.
Matching those masterpieces from Holy Wood, "No Reflection" snapped with a sinisterly slick hook as Manson waved his knife-microphone in tandem with headbanging. "mOBSCENE" and "The Dope Show" resounded with overwhelming energy as Manson explained before "Rock Is Dead" that "The Doors already said it before I said it".
"Pistol Whipped", with its sexy groove and S&M charm, fit snugly with "Sweet Dreams" just before the closing surprise of Ray Manzarerk and Robby Krieger of The Doors dropping by for eerie industrial-fused metal covers of "People Are Strange", "Love Me Two Times", and "Five To One". Massive sing-a-longs commenced along with the gasps of excitement. Appropriately, "Beautiful People" practically ruptured a hole in the streets at the end.
Manson exerted the same effect on rock 'n' roll that the legends before him did, and he's still ripping it a new one with every album. The Sunset Strip will never be the same now that he's left his mark…
Right before that storm began, The Offspring gave the packed audience a high-energy set that exploded on impact. Frontman Dexter Holland commented with a wide smile, "This crowd looks like they're read to go fucking apeshit here."
They went more than fucking apeshit as soon as the band launched into a propulsive "All I Want". Noodles's surf guitar belied the punk power of "Come Out and Play" as the audience bounced in tandem with the immortal hook.
"Days Go By", the title track of the group's latest offering, matched the intensity and infectiousness of the early material, while "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell" encapsulated their roots perfectly while dropping in a searing solo from Noodles. The grind of "Bad Habit" and "Gotta Get Away" made the streets sweat even more. Orange County invaded L.A. and emerged victorious this time around.
At the other end of the festival, Steve Aoki rocked the decks for a hand-waving set befitting of the Sunset Strip's legacy of bombast. The LED screen behind him blazed as brilliantly as the music and he masterfully worked the stage, never ceasing his movement.
Once again from Manson's potent metallic punishment to Aoki's blissful dance party, the Sunset Strip Music Festival proves to be one of the most eclectic and best fests out there, honoring the area's history and its future.
Were you there?