Live Review: Slash, Fergie and The Smashing Pumpkins — The Sunset Strip Music Festival
Mon, 30 Aug 2010 06:39:09
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In the next election, Slash should run for mayor of Los Angeles.
If the astounding turnout at Saturday's Sunset Strip Music Festival is any indication, he might even win. However, due to his performance, he really deserves the crown.
Honored on Thursday night at the festival's annual kick-off ceremony, Slash specifically shined during the Saturday street show. He's most at home on stage with a guitar, and he invited everyone in. The intricately infectious lead-off riff of "Ghost" from Slash's phenomenal eponymous solo album ignited over an hour of rock 'n' roll ecstasy. Slash shredded through the song's intro with flare and fire, smiling at the crowd as he precisely pulled off the solo.
Singer Myles Kennedy exudes a rock god swagger that perfectly matches Slash's effortlessly divine playing. Kennedy's flawless falsetto fired up "Night Train" as Slash tore through the groove. "Sucker Train Blues" emanated a guttural grit and gusto from Kennedy as Slash lit up the fret board. The duo shined the most on their original cuts from SLASH though. The dreamy "Starlight" combined an operatic orchestra of guitars with a heavenly hook. "Back to Cali" could be the most badass anthem written about this state, and it promptly got fists pumping and asses shaking. Velvet Revolver's "Dirty Little Think" rolled and roared, while "Rocket Queen" soared on the embers of Slash's incendiary playing. Slash proved with every note why he's the icon he is; and it was one of his best performances ever.
A short and super sweet second set with Fergie followed. With a snaky and sexy "Beautiful Dangerous," Slash and Fergie redefined the capabilities of pop music. Very rarely is a pop track this badass, and live with Fergie strutting across the stage and doing cartwheels, the song became even more deadly. Then they launched into a super-charged cover of Heart's "Barracuda" that kept everyone cheering and singing. Miles joined Fergie for a poetic ode to L.A. with "Paradise City," which Fergie prefaced saying, "This is like paradise."
That's really the only apt description for her and Slash together.
The Smashing Pumpkins were equally explosive. Slash may be emblematic of the Sunset Strip's raw rock 'n' roll spirit, but Billy Corgan perfectly represents its penchant for all things epic. A Smashing Pumpkins show is always an unforgettable juggernaut, and this one certainly was. "Ava Adore" crescendoed from Corgan's hypnotic hiss to Nicole Fiorentino's seductively staggering bass thump. Corgan infused a heavier stomp into the song, and it kept the crowd transfixed. "A Song for a Son" from the band's revolutionary latest offering Teargarden By Kaleidyscope soared on Corgan's impeccable guitar wizardry as he perfectly sang. "Astral Planes" was just as propulsive, while "As Rome Burns" incorporated some Slaytanic drumming courtesy of Mike Byrne. Jeff Schroeder's riffs balanced out "Hummer" quite well.
No one could turn away from "Eye," especially with Fiorentino adding a perfectly timed rumble. After a progressively powerful "United States," "1979" and "Cherub Rock" saw the band re-energize their hits like never before. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" sounded more angry and alive than ever, while "Tonight Tonight" was like a living dream. "Zero" capped it all off perfectly.
One moment during Slash's set really stood out. He thanked the crowd and said, "I love this fucking city. It has the coolest rock n roll history, and it's all good."
This SSMF pairing Slash and The Smashing Pumpkins will go down as part of that revered history. Now Slash just needs to run for office.
Were you there?