It was an exclusive event Thursday, March 12, one synonymous with The Sunset Strip energy. The event was hosted by GQ magazine and Burberry at Sunset Strip mainstay the Viper Room. While a small but anxious pack of paparazzi jockeyed for position along the black carpet, a slow and steady stream of RSVPs made their way from check-in, through the velvet ropes and into the club.
Upon entry, invitees were treated to an open bar featuring freshly muddled mojitos and passed hors d’oeuvres. It was the type of crowd you’d expect for a GQ and Burberry hosted event: sleek model types in their flowing boho chic attire, male models in sharply tailored suits, publicists and fashion execs.
The VIP tables were littered with a slew of TMZ favorites and reality TV stars, including Lisa and Brittny Gastineau and half the cast of “Miami Ink,” and actresses Mischa Barton and Liv Tyler. While most of the room fought for valuable real estate at the bar, the rest of the crowd mingled in small groups casually glancing at a projected film loop showing a behind-the-scenes look at a photo shoot for the new Burberry ad campaign.
As the projection screen rose into the ceiling, local indie rocker and songwriter Nico Stai kicked off the night performances with a short acoustic set and heart felt crooning.
Mostly people, however, were waiting for the main event…an intimate showcase by one of the biggest buzz bands of the last ten years. And after a short changeover, the Cold War Kids took the stage.
The band, dressed from head to toe in Burberry suits and dress wear, launched immediately into an energetic, key pounding version of “We Used To Vacation,” with guitarist Jonathan Russell spastically beating his maraca into a cymbal teetering on his amp crate. The band played a short but fulfilling set, equally drawing from both of their records, and kept the crowd’s interest for the entire performance.
The band rounded out their set with fan favorite “Something Is Not Right With Me” and led a boisterous sing along to monster single “Hang Me Up To Dry.” By the time they dove into the last song of their set, lead singer Nathan Willett was dripping with perspiration as his fingers pounded out the final notes to “Hospital Beds.”
Cold War Kids kept the beat and the crowd moving. They did what most bands should do with these kind of intimate appearances: Keep the audience wanting more.
— Brent X Mendoza