Sunset Strip Venues Launch First Tweet Crawl

Four of The Sunset Strip’s top Twitter accounts — The Roxy Theatre (@TheRoxy), Viper Room (@theVIPERroom), The Comedy Store (@TheComedyStore) and the Andaz West Hollywood (@AndazWeho) — have partnered to create the first-of-its-kind Tweet Crawl for its followers. The event includes free access to the clubs, special food and drink discounts as well as hidden prizes along the way with clues given via the Twitter feeds.

The Tweet Crawl [club crawl + Twitter community] will officially start at 6:30 p.m. at Andaz West Hollywood and will gradually travel west towards The Roxy Theatre by 10:45 p.m. The crawlers will receive commemorative buttons at each venue stop along the way.

The night’s schedule includes:
6:30 p.m. Andaz West Hollywood: Complimentary food and drink specials.
7:30 p.m. The Comedy Store: Performance by Twitter heavy comics @OwenLoL and @WhitneyCummings.
9 p.m. Viper Room: Performances and $5 drink specials.
10:45 p.m. The Roxy Theatre: Performances and a visit from Archie’s Ice Cream truck.

 “The genesis of The Sunset Strip Tweet Crawl came not only from the individual businesses desire to reward their faithful ‘Tweeps,’ but from the incredible interpersonal relationships that were developed through the Twitter social network,” noted Alf Lamont, director of marketing and development at The Comedy Store. “The people behind the businesses became friends through Twitter, and decided we should invite everyone to the party.”

Currently, Twitter followers receive passwords that allow free access to shows, concert tickets, and special shopping and eating discounts from participating businesses along The Strip. It also is a way for businesses to give “inside tips” on upcoming events, shows and discounts to customers who want to stay in the know.

Additional businesses along The Sunset Strip with Twitter accounts include House of Blues (@HOBSunset), Key Club (@Key_Club), The Standard (@Standardhwood), Book Soup (@BookSoup), LIVE! On Sunset (@LiveOnSunset) and Buttercake Bakery (@ButtercakeBaker). The Roxy Theatre currently holds the title as the No. 1 Club on Twitter, hosting more than 10,000 followers.

Those wishing to participate should sign up to receive feeds from the participating businesses. The Tweet Crawl is open to those ages 21 and older. For more information, visit www.viperroom.com/blog.

After Midnight Project Headline An Energetic, Fan-Filled Homecoming At Key Club

In this new era of “do it yourself” viral marketing, After Midnight Project has charted a course for success through an uncertain digital landscape. With all the social networking loopholes it’s become next to impossible to discern which bands have a legitimate following and which are just tech savvy. The proof is always in the live show, and for AMP this show at Key Club on June 26 marked a celebratory homecoming on the road to what looks to be a bright future.

The club was packed with eager young kids. And when the curtain rose, the band wasted no time jumping into fan favorite “Digital Crush.”

Amidst a backdrop of white strobes and fog, charismatic frontman Jason Evigan seized the mic and the immediate attention of the crowd with his aggressive yet passionate vocals. It’s always inspiring to watch a band kick off a set where the audience knows every word by heart and is every bit as excited to be there as the band is to perform.

After Midnight Project kept their momentum as they played through the emotionally raw lines of “The Becoming,” while the crowd echoed back the angst-filled chorus shouting, “You’ll be my last mistake… What have I become?

Thoroughly impressed by their fans’ dedication, Evigan paused to give thanks: “We’ve seen some crazy crowds across the country, and I always say, you gotta see our crowd in L.A.” Thankfully for the AMP boys their hometown crowd did not disappoint, as the band also happened to be filming their first live DVD.

Midway through their set, all the energies in the room seemed to come together. As the band plowed their way through the aggressive yet melodic harmonies of “Backlit Medley,” the crowd pogoed and shook the club to the rafters. “I don’t care if you have a broken leg, I want you to jump!” exclaimed Evigan as he led the finale to the song, savagely beating out the final measures on his own floor tom.

The rest of the show was no less entertaining as Evigan showed off his multi-instrumental talents. At one point dawning an electro acoustic guitar for the falsetto heavy, Muse-esque sound of “The Criminal” and later clearing the stage for a short piano ballad.

The audience was thrilled with the cleverly thought out showcase. This kind of showmanship giving yet another nod to the fact that AMP is on the rise and beginning to take their stage show a bit more seriously.

The band wrapped their set with “Take Me Home,” the first single off their long awaited major label debut. It was a song that the fans knew well and a song that felt so very appropriate for a band that has put so much work into building a following.

After Midnight Project’s major label debut album, Let’s Build Something To Break, is set for release August 11, 2009, on Universal Motown. The band is currently on Warped Tour.


Photo courtesy DZR Images: www.dzrimages.com/aftermidnightproject  

Sunset Strip Picks: Fourth Of July Holiday Week

The Sunset Strip’s got a full week of shows, events, poolside drinks and dining. That extra day off work is just icing on the cake.

Electronic DJ Keoki brings the beats to the Viper Room with DJ Wolfie and Tamer on Monday, June 29. Tickets are $15. www.viperroom.com

It’s all about the guitar Tuesday, June 30 at the Whisky A Go-Go. Enjoy sets from Spanish guitarist David Maldanado, acoustic performances by Keith Garriott and E.N. Down, and some amped up electricity from Anthony Aquarius Mystery “A Hendrix Experience.” Tickets are $10. www.whiskyagogo.com

The hottest show Wednesday, July 1 also supports a great cause. Stone Temple Pilots performs at the St. Jude Rock N Roll Hope Show charity event at House of Blues. The show is all ages and tickets are $67. www.houseofblues.com

Celebrate summer and kick-off the long weekend while enjoying lunch poolside at the legendary Sunset Tower Hotel Terrace. The $25 poolside lunch is available Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Special menu items include an organic salad or soup of the day and choice of roasted turkey wrap, tuna melt, chicken club, patty melt, risotto or a bacon, cheddar and onion omelet. Complimentary valet parking available. www.sunsettowerhotel.com

Your Fourth of July weekend gets started with Summer Fridays at Asia De Cuba. From 1-4 p.m. enjoy $5 food menu and $5 cocktails, not to mention one of the best views in the city. The menu includes bigeye tuna sliders, black bean and chickpea dumplings, Asian spiced pork spare ribs, sangria, specialty mojitos and a selection of beer. Valet parking is $5 until 6 p.m. as well. www.mondrianhotel.com

It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without pool parties, and The Sunset Strip certainly knows how to host them. SkyBar celebrates poolside from noon – 7 p.m. on Saturday with DJ Zen Freeman. To RSVP or for table reservations, email skybarla@morganshotelgroup.com. The Standard gets its pool party started with DJ Max Van Ville, a ping pong tournament and summer cocktails. For reservations, call 323.822.3121. www.standardhotels.com/hollywood

And wow guests at Fourth of July barbecues this weekend with a seasonal blueberry and raspberry cobbler from Buttercake Bakery on Sunset. www.buttercakebakery.com

End your holiday weekend at Ketchup while watching America’s favorite pastime. Home team the Dodgers take on the Padres in San Diego, and while the boys in blue may be away, you can belly up to Ketchup’s bar and enjoy half-priced drinks and appetizers while cheering them on to victory. Game starts at 1:05 p.m. www.dolcegroup.com



Photo courtesy of Bob Friday

The Dead Weather Impress A-Listers And Clubgoers At The Roxy

It was a last minute announcement, the way these sort of special club gigs tend to be, when less than a week out word came that Jack White’s latest and least well-known project The Dead Weather would be making their L.A. debut at The Roxy Theatre on June 17. It takes a rare event like this for dozens of Sunset Strip club goers to wake up early on a Saturday morning and wait in line at The Roxy’s box office for tickets to go on sale.

For those who missed the initial announcement or perhaps just decided to sleep in, tickets for the show were in high demand on sites such as Craigslist and Ebay. And this is a band that has yet to even put out a record.

On the night of the show, everyone who knew anyone was crowded outside the club frantically making phone calls, looking for an “in.” In fact, many of the club’s staff members were reluctant to show their faces outside the club for fear of being guilted by friends and acquaintances waiting outside; this sort of “hiding” being the marker for any exclusive event worth attending.

Inside the place was packed to the point where even the VIP section didn’t offer much refuge from the masses. The crowd was heavily composed of industry folk, club regulars and guest list attendees. But the real surprise was the number of A-listers in attendance, which included Jimmy Page, Benicio Del Toro, DJ Danger Mouse, Har Mar Superstar and members of Queens Of The Stone Age.

From the moment the band took the stage, the spellbound audience knew it was going to be witness to a one-of-a-kind, memory making night. The set kicked off with a thunderous start, setting the tone for the evening with the sizzling blues stylings of “60 Feet Tall.” While White pounded out the thunderous rhythm on the drums, vocalist Alison Mosshart (The Kills) began her slow seduction of the audience.

Mosshart definitely took command of the stage, which was not an easy task considering, well considering why most of the audience was in attendance. Her raspy, whiskey tones channeled Patti Smith by way of PJ Harvey as she stumbled and chain smoked her way across the stage in a spastic trance. Together with the band’s bluesy psychedelic guitar sound, Mosshart bewitched the crowd like a preacher at a Southern revival.

There was little between song banter as The Dead Weather blistered through their concisely crowd pleasing set. White mostly stuck to backing vocals behind the drums but did manage to take the reins for one song, wowing the crowd with his signature vintage guitar sound.

The sexiest and most intense moment of the night came midway through the set with a duet between White and Mosshart. The crowd was on edge as barely a glimmer of light passed between the two singer’s lips as they traded off vocals and exchanged passionate glares; a kind of electric tension where you didn’t know whether they wanted to fight, f*ck, or both.

The band’s set ended in a crescendo of guitars, drums and applause, with the band even returning to the stage for a three song encore.

The finale included a much heavier and rawer sounding version of the band’s single “Hang You From The Heavens,” which was likely the only track that anyone in the crowd was familiar with. The band closed with a cover of Dylan’s “New Pony” and left the stage with a full group bow. For as much as White attempts to put himself in the background of his new project, literally behind the drums, his talent and stage presence still leaves people walking away viewing him as the vocal point and wondering what his next incarnation will be.


–Brent X Mendoza 

Photo courtesy of Nic Adler

The Foreign Exchange Brings A Feel-Good Review To The Roxy

I first heard of The Foreign Exchange from Garth Trinidad’s show on KCRW. He was playing a track from a Mushroom Jazz CD called “Nic’s Groove.” I was drawn to the groovy blend of hip-hop, R&B, with a touch of house, and wanted to hear more. So I picked up not one but two copies of their debut album Connected — the original CD and the equally impressive instrumental-only version — and became a fan.

These discs and the band’s recent follow-up, Leave It All Behind, deftly blend so many sounds that I had no idea what their live show would look or feel like.

Led by North Carolina rapper Phonte with groundbreaking production from Dutch trip-hop producer Nicolay – the duo made Connected swapping vocals and beats over the Internet — this is a band that simply doesn’t draw between the lines.

So when I saw they would be playing at The Sunset Strip’s legendary Roxy Theatre on June 14, I decided to see and hear for myself. And I’m glad I did. Because as accomplished as The Foreign Exchange’s recordings are, I would not have guessed that in concert they would be such a crowd-pleasing, smile-inducing, feel good time.

With Phonte’s sense of showmanship as MC and the night’s ringleader and Nicolay on keyboards, the live show fused blues, sweet, uplifting soul, and vocals ranging from silky smooth to East Coast rap. A great new band with an original sound delivering its message via an old-time rhythm and blues review that had everyone on their feet, joining in the celebration.

Accompanied by vocalists YahZarah, Darien Brockington and Muhsinah, Phonte spoke, rapped and sang about the trials and tribulations of love, as well as more ephemeral pleasures. The audience was in it and celebrating from the beginning, and I had a big smile plastered on my face the entire time.

Love songs like “House of Cards” and “Sweeter Than You” led to the band’s newest hit, “Sincere,” and the set concluded with breakthrough song “Come Around.” Encores included “Written All Over Your Face” and, finally, a rousing cover of Level 42’s “Something About You,” which closed the night with the audience joining in and singing along.

A truly uplifting evening in the great tradition of classic soul music — somewhat in contrast to the darker tones of Leave It All Behind, but perfectly in character to the underlying sweetness of the band’s lyrics. And another testimony to the versatility and range of the talent showcased at The Roxy Theatre.


–David Loomstein 

Photo courtesy of Kris Perry www.myspace.com/krisperryphotography  

New Businesses Open Along The Sunset Strip

The Sunset Strip continues to welcome new businesses to the famed boulevard, despite a downward economy. The new businesses add to the options available to consumers at legendary destination.

“By continuing to add the best in new restaurants, upscale hotels and unique boutiques we are creating one of the most convenient areas in the city to shop, dine and be entertained,” states Todd Steadman, executive director of the Sunset Strip Business Association. “In a time that’s been trying for some businesses, we feel fortunate to say that our community continues to grow and we’re thrilled to be able to offer more choices for our visitors.”

Some of the new business openings along The Strip include:

BOA Sunset
9200 Sunset Blvd.

Buttercake Bakery
8616 Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Deli
8961 Sunset Blvd.

Tony’s Italian Steakhouse
8570 Sunset Blvd.

A Hollywood Spectacle
8747 Sunset Blvd.

Ottica (Eyeware)
8624 Sunset Blvd.

South Paradiso Organic Haberdashery
8533 Sunset Blvd.

T Petterson
8710 Sunset Blvd.

Stone Skin Care
8519 Sunset Blvd.

Saffore’s Salon
8418 Sunset Blvd.

“Several of our businesses are also now offering new summer menus, extended happy hours and consumer relief deals,” states Steadman. “We are providing great offerings for a fantastic value here on The Sunset Strip.” The Sunset Strip’s economic consumer relief offers run through August 31, 2009.

For more information about The Strip or any of its businesses please visit dev.thesunsetstrip.com  


Photo courtesy Bob Friday

BOA Officially Opens; Celebrity Events On The Sunset Strip

Whoever said mid-week nights are uneventful never spent theirs on The Sunset Strip.

Last night the boulevard was peppered with star-studded events and concerts. Music fans and celebrities, including Jimmy Page, Benecio Del Torro and Danger Mouse, packed The Roxy Theatre for the sold-out West coast premiere of The Dead Weather, a blues-rock group comprised of Jack White, Alison Mosshart (The Kills), “Little Jack” Lawrence (Raconteurs/Greenhornes) and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age).

Critically acclaimed restaurants were also full of buzz Tuesday and Wednesday as renowned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay celebrated the one-year anniversary of his namesake restaurant at The London West Hollywood last night.

“We’ve enjoyed an exceptionally successful opening year, topped with our star rating by the Michelin Guide,” said Ramsay. “I look forward to further enhancing all of our menus to reflect California’s absolute abundance of local produce and the energy of this outstanding location.”

And at The Strip’s west end, BOA Steakhouse hosted a star-studded night on Tuesday with Scarlett Johansson, Regina King and Jon Voight among those in attendance. The steakhouse relocated to a new space at 9200 Sunset Boulevard that includes an expansive, lush outdoor patio and spacious interior. Set your reservations as the restaurant officially opens to the public today.

Where will The Strip take you tonight?


Photo courtesy ErikVoake.com

The Sunset Strip Launches Summertime Consumer Relief Offers

The notorious Sunset Strip, which stretches 1.3 miles through the heart of West Hollywood, is launching its own version of an ‘economic stimulus package’ to consumers with special offers throughout the summer.

"The recession is impacting people in our communities, so we’re offering special events and discounts so they can still enjoy The Strip this summer even on a budget," explains Todd Steadman, executive director of the Sunset Strip Business Association.

 With consumer spending making up more than two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product, The Sunset Strip is offering special incentives in hopes of helping to contribute to the nation’s economic rebound. Businesses on The Strip also hope that the consumer relief offers will cut local residents a break as Los Angeles County increases sales tax to 9.75% starting July 1.

The iconic locale, which is packed with more than 150 clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels and music venues, will offer visitors to The Strip special summer deals. A few include:

The Strip’s Summer Happy Hour: Restaurants and bars are offering specially priced food and drink happy hours. Including $2 beers, $5 Mediterranean platters at Restaurant at Sunset Marquis; $3 beers, $4 cocktails at Rainbow Bar & Grill; $4 cocktails at Talesai; $5 martinis and $4 appetizers at Mirabelle; half-priced drinks at Saddle Ranch Chop House and Red Rock; and two-for-one drinks at Isla and Cabo Cantina.

Twitter Free Access: Follow Sunset Strip establishments, including The Viper Room, The Roxy Theatre and The Comedy Store, for free tickets and access to upcoming shows throughout the week.

$5 Nights: Find drinks and dishes for $5 and under at venues including Mirabelle, Red Rock, Katana, Viper Room, Clafoutis, Tony’s Italian Steakhouse, and Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Special Summer Discounts: Several boutiques and spas along The Strip, including LIVE! On Sunset, KIN, Mystery Pier Books, Inc., Ole Henriksen, and Spa at Mondrian, are offering "Sunset Strip Summer" 20% off discounts for consumers.

"People are looking for the best value for their money, and most Sunset Strip businesses are offering consumers and visitors a great night out for a good value throughout the summer," states Mikeal Maglieri, co-owner of the Rainbow Bar & Grill and Whisky A Go-Go and SSBA Board President.

The Sunset Strip’s "consumer relief" offers will run June 8 – August 31, 2009. For more information about the campaign as well as a complete list of business offers and summer events, please visit dev.thesunsetstrip.com/summer  

Watch the video from KABC! 


Photo courtesy Bob Friday


Iglu & Hartly Energetic Record Release At The Roxy Theatre

It was a festive Cinco de Mayo at The Roxy Theatre and a bit of a change of pace from the usual tequila and cerveza specials. The room was packed with excited teens, sporting shoelace headbands, bright neon patterned tees, and peg leg trousers — these kids were ready to dance and ready for the triumphant release of Iglu & Hartly’s debut record And Then Boom.


Pop Noir, a favorite of KROQ Locals Only and one of the more promising new acts to come out of L.A. in the past few years, opened the night. Since playing the inaugural Sunset Strip Music Festival, the band has garnered enough exposure to snag an opening slot on several dates of Doves U.S. tour.


Just like their namesake, the band dressed from head to toe in black mod stylings – looked much like the offspring of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but sounded more like a dark wave version of Supergrass. Pop Noir’s high energy set really filled out the bill and kicked off the night in a way that made the band feel more like they were a co-headliner than an opening act.


Now Iglu & Hartley were ready to give the crowd some serious lovin’. As soon as the curtain was raised, the band exploded with a high level of enthusiasm that was equally matched by the crowd. The synth heavy happy beats of “Jump Out Of Your Car” instantly turned the entire room into an all out dance-party. With their “and hammer” (the band’s logo, which combines an ampersand and a hammer) tats flying, singer Jarvis Anderson and company treated the crowd to a full sampling of the new record.


Dressed more like they were ready for a day of lounging at the beach than playing a rock show, the band sweatily powered through their set, stopping many times to acknowledge their new found Echo Park roots and the fan base that has helped sustain them.


“We worked for two-and-a-half years on this record and it’s finally come around,” saluted a shirtless Anderson as he toasted the crowd with his beer.


In fact, the show was full of fan participation and appreciation. During the moody ballad “Out There” the band called for all the girls in the crowd to get on their guy’s shoulders and sway to their smooth rhymes. A few songs later, the crowd broke out into an all out frenzy of dance and arm waving, singing along to the catchy hook of “Violent And Young.”


But one of the biggest sources of nervous excitement in the crowd was monitoring Anderson’s pants whose waistline bordered on “the danger zone” the entire night, leaving many of the young ladies in the crowd hoping for a repeat of the now infamous naked Coachella incident.


The band finished their set with a bang dedicating their heavily rotated radio single “In This City” to their fans; a song that tells the story of the band’s journey, dropping out of college in Boulder, Col., and deciding to pursue music, making a new home in Echo Park, Calif.


For the final song “Dayglo,” all the “ladies in the house” we’re invited onstage to dance away the last song of the night, which was the conclusion of an even more impressive journey, that of a band that played The Roxy almost exactly one year ago and was now launching their debut record to a packed house.


–Brent X Mendoza

Photo credit: donrichner/dzrimages

SSMF 2009 Set For Sept. 10-12, Ozzy Osbourne To Be Honored

The second annual Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) is confirmed for Sept. 10-12, 2009. In addition to The Strip’s six signature music venues hosting diverse music lineups, SSMF 2009 will also include an outdoor street festival component with the closure of Sunset Boulevard between Doheny Drive to San Vicente Boulevard on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 2 – 9 p.m. This is the first time a significant portion of The Sunset Strip has been shut down for a music event, and it will allow for outdoor stages and increased attendance.

Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne will be honored at a tribute event Thursday, September 10 that kicks off the three-day festival. The tribute event honors icons who have made an impact on the legacy of The Sunset Strip. On Ozzy’s first U.S. tour with Black Sabbath in 1970, the band performed a five-night stand (November 11-15) at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go. Ozzy Osbourne’s career has spanned four decades and his music is as relevant today as ever. The multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has sold over 100 millions album worldwide—50 with Black Sabbath and as many as a solo artist—and in 2003 was honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s “Walk of Fame.”

“We are extremely excited to honor rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, and we are thrilled the City of West Hollywood once again supported the Sunset Strip Music Festival,” noted Todd Steadman, executive director of the Sunset Strip Music Festival. “This year’s street closure will allow us to expand on the success of last year’s inaugural fest and accommodate more fans and festival-goers.”

Friday and Saturday nights of SSMF will feature live music performances from a mix of established and up-and-coming artists at all six venues (Cat Club, House of Blues, Key Club, The Roxy Theatre, Viper Room and Whisky A Go-Go). Saturday will feature a daytime street fest with multiple outdoor stage performances before the clubs open their doors for night performances, and the Mondrian hotel is also onboard for SSMF 2009 and will host a VIP cocktail event.

“SSMF is a great opportunity for us to celebrate The Sunset Strip’s rich musical history. It also allows us to recognize the clubs and artists, new and old, who make Sunset Boulevard an international destination,” stated West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John Heilman. “Our first event created so much excitement and enthusiasm, and I know the upcoming event will be terrific.”

An official “launch” of SSMF 2009 will be held May 14 at interactive retailer LIVE! On Sunset. The invitation-only event is sponsored by Jack Daniel’s, LIVE! On Sunset, Virgin America, City of West Hollywood, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Isla Cantina, Mondrian, Sierra Nevada, Castoro Cellars, Izze and Icelandic Glacial. It will feature an exhibit from photographer Patrick Ecclesine’s award-winning book Faces Of Sunset Boulevard, which celebrates the people who define the legendary boulevard; drinks from Jack Daniel’s; hors d’oeuvres from Isla Cantina; and live music.

“We are delighted to host our kick-off event for year two of SSMF at LIVE! On Sunset and at the same time showcase Patrick’s eclectic collection of Sunset Strip images,” noted SSMF Managing Director Karmen Beck. “The venue embodies the energy of The Sunset Strip with its fashion-forward style and music-friendly approach to retail.” More details about the Sunset Strip Music Festival 2009, including artist lineup and ticket information, will be announced.


Visit the Sunset Strip Music Festival on Facebook and MySpace.