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Sunset Strip Music Festival

Though Friday's show is essentially a warm-up for the Sunset Strip Music Festival's outdoor extravaganza Saturday (see below), it nonetheless boasts some worthy SoCal stalwarts. At the cozy Cat Club, Golden State's elegant, organically epic post-U2 pop (as recently heard on Deadliest Catch) should alone justify your trip. Over at the Key Club, Nico Vega — always more of a live experience than a studio band — will have torsos twisting with their deceptively groovy, skeletal rock & roll (and necks craning for damaged-debutante vocalist Aja Volkman). San Diego's P.O.D. (yes, "Youth of the Nation" and all that), their metal made interesting by Caribbean and Latin flirtations, will be better than you expect at the Whisky.

On Saturday, the boulevard will be closed for an unlikely combo of big (and big-ish) names on two outdoor stages. Even as they live and breathe, in some form, Smashing Pumpkins' gorgeously paranoid, fizzy rock is already bearing young (see Silversun Pickups for details). Main man Billy Corgan might be whacked (and often wacky), but he can pen staggering tunes in his sleep and harbors a number of grandiose visions that may never be fully realized. Kid Cudi brings an odd angst to his sometimes-detached raps, while Gym Class Heroes vocalist Travie McCoy's good-natured hip-pop seems made for summer afternoons. Otherwise, Fergie guesting with fest honoree Slash should be a sight, while impossibly animated gutter glamsters Semi Precious Weapons and (only slightly funnier) metal-parody combo Steel Panther will surely set out to make spectacles of themselves. Also appearing: Common, Neon Trees and Big B.
Aug. 27-28, 2010


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