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Last Night

Nightranger: Who Needs Sunset Junction? Saturday's Parties and Concerts Reviewed

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Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 5:18 PM
click to enlarge Butch Walker and the Black Widows - LINA LECARO
  • Lina Lecaro
  • Butch Walker and the Black Widows

Strolling through the events that popped up in the wake of Sunset Junction's cancellation, it was clear that folks were upset.

The maelstrom of negativity against the fair and its director Michael McKinley -- as seen on Facebook and in the comments section of blogs like this one -- may have expressed a sentiment of "good riddance." Folks still wanted to party, however, so much so that they decided to have their own. Many were overheard saying that the weekend's smaller events, in fact, conjured the communal vibe of what the fair once was.

As someone who grew up in Silver Lake and has attended the fair for over 20 years, we can't say that's completely true. Sure the scene and the music were good, but without all of the families and greasy food and beer gardens and rides, something was missing. Still, it's fair to say that Silver Lake shined.

Dangerbird Records' outdoor area was packed with the expected Raybans and boho rags crowd all day. We caught Butch Walker closing down the live band line-up, and he expressed disappointment at not being able to play the fair for what would have been his first time. Walker and his band The Black Widows served up their entire new album (which comes out this week) and it was as catchy and harmony-packed as we expected. For those unfamiliar, Walker is a successful songwriter/producer who has worked with the likes of Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Fall Out Boy and Weezer. Maybe not the indiest act from SJ for Dangerbird to showcase as headliner, but definitely one of the most talented.

A few blocks east, the groovy furniture store Living Room offered its own "Function at the Junction" stage, featuring lesser known acts booked by the store's owner Steve Melendrez and his sons (members of the band Raheem Cohen). It wasn't the first party the store has held during the Junction, but it did appear to be the biggest, Silver Lake-based Moheak Radio on the scene (on which yours truly has a show), more seating than we've seen there before and a tented band area. It was a pretty loose gathering, with unannounced acts added all day, including a wacky and fun one called Brandy Knights .

"We've always loved Sunset Junction, it just needs to be tweaked a little," said Melendrez.

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