The Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival, produced by Live Nation and Synergy Global Entertainment, rocked Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre Saturday, September 17th in Southern California, hosted by radio personality Eddie Trunk. This would be the last hard rock show at this venue due to closing at the end of October. A sold out crowd relived some of the best artists that graced the Sunset Strip in the 80’s and 90’s. Emotions were running high as the artists shared their stories playing at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, to the fans sharing what bands they’ve seen over the past 35 years at this venue. With 21 bands between the main stage and the festival stage the fans had the difficult decision on which bands to see.
Here are a few highlights of the main stage:
All photos by Tammy Greene
©2016. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.
Opening the main stage by winning the Hair Nation Festival Battle of the Bands, frontman August Young, guitarist William Slikker, rhythm guitarist Daniel Boone, bassist Matt Reid and drummer Lindsay Martin took the stage at 2:00 pm. The diehard fans that were there in the heat of the day when the gates opened rocked to a great energetic set. We will be seeing more of The Aviators.
Frontman Stevie Rachelle and bassist Todd Chaisson along with guitarist Howie Simon and drummer Tod T Burr got the fans in the VIP section rocking right off the bat, fist pumping to songs All New Generation and the classic glam era song American Hair Band and I Hate Kissing You Goodbye.
The runner up at the Hair Nation Battle of the Bands opening the festival stage at 2:20, were the Cendejas brothers, frontman/bassist Ted, guitarist George and drummer William. As I arrived from the main stage to catch one song, I noticed a nice crowd enjoying their set which consisted of cover songs. I’m looking forward to this band growing incorporating more of their own material. Keep your eye on these boys.
I have to admit, I’ve never seen or heard of Vain, but the fans have and they loved rocking to songs Who’s Watching You, Secrets, Love Drug and Beat The Bullet. There’s a first time for everything!
As the stage rotates guitarist Chris Sanders smashes two beautiful guitars to the stage. The fans were in shock not knowing how to take it, as he turns and grabs his Gibson Les Paul, the audience yells NOOO, including me! This Les Paul girl was going to cry, as he looks at the fans and smiles that gorgeous smile, now that he has everyone’s attention. Frontman Tommy Paris, guitarist Chris Sanders, bassist Billy Childs and drummer Johnny Dee delivered a memorable set including Long Way to Love, and Girlschool. One of my favorite sets of the day.
Unfortunately, with scheduling conflicts we don’t see Junkyard as much as the fans would like to. They’re a highly anticipated band when on the bill. Their energetic straight forward rock is the reason why frontman David Roach and the boys showed the fans how it’s done with Wallet, Hollywood and the classic Simple Man.
One thing that stands out for me every time The Bulletboys hits the stage besides their great musicianship, is Marq Torien’s attire. He’s always dressed nicely no matter the temperature and they heated up the stage. With the great addition of a horn section and female backup singers, Marq called them the Pistolettes in my interview with The Bulletboys at the Hair Nation Press conference, Frontman Marq Torien, guitarist Nick Rozz and drummer Shawn Duncan took command of the crowd with songs Smooth Up in Ya, For The Love of Money, an Elton John cover of The Bitch Is Back and Hello On My Heels.
You can never mistake Chip Z’Nuff for someone else with his pink signature glasses. As I spoke to a couple fans before the boys hit the stage, they were there especially for Enuff Z’Nuff as they let it be known during the set. They were having a blast, singing and dancing to the songs Baby Loves You, In The Groove and the classic hit Fly High Michelle. Chip and the boys are sounding good.
As the stage is rotating, host Eddie Trunk introduces this band as the only all-female band on the bill. The legacy lives on with Janet Gardner on vocals, guitarist Gina Stile, bassist Share Ross and drummer Roxy Petrucci. They are not only beautiful they are talented. The girls had the fans eating out of the palms of their hands playing their first hit single Edge of a Broken Heart and Cryinˈ. How many noticed the extra touch on Roxy’s drum set, the sequined stiletto heels on the cymbals?
No festival is complete without Faster Pussycat, the King of Sleaze Taime Downe with the traditional pose, Budweiser and cigarette in one hand, and the other horns up, as guitarists Ace Von Johnson and Xristian Simon, bassist Danny Nordahl and drummer Chad Steward kick off the best thirty-minute set. Playing all the classic songs the fans love, Slip of The Tongue, Bathroom Wall, Babylon, Cathouse and one of my favorites, as Taime sits on the edge of the stage, House of Pain. One little difference, Taime, Ace and Xristian are sporting facial hair since the last time I saw them, looking good boys!
Having the pleasure of interviewing Lita Ford recently at the Hair Nation Festival Press conference, I couldn’t wait to see her (Lita), guitarist Patrick Kennison, bassist Marty O’Brien and powerhouse drummer Bobby Rock, as Lita described them as Rolling Thunder. Well, that’s an understatement! Lita Ford rocked Irvine Meadows with songs Kiss Me Deadly, Close My Eyes Forever, and The Runaways song Cherry Bomb, leaving the fans wanting more. At the close of her set, host of the Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival Eddie Trunk came out to wish Lita Ford a Happy Birthday, leading the fans to sing along.
Another band I haven’t seen in years, frontman/guitarist Mark Slaughter and the boys sounded better than ever with bassist Dana Strum, guitarist Jeff Blando, drummer Zoltan Chaney (what a drummer he is, a show by himself!) They turned it up a notch as the sun was going down with Slaughter hits off the Stick It to Ya album, Up All Night with Eddie Trunk singing part of the chorus, to a touching moment as Mark does a sendoff to Irvine Meadows Amphiteatre with Fly to The Angels as a sea of cell phones lit up the audience. You can’t forget the trip out into the crowd, singing and taking photos with the fans.
Only two words describes Yngwie – “Guitar God “. What can be said that hasn’t already? He’s amazing, playing songs Rising Force, Heaven Tonight, Guitar Solo/Red House and The Star Spangled Banner. My only disappointment was the red and green lighting, a photographer’s nightmare! Yngwie puts on a phenomenal show. His finger work and tossing the guitar in the air and around his neck. As a fan it was difficult to see this – it was more a listening experience than a visual one!
This is my first time seeing Kix. Wow, I’ve been missing out, they were amazing! Frontman Steve Whiteman not only sounds great, he’s a showman with facial expressions, stories, his interaction with the fans and accent. All you can do is smile and have a great time and the fans were doing that, singing and dancing during the set. Rounding out the band are guitarists Ronnie Younkins and Brian Forsythe, bassist Mark Schenker and drummer Jimmy Chalfant rocked us with Wheels in Motion, Don’t Close Your Eyes, Love Me with Your Top Down and Blow My Fuse to name a few of the 10 songs played.
The last time I saw Bret Michaels was with Poison in 2003. Now touring solo, with addition of Cinderella’s bassist Eric Brittingham, I tried not to have high expectations since it’s been 13 years. He didn’t disappoint. He rocked!!! With songs Talk Dirty to Me, Look What the Cat Dragged In, Nothin But A Good Time and even a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd song Sweet Home Alabama. With a couple touching moments in his set, Bret thanking the fans for 30 years of dedication and support. Also, with it being his last show to be played at Irvine Meadows due to closing, asked the fans to light up their cell phones during Something to Believe In, then later in the set, thanking and dedicating Every Rose Has Its Thorn to the military, again asking the fans to light up their phones. It was a breath taking sight from the sold out crowd. Bret hinted of a Poison tour next year. I’m in!!
Motley Crue played their last shows together in December 2015. Vince has concentrated on his solo band, carrying the Motley Crue torch. As the band members hit the stage, I did a double take, I’ve seen bassist Dana Strum, guitarist Jeff Blando and drummer Zoltan Chaney earlier with Slaughter. After doing research to write this article, these extraordinary musicians tour with both bands. That being said, they kicked it up full blast as Neil rocks the fans with a “Crue” set cranking out one hit after another such as Dr. Feel Good, Looks to Kill, Kick Start My Heart, Home Sweet Home. While Neil took a break, Strum, Blando and Chaney gave the Led Zeppelin fans a cover of Whole Lotta Love – it was amazing!!!! Vince ended the night and set with Wild Side.
My day started at noon checking in for my credentials. I was leaving Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre for the last time a little past Midnight. I was thrilled and honored to be part of this history making day, covering the show for Music Life Magazine. Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival was off the hook! Every band I covered went above and beyond any expectations. I was also hearing the fans rave about the Festival Stage also, everyone in attendance wanting more. Eddie Trunk asked the fans if they would like to see this type of festival again. The answer “YES!” was probably heard all though Orange County. Trunk states they’ve already been talking and the Hair Nation Festival will be an annual event but at a new venue. Music to Southern California’s ears!!!
Thank you Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre for 35 years!
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