Cruefest Hollywood 2017 with NiteRain, Bitch, Blacklist Union, Evol Walks and more, The Whisky, July 29, 2017
It was a party Saturday night in the wilds of the Sunset Strip, and The 16th Annual Cruefest Hollywood extravaganza was taking place at the world famous Whisky A Go Go! Continuing on with their fight on the front lines against cancer in memory of Skylar Neil (the daughter of Motley Crue lead vocalist Vince Neil) who lost her battle with cancer at age 4, all proceeds from this year’s edition of CrueFest Hollywood will benefit Letty’s Angels Of Hope foundation.
And what a tremendous lineup of bands this year, featuring the likes of Bitch, NiteRain, Blacklist Union, Evol Walks, Rocky Kramer, PictureYes, Love Weapon, Roni Lee, and DJ Alex Kayne. All this and a supreme hosting job by the one and only Erik Hatchett from the band L.A. Story! Even competing under the throes of a massive Metallica / Avenged Sevenfold show taking place across town at The Rose Bowl, CrueFest Hollywood had a robust turnout of locals all supporting a very worthy cause. Here are a few of the bands we caught at CrueFest Hollywood 2017!
The first band Highwire Daze Online caught up with at this year’s edition of CrueFest Hollywood was the legendary Bitch, playing the breakfast hour at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. No matter what time of day or night it is, Bitch is a mighty force of heavy metal nature to be reckoned with. Founding members Betsy is one of the first ladies of heavy metal – together with the likes of Ann Boleyn of Hellion and Doro Pesch on Warlock, these women were trailblazers within the male-dominated heavy metal genre – and all three are still active today.
Betsy is especially a formidable presence, with a powerful voice that brings the classic material to an ultra vivid life! Kicking off their set with a wickedly scorching cover of the Elton John classic The Bitch Is Back, Betsy and company ripped the walls off the venerable nightclub, enrapturing all of the early arrivals with a truly ferocious performance. With diabolic selections such as Me And The Boys, Ride The Thunder, and Live For The Whip in tow, Betsy and her crew were in top form! In addition to the knockout performance of the stunning Betsy, the Bitch 2017 lineup features the dapper Alex O’Neill on lead guitar, Angelo Espino on pulsating bass, and Scandall West on tight as hell drums. What a treat it was the see this iconic band at such an intimate nightclub – and the evening was only just beginning…
Bitch on Facebook
We shall now go from the old school classic metal of Bitch to an up and coming hard rock collective known as Evol Walks, now making a name for themselves within the vast confines of the Los Angeles music scene. Fronted by the devastatingly talented Leah Martin-Brown, Evol Walks presents their own striking brand of hard rock and roll that should infinitely appeal to fans of Halestorm and The Pretty Reckless. Evol Walks is their own sonic beast however, and their original songs are superbly impassioned and instantly memorable.
Opening with the raging refrains of Give It To Me (Save Yourself). Evol Walks unleashed a mesmerizing set of tunes. Leah is a dynamic vocalist, singing with a staggering amount of passion and intensity, really bringing the audience into the beating heart of each and every song. Tunes such as Stiletto, Burning In Silence, and Destination Nowhere are absolutely explosive in a live setting. And since we were at CrueFest, Evol Walks unveiled an absolutely sweltering cover of the Motley Crue classic Red Hot! In addition to the glorious heartfelt performance of Leah Martin-Brown, the Evol Walks lineup consists of CJ Tywoniak on lead guitar, Sam Bam Koltun on rhythm guitar, Eliot Lorango on bass, and Tosha Jones on drums. Evol Walks has been working on an EP with Kevin Thrasher from Escape The Fate at the helm, so expect this gorgeous slab of rock and rage to be out before the year spins to its frenetic conclusion.
Evol Walks on Facebook
NiteRain from Oslo, Norway made their way in through the hallowed walls of the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip, and proceeded to rock the place out giving the performance of a lifetime. Playing super infectious sleaze rock in the grand tradition of Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, NiteRain won over the notoriously jaded West Hollywood crowd in an epic way. Kicking their set into ultrasonic gear with #1 Bad Boy from their recently issued Vendetta magnum opus, NiteRain proceeded to enrapture the crowd with their own tantalizing brand of fierce rock and roll anthems. Deliciously wicked cuts such as Come Out, Romeo, and Rock N’ Roll left a tremendous impact, with many of the audience already knowing the words and singing along rapturously.
NiteRain possesses massive talent and charisma all across the board, featuring the hot and heavy participation of Sebastian Tvedtnæs on vocals, Adrian Persen on guitar, Frank Karlsen on bass, and Morten Garberg on drums. And what a slamming grand finale when NiteRain closed out their set with a rip-roaring cover of You’ve Got To Fight For Your Right To Party by the Beastie Boys – delivering the much revered song with a heavy dose of true grit, rendering the tune all their own. NiteRain was definitely one of the highlights of CrueFest Hollywood this year, and you can just bet we’ll be hearing a whole lot more from these dynamic Scandinavian rockers in future days ahead.
NiteRain on Facebook
The long running Blacklist Union remains one of the most scandalously underrated rock and roll bands on the Los Angeles music scene today. Front man Tony West exudes a massive amount of passion and conviction through Blacklist Union’s explosive repertoire of songs. Commencing their set with the ferocious Alive N Well Smack In The Middle Of Hell from their towering Back To Momo manifesto, Tony West and his band slammed headfirst into a vibrantly rock solid set of tunes. Shake It Off was a glorious standout with empowering lyrics that make you want to take on the whole planet. Another memorable selection was Evil Eye, which the affable Mr. West dedicated to his mother.
One particular fun and light-hearted moment of the set was when Tony invited his 10 year old son Dylan up onstage to perform a rousing rendition of Rock N Roll Damnation by AC/DC. Dylan is definitely a future heartbreaker in the grand tradition of his rock and roller daddy. It’s moments like these that definitely make CrueFest Hollywood such a wonderfully memorable occasion. In addition to Mr. West and his too cool rocker son Dylan, the Blacklist Union lineup consists of Em K on lead guitar, Johnny Johnson on guitar and vocals, Joey Alva aka Hank on bass and vocals, and Anthony Riso (Rizz) on drums. Here’s hoping we see a lot more of Tony West and Blacklist Union on the Sunset Strip and beyond as their powerful live show and exhilarating tunes are not to be missed!
Blacklist Union on Facebook
Congrats to Nick Culves, Suzy Wilson and the entire staff of CrueFest Hollywood on making this 16th year an event to be remembered for the rock and roll ages ahead! And a special thanks to all the bands and fans who donated their money and time to this very worthwhile cause. We will see you at all CrueFest Hollywood 2018!
(Review by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)
CrueFest Hollywood on Facebook