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Concert Review & Photos - Hair Nation

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Whether you were into leather, lace, or spandex in the 1980's, Sirius XM's Hair Festival had something for everyone that strutted into the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater on Saturday, September 17th.  A near-capacity crowd was on hand to pay homage to some of the finest rock and roll bands to ever walk the Sunset Strip and nobody in attendance walked away disappointed.  From newcomers on the scene like The Aviators and Electric Hound to heavyweights Vince Neil and Bret Michaels, this year's lineup was one for the ages and surely pleased even the most discerning rock and roll aficionado.   On what turned out to be a hot and steamy afternoon, radio host and Sirius XM personality Eddie Trunk enthusiastically kicked off the 2016 event for what would be the last rock festival to ever take place at one of Southern California's most iconic concert venues (which is unfortunately closing down in October after an amazing 35 year run).  There was definitely a bit of nostalgia in the air as the show got underway, and this feeling would intensify throughout the day as band after band took center stage for what would turn out to be a an epic event for the ages. 

And without further adieu, here's Hunnypot's lightning round recaps of the 22 bands to take the stage at this years Sirius XM's Hair Nation:


Festival Stage:

Electric Hound - Runner up of Battle of the Bands and Festival Stage opener.  These guys absolutely blew up the stage - wish more were there to see these guys crush it!

Odin - Jeff Duncan's guitar work and Randy O's vocals kicked some serious ass Saturday afternoon - one of my favorite performances from the Festival Stage.

Gabbie Rae - Only 18 years old and already taking the world by storm - Gabbie's voice was simply angelic.  The runway is long for this talented vocalist.

Circus of Power - This band is so tight and played their F'n hearts out on Saturday afternoon, giving everyone in attendance a massive heart attack.

Bang Tango - Always been a huge fan of Joe Lesté's vocal power and he did not disappoint - rock solid performance.

Pretty Boy Floyd - Steve Summers and company's brand of rock and roll set the night on fire in front of a packed crowd - absolutely loved this band.

La Guns' Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns - How were these guys not on the Main Stage this year?  Phil and Tracii were downright amazing!


Main Stage:

The Aviators - Well deserved win at Battle of the Bands and the Main Stage opener.  August Young captivated the crowd with his crisp vocals and catchy lyrics.  Check these guys out when you can, well worth the price of admission.

Tuff - Stevie Rachelle and Todd Chaisson were solid with a well though out set of Tuff classics.  "American Hair Band" sounded amazing live and was just what the doctor ordered to fire up the VIP section down front. 

Vain - I remember catching these guys down on the Sunset Strip in the early 90's and was so excited to see them again after all these years.  When Davy Vain ripped into "Beat the Bullet" on Saturday, it was unadulterated badassery.

Britny Fox - It doesn't get better than Chris Sanders hitting the stage and immediately smashing up two perfectly healthy guitars before the show even starts. Tommy Paris was vocally spot on during their 20-minute set, and Sanders, Childers, and Dee rocked all of the Britny Fox classics.  Regardless of length,  it was one of my favorite sets of the day.

Junkyard - It was evident from the first note that these guys absolutely love playing together - amazing chemistry on stage!  Took me way back to hear the 1989 classic "Simple Man".  David Roach and the boys sounded fantastic and were definitely a crowd favorite on Saturday.

Enuff Z'Nuff - Couldn't wait for Chip Z'Nuff and crew to hit the stage and did so in fine flamboyant fashion w/ signature pink glasses!  This was a totally fun set that had many of the Hair Nation faithful out of their chairs and singing along to classics such as “Fly High Michelle” and “High on a New Thing.”  These guys still know how to rock it after all these years.

BulletBoys -  Marq Torien may be one all-time favorite vocalists from the 80's.  I was hoping he would be able to bring it on Saturday and this guy comes out and hits a bases loaded home run - absolutely killed it!  Nick, Chad, and Shawn were spot on the entire set and really helped reaffirm my firm belief that rock and roll is not dead.

Vixen - This all female band has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and was stoked to learn they were going to be performing at the Hair Nation festival this year.  Janet, Roxy, Share, and Gina were simply stunning and far-exceeded any expectations I had coming into my first Vixen show.  It was a powerful performance that took it to a whole never level as the sun began to set in sunny Southern California.  These ladies are so talented and knew what buttons to push to energize the Hair Nation faithful.

Faster Pussycat -  There couldn't have a more fitting way to start a Faster Pussycat show than for Taime Downe to walk out on stage with a lit cigarette in one hand and a cold Budweiser in the other.  After toasting the crowd, he launched into a raucous 30-minute covering classics such as "Slip of the Tongue", "House of Pain", and "Bathroom Wall".  It was evident that the self-proclaimed kings of sleaze kicked it up a notch for their final appearance at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater,  with many in attendance calling this one of their best performances in years.  Hats off to Taime, Ace, Danny, Xristian, and Chad for bringing down the house on Saturday afternoon.

Lita Ford - There many be no better way to describe Lita's performance other than spectacular.  She not only rocked the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater to its core, she did so in a way that cemented her legacy as one of the very best to perform on its hollowed stage.  From "Gotta Let Go" to "Kiss Me deadly" (and everything in between), fans were captivated throughout the entire set and were begging for more when the dust had settled.  Happy Birthday Lita!

Slaughter -  As the sun began to set over the Pacific, Mark Slaughter and company took center stage and cranked up the intensity to 11 for what would be one of the most musically solid performances of the evening.  Jeff Blando, Dana Strum, and Zoltan Chaney were absolutely on fire during a jam packed set that featured an array of their greatest hits since the bands inception in 1990.  From a touching version of "Fly to the Angels" (with Irvine Meadows completely lit up with cell-phones) to "Up All Night", Slaughter's performance raised the Hair Nation bar to a whole new level.

Yngwie Malmsteen -   Since he first hit the scene in 1982, Yngwie Malmsteen has been considered by many to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.  His classical roots pay homage to some of the most brilliant composers of all time, and it comes across in a guitar style that is often copied but never truly replicated. Yngwie's performance on Saturday evening was an extension of that brilliance and was nothing short of spectacular.  From classics such as "Rising Force" and "Heaven Tonight" to a Bach cover "Badinerie", Malmsteen took Irvine Meadows on a magical journey that left nothing (and everything) to the imagination. Well done Maestro!

Kix - I think Kix is arguably one of the coolest bands on the planet.   Fronted by the incomprable Steve Whitman, this band never fails to entertain its fans with cool stories, animated stage antics, and most importantly amazing music.  Saturday night was no exception.  From classics like "Wheels in Motion" to "Blow my Fuse", Kix had everyone out of their seat singing and dancing with one of the best showman in all rock and roll. As always, Drummer Jimmy Chalfant, Guitarists Ronnie Younkins and Brian Forsythe, and Bassist Mark Schenker were as technically solid and never missed a beat the entire set - these guys kick-ass.  My only complaint with Kix is that they don't visit the West Coast often enough and seeing them live is a rarity for most.  I hope that changes down the road!

Bret Michaels - When you think of hair bands, one immediately thinks of Bret Michaels as the quintessential glam rocker of the 80's.  His stage presence as the frontman for Poison was unrivaled with an amazing 30 year career that produced 6 top-ten singles and album sales that eclipsed the 45-million mark worldwide.  On Saturday night, Bret flew solo for what was to be one of the best performances of the evening.  The setlist was a simple selection of Poison classics and each song sounded downright awesome.  From "Talk Dirty to Me" to "Every Rose Has It's Thorn", Bret fully engaged the capacity crowd and ensured everyone was having a good time.  There was even a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", a crowd favorite for sure.  My favorite moment of the set was when Bret dedicated "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" to all of our brave men and women who have served in the armed forces.  It was a touching moment for sure that captured the hearts of everyone in attendance (especially the veterans).  Respect.

Vince Neil - As Vince's band walked out on stage around 10pm, many who don't follow him regularly may have thought that there was some type of mix-up when Jeff Blando, Dana Strum, and Zoltan Chaney cranked up opener "Dr. Feelgood".  Yes, these are the guys from Slaughter.  But what most do not know is that they are also members of his solo band and have they been touring together for years killing Vince's solo work as well as the Motley Crue classics.  After thanking the crowd for attending Hair Nation this year, Vince and company launched into a power packed set to cap off an already amazing day of rock and roll. Hits such as "Looks That Kill", "Girls, Girls, Girls", and "Home Sweet Home" were powerful reminders of the significant impact both Vince and Motley Crue have made on the music scene to date.  Led Zeppelin fans in the house were treated to a solid cover of "Whole Lotta Love" by the one and only Jeff Blando.  Its sometimes hard to do Zeppelin justice and this guy killed it!  Vince and company ended their set with "Wild Side" off of their 1987 album Dr. Feelgood, and it sounded every bit as good as it was when first released almost 30 years ago.  I gotta say, this band sounded tight and was on the money all night long and the perfect choice to headline this years Hair Nation Festival.


Overall, the 2016 Sirius XM's Hair Nation Festival will go down in history as one of the coolest events to ever rock the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.  From The Aviators to Vince Neil, there was something for everyone at this years show.  The wide range of bands failed to disappoint the near-capacity crowd and left everyone wanting more as the show wound to a close.  Although this years festival is finally in the books, it was great to hear from radio personality (and event MC) Eddie Trunk that this event was in fact the "First Annual Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival".  Although the venue will obviously have to change due to the closing of Irvine Meadows, its promising to know that this event will live on as a testament to the kick-ass in-your-face music we all know and love.  Until next time party people..........


Stay Frosty and Rock On!


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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