Best Fest brought their star-studded tribute/charity show to Hollywood this week, playing two shows on 09/13 and 09/14 at the Fonda, and it didn’t disappoint (never does). The crew at Best Fest have spent almost a decade now throwing these benefit shows, paying homage to legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Neil Young, and Fleetwood Mac, but this iteration was all about the Heartbreaker himself, Tom Petty. House band The Cabin Down Below hosted the event, which felt like the best Karaoke night you’ve ever had (because you’re doing it with actual rock stars).
Highlights of the night:
Speaking of rock stars, Emily Armstrong of (Rabbits Black favorite) Dead Sara dominated her rendition of “Here Comes My Girl.” Her voice is amazing (we know), and she kept it on message for most of the song, but you can tell it’s hard for her to keep the inner rocker at bay. She eventually gave in, and and as the song moved along, her patented scream took over. Let’s go see Dead Sara again!
The surprise guest of the night was movie star Kristen Wiig! (still feels a little strange to call her a movie star after all her great SNL days, but she absolutely is). Norah Jones brought her out to sing duets on crowd favorite “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” as well as “It’s Time to Move On.” I’ll give it to Kristen, it’s gotta be intimidating to sing a duet with Norah Jones and those famous pipes, but she really held her own.
Jakob Dylan also rolled down La Brea to play a couple Petty tracks with the crew. You can tell he feels right at home on that stage. He played two songs for the crowd. He started with “The Waiting”, but less than a minute in an amp blew, and the whole song abruptly stopped. This might have phased some artists (or some crowds), but Jakob and everybody else just rolled with it. Like I said, the whole show felt like you were just out singing karaoke with your super-talented friends. After bringing out a new amp, the show went on. Jakob finished with “Rebels” off the Petty album Southern Accents.
Other highlights included Brandon Boyd of Incubus playing “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” Matt Shultz & Matthan Minster of Cage The Elephant playing “Breakdown ” and “American Girl,” up and coming singer-songwriter Lissie playing “Into the Great Wide Open,” country singer Nikki Lane playing a sultry cover of “Saving Grace” off Highway Companion, J-Council crushing “Refugee”, and Justin Warfield of She Wants Revenge playing “Running Down a Dream.”
We were also psyched to see clean-cut Jonathan Tyler rocking a version of “You Wreck Me” for the crowd. As a quick reminder, he’s playing December 2nd at the Satellite if you want to catch a whole blues-rock set from this Texas native. I highly recommend it. You can find tickets here.
The whole lineup came out to finish the show with a group rendition of Free Falling. I mean, is there a better communal sing-along!? As a reminder, the Best Fest shows help sponsor the Refuge Foundation For the Arts (which is only fitting, considering the familial environment that all of these shows promote).
Much thanks to the Best Fest crew, the Cabin Down Below Band, Jameson, and The Fonda for another great night in Hollyood. See ya next time.