Last night was the West coast entry of Petty Fest, a Tom Petty themed and Jameson fueled version of Best Fest. It was a two night event that took place at the always wonderful El Rey and brought lots of people out to catch musicians like AA Bondy and Sarah Silverman do their best covers of Petty songs. It was a fun, fun night–and a big reminder that everyone knows more Tom Petty songs than they think they know.
It all started with doors opening at 8PM and the bands starting around 9:30PM-ish. The concept is basically that a bunch of musicians–ranging from virtually unknowns to surprise guests like Ke$ha and Jonny Depp, who played guitar all night on Wednesday–paid homage to Tom Petty by covering his songs. It was a big team effort with a core band that would rotate out to adjust to bigger name musicians. For example, when the drummer for Guns ‘n Roses wanted to play for a cover of “I Won’t Back Down,” the core band drummer scooted over to tambourine for the song. It was a really interesting performance style and had some great covers (that “I Won’t Back Down” was excellent and by a Brazilian musician whose name escapes us), a lot of people who could throw their voices to sound *just* like Petty, and some OK performances too (We heard a rumor that Sarah Silverman did a very OK job the night before…).
The event was backed by Jameson who made sure place green lights everywhere and had an obvious monopoly on the bar (which is not a problem with us because we love whiskey). They even had Gold Reserve (which was great–a sweet undertone, too!) in addition to their Black Barrel which we believe won’t be available in America for another year or two? That’s what we were told which meant we had to try it. Regardless, it was a good, complex whiskey. The other hand in the event was Sweet Relief, a musician’s charity that seeks to financially aid all types of music careers. All ticket sales went to them, which was great–especially considering the big names that performed to help the cause.
We ended up sneaking out a little early (…and missed a rumored Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, and Jonny Depp jam session that we were trying to wait for.) but Petty Fest was a very unexpectedly good time. This is coming from a person who hates concerts, too. Maybe it was the delightfully quaint El Rey space or the fact that all the songs were familiar or that I just like whiskey: I don’t know. You should definitely try to catch the show next time Best Fest is doing anything out West, too.