LOS ANGELES, CA: Grammy Week kicked off Thursday night with a party at the legendary Sunset Marquis Hotel with a salute to Hip Hop music featuring live performances by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC and the artist Kelis of “Milkshake” fame. A cavalcade of stars and music industry insiders gathered at the storied hotel in the interior courtyard. A wooden dance floor covered the swimming pool. A giant portrait of Run-DMC hung over the proceedings.
Grammy party at the Sunset Marquis
Several hundred people spent the evening grooving to DJ’s before the live performances. Joey Kramer from Aerosmith was seen moving through the crowd. John Oates from Hall and Oates hung out in one corner.
Run-DMC and Aerosmith are supposed to recreate their groundbreaking Walk This Way performance at the Grammy broadcast this Sunday. Aerosmith is being honored on their 50th year as a band at the MusiCares gala on Friday night. The Sunset Marquis is legendary for, among other things, being Aerosmith’s home away from from home in Hollywood.
Indeed, Richard Shaw, the head of Steven Tyler’s foundation Janie’s Fund, was hanging out with Sunset Marquis owner George Rosenthal and his gorgeous wife Karen. Janie’s Fund provides help for abused women. It is named after the woman described in the Aerosmith hit, “Janie’s got a gun”.
Shaw will host a Grammy viewing party as a benefit for Tyler’s charity at another major property Rosenthal owns, Raleigh Film Studios. That event is being run by the same people who do the Elton John Aids benefit viewing party at the Oscars.
An Aerosmith undercurrent to the evening
To underscore the Aerosmith Run-DMC aura of the evening, Jimmy Page confidant Chris Vranian is hanging out with Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford’s two sons, Graham and Zack. One of them, Graham Whitford, is the phenomenal guitarist of up and coming rock act Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. The atmosphere is friendly and casually electric as the mixed crowd of hip hop lovers and Hollywood insiders rub shoulders at this institutional clubhouse of the music business.
The Sunset Marquis isn’t just legendary in LA rock circles. It is the quintessential commonality among the rock elite. Whether its the Rolling Stones in town recording, Aerosmith in residence, or artists from Peter Gabriel to Sting to Puff Daddy, The Sunset Marquis is where everyone has stayed. There’s even a full recording studio in the basement. Add in Grammy Week and you have a guaranteed scene of artists and industry heavyweights gathering to celebrate.
Morrison Hotel Gallery – the rock history photo archive
One of the sponsors of the evening is the Morrison Hotel Gallery, a collection of fine art prints of rock giants from Chuck Berry to the Beatles and the Stones to Bono and the Doors. Their exquisite photo prints of rock history are all over the hotel, and also in the Morrison Gallery in the lobby. It is part and parcel of the rock and roll mystique at the Sunset Marquis.
The original hotel has expanded to include bungalows, an elegant garden restaurant that looks like a Greek temple, and sculpted gardens and walkways. The party is being held in the original courtyard, around the pool. The stories these walls could tell. The atmosphere is sparkling. Old friends greeting each other. Many coming because the party is at the Sunset Marquis.
The evening is also sponsored by Equinox, bringing in the millennial generation of scenesters. Indeed the crowd is largely young, racially mixed, very well dressed, ranging from casual chic to sequined gowns. The energy of the night is contagious as the hip hop vibe meets the regular denizens of the Sunset Marquis.
Kelis and DMC bring the house down
The music begins with a spirited opening set of songs from Kelis. She is best know for her song “Milkshake”, about how “her milkman brings her shakes to the yard. Damn right its better than yours. Damn right its better than yours.” The crowd goes wild. The dance floor swells as the audience surrounds the stage with the inevitable cell phones.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels performs a blistering 30 minute highly energetic set. The evening is in full swing as he struts and swaggers, pulling off a powerhouse version of the Run-DMC/Beastie Boys hit “Tricky”, and bringing the crowd along with him. The party begins to wind down as Thursday evening is just beginning in Hollywood. No need to go anywhere else. People stay to hang out. Its Thursday night at the Sunset Marquis.
What a great way to start a week of Grammy celebrations.
All photos by Alison Reynolds. @BigAlPoeplesPal