FREE FALLIN’: Petty Fest in L.A.


On September 13 a who’s-who of young songwriters convened at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles to celebrate the music of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Among the luminaries: Norah Jones, Dhani Harrison (pictured above), Jakob Dylan, Cory Chisel, Lissie, the Pierces, Big Black Delta, Cage the Elephant and Kristen Wiig.


Tom Petty’s relationship with Los Angeles is a long and storied one, hence the many fractured fairytales of the city he’s written.  He once revealed that he and the Heartbreakers fell in love with the city within an hour of their arrival, and the affection remains wholeheartedly mutual. The Mad Hatter of Malibu has come a long way since his days as a new world boy on the old Kings Road, chronicling the good (Ben Frank’s), the bad (Century City) and the ugly (the Chicken Shack) of his adopted provenance. With the final eclipse of the year a few days away, the BestFest scene was ripe for full moon fever.

February’s Fleetwood Mac Fest in their rearview mirror (and also reviewed at Blurt), the masterminds behind the concert series changed course for PettyFest Los Angeles. Petty, now celebrating 40 years with the Heartbreakers, has become a BestFest staple as of late; Chicago, Seattle, Nashville, Austin and San Francisco have all hosted related events. Returning players Danny Masterson, Elvis Perkins, Emily Armstrong and the indispensible Cabin Down Below Band, which emceed the proceedings and provided accompaniment for the performers. Thirty songs were performed in total, and for the beneficiaries of the night’s festivities, the non-profit Refuge Foundation for the Arts in Appleton, Wisc., the sky was the limit.

There’s a new generation of tenants at Wilbury Manor, namely Dhani Harrison and Jakob Dylan, who came together to lively effect on “End of the Line.” Dylan’s amp crapped out in the middle of “Rebels” and Harrison delivered a devastating rendition of “Don’t Come Around Here No More”…

The eternally-adorable Norah Jones teamed up with actress Kristen Wiig (an adept singer, she!) for “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “Time to Move On”… Eric Pulido (“Don’t Do Me Like That”) left the rest of Midlake to their own devices for the evening, but they’ll reconvene for the next PettyFest in Denton… The always-dulcet sister act the Pierces brought a touch of sweet-home Alabama to “Wildflowers” and treated the audience to an impromptu folk dance …  Hot off the heels of their appearances at Reading and Leeds, Cage the Elephant‘s Matt Shultz and Matthan Minster powered through “Breakdown” and “American Girl”… Courtney Love, who traumatized ticketholders at Fleetwood MacFest, was off terrorizing New York Fashion Week and thusly absent from the festivities…

The Shelters covered “Listen to Her Heart,” and you’ll soon find them on the road with Band of HorsesAdriel Denae sang  “Angel Dream” while her better half, Cory Chisel, strode onstage in his lesbian grandmother’s scarf for “It’s Good to be King”…  A hefty bottle of Jameson was observed circulating among the members of the Cabin Down Below Band, and we’re positively miffed that they didn’t share… Performing sans the Northern Lights, Jonathan Tyler broke us in two with his rendition ofYou Wreck Me”… After the ensemble took the stage for “Free Fallin,’” the Cabin Down Below Band bade all goodnight, and the book closed on night one of PettyFest Los Angeles. And they all lived happily ever after


Adam Busch


 Adriel Denae


 Big Black Delta


 Big Black Delta w/Dhani Harrison


 Brett Dennen






Cory Chisel


  Elvis Perkins


Brandon Boyd (Incubus)


 Emily Armstrong


 Eric Pulido


Jakob Dylan


 J. Council


 Jonathan Tyler


 Justin Warfield


 Kristen Wiig




 Cage the Elephant: Matt Shultz, Matthan Minster



Nikki Lane


 Norah Jones


 The Pierces



The Shelters



Leave a Reply