Where Were the California Musicians at Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration Concert?

Sunday night’s fundraiser for fire victims featured big names, but was light on local talent

Gavin Newsom kicked off his inauguration celebrations on Sunday night with a concert in Sacramento to raise funds for fire victims. And while the cause was a good one, the lineup felt like a bit of a head-scratcher—none of the headlining talent is associated with California.

The governor-elect, guests, and members of the public packed the Golden 1 Center for a night of performances by Pitbull (Miami), Common (Chicago), Betty Who (Australia), and X Ambassadors (Ithaca, New York).

Rounding out the night was one local act, Cold Weather Sons, a country music duo from Paradise, California, who rose to fame recently with a song about personal losses suffered during the Camp Fire. Cold Weather Sons were a perfect inclusion given the night’s theme, California representation felt thin.

The performers that played make for a solid bill, sure, but in the interest of properly celebrating our fair state, we would’ve hoped for a slightly different lineup.

Instead of Common: Kendrick Lamar


Common has been an icon of socially conscious rap since before “woke” was a Twitter catchphrase–and since before Twitter was even invented. For our fantasy inauguration, we would pass the baton to Pulitzer Prize-winning Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Instead of X Ambassadors: Green Day


Gavin Newsom could have paid tribute to the San Francisco Bay Area where he made his political mark by bringing out East Bay pop-punk stalwarts Green Day. We would expect several selections from American Idiot, a 2004 album critical of the Republican administration that was in power at the time.

Instead of Betty Who: Katy Perry


Pop princesses Betty Who and Katy Perry share much in terms of musical style and audience, but Perry has a more personal connection to fire relief. The Santa Barbara native has come out as a passionate advocate for the cause, hosting her own benefit events last year.

Instead of Pitbull: Cuco 


Nobody can exactly fill Mr. Worldwide’s white suit, but we’d live to see Cuco take a shot. The delightful young pop star from L.A. has a devoted fan base–and he’s shown an interest in dabbling in politics, too, performing at benefits for immigration issues and other causes.

RELATED: Activist and Journalist Francisca Flores Is a Chicana Hero Every Angeleno Should Know

Stay up to date with everything you need to know about L.A. by following us on Facebook.