Whisky’s ‘Jam Night’ delivers more treats than tricks in October.
Tuesday nights in WeHo have never been the same since “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” took over the Whisky a few years back. The weekly two-hour showcase of live music has brought back to the Sunset Strip neighborhood an authentic and always awesome rock and roll experience not seen nor heard since the days when Axl, Nikki and Blackie strode its storied streets. In fact, many of the stellar musicians in the “Ultimate Jam” band as well as the weekly surprise guests have likely rocked a stage alongside iconic bands like Guns N’ Roses and Quiet Riot at one time or another. The Tuesday night “Jam” band includes Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot) Matt Starr (Mr. Big), and Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group).1OAK
When not rocking the Whisky’s stage as frontman for the new revival of Sweet, staggeringly talented vocalist Paulie Z hosts “Ultimate Jam Night,” effortlessly segueing between announcing the artists and raising the roof with the house band on a few of the evening’s cover tunes. And all through October, Z and his crew were serving up more treats than tricks.
On Oct. 16, “Ultimate Jam Night” gave a loud and appreciative shout out to “big-voiced divas with big personalities,” Paulie Z announced before taking lead on a killer rendition of Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep,” which rocked a helluva lot harder than Adele ever could.
A revolving cast of guest singers and musicians joined in every other song or so, expertly covering every instrument from six strings and congas to flutes and saxophones. The rest of the night was rounded out with equally awesome covers of classics written, sung and/or made famous by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, No Doubt, and Beyonce, including a particularly badass rendition of the latter’s “Crazy in Love”–complete with a stellar horn section–that had the crowd absolutely enthralled and momentarily transforming the Whisky into one huge, hella fun dance floor.
Notching up the excitement during an already high-energy showcase was a surprise appearance by legendary Blondie drummer Clem Burke, who smashed the skins on covers of “The Tide is High, made famous by Blondie, and Joan Jett‘s “Do You Wanna Touch Me?”
The following Tuesday night jam, on Oct. 23, was dedicated to metal stalwarts Metallica, and James Hatfield would have raised a Bic high and proud after the spot-on set of his iconic band’s metal classics.
The night kicked off with Paulie Z turning the energy in the room up to 11 with a rockin’ rendition of “Creeping Death” that had most of the room singing along. The Metallica tribute drew a noticeably larger–and more raucous–crowd than usual, and the band appeased hardcore fans with lots of classics and a few mainstream monster hits thrown in to round out a solid set that truly encapsulated the history and musicality of the iconic band.
The showcase even got a nod from a popular, Metallica-approved cover band, Orange County’s Damage Inc., whose frontman took the mic for a few ‘Tallica tunes.
All in all, between the hard-rockin “Divas” tribute and the Metallica Mosher, “Ultimate Jam Night” may be the closest Angelenos will ever get to experiencing what the Sunset Strip music scene was like back in the Seventies and Eighties, when music mattered and AutoTune didn’t.
Catch the next Tuesday night “Jam” on Oct. 30, when the live music event brings The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack to life beginning at 10 p.m.