Category Archives: LIVE SHOWS

‘BACKYARD BASH’ RETURNS TO SUNSET

Lita Ford, John 5, Enuff Z’nuff, and Iron Maidens are bringing classic metal hits to Rainbow’s ‘Backyard Bash’ in September.

The Sunset Strip is back in full swing as one of the most rockin’ places to party in SoCal thanks to the resurgence of some great recent rock shows that have reinvigorated a post-pandemic boulevard. Sunset was recently serenaded by the sounds of rock n’ roll legends like Stephen Pearcy, who headlined Rainbow Bar and Grill’s “Party in the Parking Lot” last month, and The RunawaysCherie Currie, who recently rocked the Whisky A Go-Go’s “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood” event.

And thankfully, things are just starting to heat up. In fact, the Rainbow just announced the lineup for its hotly anticipated “Backyard Bash” fall showcase that is headlined by rock icon Lita Ford (pictured below). The concert showcase will also feature sets by fellow heavy metal hit-makers Enuff Z’nuff and John 5 rounding out a bill for what’s certain to be another excellent live outdoor event on Sunset in September.

Born in London and raised in Long Beach, Lita Ford is no stranger to the Sunset Strip, having rocked the Whisky and the old Gazzarri’s plenty of times as a teenage member of The Runaways, and later as a solo artist with hits like “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” Lita’s scorching guitar solos are sure to be on par with that of Rob Zombie guitarist and ex-Marilyn Manson member John 5 (pictured below), whose solo set is sure to cover much of his 2019 release, Invasion, and 2021’s Sinner.

Enuff Z’nuff (pictured below) is no stranger to the Sunset Strip, having rocked the Whisky A Go-Go plenty of times, including recently when the band’s set included some stellar Beatles covers that they’ll likely showcase at the “Backyard Bash.”

Local faves the Iron Maidens and ex-Murder Dolls frontman Wednesday 13 are also on the bill for the “Backyard Bash,” an all-day concert event happening September 4 in the parking lot of the Rainbow, at 9015 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

‘ROCK ROW’ RETURNS TO FORM

Sunset Boulevard welcomes rockin’ resurgence thanks to Rainbow’s ‘Party in the Parking Lot’ and Whisky’s tireless championing of live rock n’ roll.

For almost two long, agonizing years, the world-famous Sunset Strip’s “Rock Row” seemed like a ghost town because of the pandemic and it’s stranglehold on the fears of the general public.

But once the mask debates subsided and the world got back to semi-normal, the sounds of authentic rock and roll began once again filling the Sunset Strip with a buzz that has kept the scene alive since then, courtesy of some of the coolest concerts to ever hit WeHo post-pandemic.

Cherie Currie delivering timeless classics by The Runaways at “Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood.”

The Whisky A Go-Go and Rainbow Bar and Grill should be commended for keeping the flame of rock n’ roll alive through some challenging times by hosting recent free shows at the Whisky, with Tuesday’s Jam Night, and at the Rainbow with April’s “Party in the Parking Lot” with Ratt‘s Stephen Pearcy, Steel Panther, and Hollywood legends Pretty Boy Floyd.

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SUNSET STRIP’S BEST ROCK SHOWS OF 2021

BulletBoys frontman Marq Torien rocked an acoustic show, Wolfgang Van Halen sold out the venue, and Dokken was back for the attack at Whisky A Go-Go throughout 2021, providing the Sunset Strip with some of last year’s best shows.

There was a good variety of decent rock shows to check out in 2021 that gave Angelenos something to take their minds off of the pandemic. And while legends like the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, and Slipknot rocked Inglewood’s newly-opened SoFi Stadium last year, some of the best intimate shows were happening in WeHo, where rock superstars like Wolfgang Van Halen, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Vivian Campbell, Vinnie Appice, and BulletBoys’ Marq Torien kept the Sunset Strip shakin’ with memorable sold-out shows and timeless stories at the Whisky A Go-Go.

BulletBoys’ Reunion Show Unexpectedly Turned into an Unplugged Solo Set with Frontman Marq Torien Sounding as Smooth as Ever

The hotly-anticipated BulletBoys reunion show at the Whisky A Go-Go in December had been advertised for months. But at the last minute, plans unexpectedly changed on show night, explained frontman Mark Torien from the Whisky’s stage, where he delivered a scorching mostly-unplugged solo set. He didn’t explain why the reunion was cancelled, and instead he invited Whisky fave Ira Black to help out on timeless BulletBoys hits like “Smooth Up in Ya,” “Hell On My Heels,” and “Shoot the Preacher Down.”

Black’s scorching guitar contribution and Torien’s soulful metal pipes immediately had the crowd forgetting all about the reunion as they rocked along. Throughout the 90-minute show, Torien covered most of the best tracks on the L.A. band’s first two albums, BulletBoys and Freakshow. The Whisky crowd seemed won over by the impromptu solo show, especially when he got to the unplugged renditions of “Hard as a Rock” and the BulletBoys’ cover of The O’Jays’ “Money.”

Just as memorable as Torien’s set were the awesome stories he told between songs, about his glory days creating heavy metal history on the Sunset Strip, and getting props from David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen when performing at WeHo’s Troubadour when he was 16.

Then again, hearing these first-person stories is what makes seeing a show at the Whisky so special. Throughout 2021, other Sunset Strip legends would also share fascinating personal anecdotes about their connection to the Whisky and the Sunset Strip.

Wolfgang Van Halen Marked a Milestone with Mammoth’s Historic Headlining Show at Whisky

When Wolfgang Van Halen’s band Mammoth headlined the Whisky shortly after their North American jaunt opening for Guns N’ Roses, the frontman looked around the room in awe from center stage and reminded the sold-out crowd, “So, this is where it all started…”

He seemed as in awe of the venue and its history as we were, and we all knew what “it” meant, of course. The Whisky’s stage is where his father and uncle’s iconic band launched a career that would make music history over and over again while inspiring countless young musicians whose first taste of world-class hard rock was hearing Van Halen’s self-titled 1978 debut.

Wolfgang seemed to know he had an important family history to uphold, and the former Van Halen bassist then spent the next hour and a half proving that he doesn’t necessarily need his Van Halen cohorts to effortlessly deliver a commanding, amp-shaking performance before a fist-pumping packed house at one of the world’s most iconic—and intimidating—rock n’ roll venues.

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ROCKIN’ LIKE DOKKEN

Band founders Don Dokken and legendary guitarist George Lynch to reunite at Dokken’s headlining Whisky shows in December.

One of the greatest bands from the heavy metal era of the awesome ’80s, Dokken is returning to the very launching pad that kick-started the legendary group’s hit-making career. There’s nowhere else you’re going to want to be on December 17 and December 18 than at the Whisky A Go-Go, when Dokken returns to the world-famous venue to set the roof on fire with timeless classics like “In My Dreams,” “It’s Not Love,” “Just Got Lucky,” “Alone Again,” “Dream Warriors,” and many more scorching metal masterpieces.

Sure, the the band’s namesake founder is the only original member in Dokken’s current lineup, but these shows are extraordinary events for hardcore fans. It marks a reunion of Don Dokken and the band’s original guitar hero, George Lynch, who—along with drummer Mick Brown and bassists Juan Croucier then Jeff Pilsen—helped the band go on to sell over 10 million albums worldwide.

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SOUNDS OF SABBATH

RAINBOW

Return of Rainbow’s ‘Backyard Bash’ brought classic metal back home to the Sunset Strip.

It’s been a hell of a wait but on Sept. 5, the Rainbow Bar and Grill welcomed back all the heavy metal you could handle with the triumphant return of its annual “Backyard Bash,” an all-day live concert event featuring national and local bands cranking out heavy metal hits in the parking lot behind the Roxy and Rainbow.

After having its spring events canceled twice and their fall event once, the Sept. 5 event marked the first time the Rainbow hosted a rock n’ roll party of this magnitude. And it did not disappoint.

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WHISKY CURES EVERYTHING

Five of the hardest rockin’ shows headed to the Whisky A Go-Go in 2021.

Sure, we all know that the year 2020 sucks worse than that recent Tommy Lee album, but with a promising vaccine reportedly on the way, there are plenty of awesome concerts that we’re looking forward to in 2021 as we start to make up for lost time.And thanks to Pfizer, we’ll be doing it mask-free and close enough to scare the band. (That was a Fast Times at Ridgemont High joke.)

While we certainly love, respect and appreciate livestream shows from our favorite bands and nightclubs, nothing can ever replace the euphoria and excitement and the intrinsic connection with bands and fellow fans that a live concert offers. Catching concerts at the Whisky A Go-Go–which I’ve done countless times for decades–is a unique experience that wows all the senses.

Whisky A Go-Go
Setting the scene for virtually every Whisky show is the ubiquitous aroma of fine cannabis that wafts above small cliques of Whisky patrons usually seen hanging out in front of the club between sets. The contact high provides a decent buzz that adds to the excitement of seeing the awesome interior of the legendary venue and its unique rock artifacts that cover its walls and pay tribute to past Whisky headliners and house bands like Motley Crue and The Doors.

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BACK FOR THE ATTACK

Dokken

Dokken and Lynch Mob bringing the hard rock hits to the Sunset Strip in 2021.

The world-famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset strip has been working overtime to keep rock alive while the nightclub is temporarily closed because of the coronavirus. The Sunset Strip landmark has been hosting livestream concerts from the Whisky stage by bands like Black Veil Brides, and on September 19, guitar goddess Orianthi will be busting some strings for a livestream show, and thrash metal monsters Armored Saint headline a livestream set on October 10.

Dokken

Now, the Whisky has revealed another amazing show to look forward, and it’s not a lifestream show either. It’s a live, in-your-face double whammy concert bill featuring Lynch Mob and Dokken performing at a special two-night headlining gig at Whisky on Feb. 5 and 6. Lynch Mob is, of course, fronted by guitar hero George Lynch from Dokken. And it will be great to see the “Wicked Sensation” rocker back on the Whisky’s stage and rockin’ alongside longtime on again/off again bandmate Don Dokken.

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BLACK CELEBRATION

BVB

Black Veil Brides to livestream anniversary show from the Whisky.

Hollywood rockers Black Veil Brides are putting on their best leather and hitting the road…sort of. Andy Biersack and his fellow Sunset Strip refugees are taking the coronavirus situation in stride and have devised a great solution to keep on rockin’. On August 1, the band will head to WeHo to celebrate the release of its forthcoming new album by performing Re-Stitch These Wounds in full at the Whisky A Go-Go.

The special record release party performance will be the first time that BVB will be rocking tracks from Re-Stitch These Wounds, a 10-year anniversary re-recording of the Brides’ 2010 debut album, We Stich These Wounds. The new release is due July 31.

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FUTURE DAYS

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam reschedules European tour dates, adds shows.

Pearl Jam’s North American tour in support of the Seattle band’s 11th studio album, Gigton, is still pending due to the coronavirus pandemic, but its 2020 European tour has been rescheduled for June and July of 2021. The 2021 tour routing includes two new concert dates — Pinkpop Festival and Prague. Support acts will be announced closer to the concert dates.

Previously purchased tickets will remain valid for all rescheduled shows.

Pearl Jam

“We look forward to returning to Europe, pending these events can safely take place in Summer 2021,” said the band is a press statement that hit social media on July 23. “The safety and well-being of the band’s fans, crew and event staff continue to be priority.”

KICK OUT THE ‘JAM’

Whisky A Go-Go

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.

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‘CRIME’ REPORT

Geoff Tate’s Whisky show proves he’s still king of prog-metal.

Former Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate delivered a mind-f*** at the Whisky on August 17, and fans couldn’t get enough of the hard-rockin’ hits crushing their cabezas. Tate’s timeless classics had the crowd of 200 or so fans fist pumping and singing along throughout the nearly two-hour set that celebrated the 30th anniversary of Queensryche’s 1988 breakthrough album, Operation Mindcrime.

Promising to perform the prog-metal masterpiece in its entirety, Tate and his band delivered a faithful rendition of the 15-song concept album that saw his talented daughter, Emily Tate, guesting on vocals on “Sister Mary.” The multi-platinum Operation Mindcrime is one of Queensryche’s most memorable and successful releases, and arguably the Seattle band’s best album. And Tate and company blew the roof off the Whisky A Go-Go performing perfect renditions of the classic rock hits.

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STONED ON SUNSET

UJNH - GILBY CLARKE

Whisky’s Rolling Stones tribute would’ve made Mick Jagger proud. 

Host Paulie Z and the guys behind Ultimate Jam Night, the free weekly Tuesday night event at the Whisky A Go-Go, pulled off another spectacular show with a recent tribute to the Rolling Stones. Now, you can never go wrong with the Stones, but add in special guests like Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and keyboardist Dizzy Reed and Eagles of Death Metal‘s Jesse Hughes, and you’ve got one helluva show.

UJNH - JESS HUGHES

Of course, the Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood house band was stellar, too. Rock tour veterans Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group, Lita ford), Matt Starr (Ace FrehleyMr. Big), and Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood founder Chuck Wright (Alice CooperQuiet Riot) never missed a beat as they performed alongside a rockin’ roster of guest musicians from local and national bands.

The addition of horns and percussion really helped capture the sound and spirit of the nearly 20 Rolling Stones classics that were covered throughout a solid two-hour show.

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HEAVY METAL HERO WORSHIP

Dio Portrait

Feuding bands Last in Line & Dio Disciples to rock Sunset in 2018.

Fans of the late, great Ronnie James Dio are getting two good reasons to hit the Sunset Strip in early 2018. The world-famous Whisky a Go-Go will be welcoming back to its stage Dio Disciples on Jan. 25 to start the year off right — and LOUD — with a night of RJD classics. Dio Disciples is comprised of musicians who worked with Dio later in his career, including drummer Simon Wright, who backed up Dio on 1990’s Lock Up the Wolves and RJD’s tenth and final studio album, 2004’s Master of the Moon.

Then, as “Hey Angel” and “Evil on Queen Street” are still echoing in your cabeza, the Whisky’s walls will be shakin’ again to the sounds of Last in Line, which headlines the Sunset Strip club two weeks later, on Feb. 16.

As far as authenticity goes, this Dio tribute band launched by guitar legend Vivian Campbell (pictured with Dio, right) carries a bit more cache and is comprised of members of RJD’s career-making early band, which also helped co-write tracks on the first three hits-packed Dio albums: 1983’s Holy Diver, 1984’s Last in Line, and 1985’s Sacred Heart.

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BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

Sunset Strip legends Pretty Boy Floyd return to the Whisky, Dec. 1.

A lot has changed on the Sunset Strip’s Rock Row since the awesome Eighties, when local legends like Motley Crue, Ratt, Creature, Warrant, and Pretty Boy Floyd, ruled the scene.

Somewhere along the way, after Hollywood hit-makers like Guns N’ Roses and Crue stepped off the Strip and into global stardom while landmark haunts like Gazzarri’s and Duke’s shuttered, the celebratory anthem of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” was drown out by grunge and changing times. And by the late-’80s, instead of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all we were left with was AIDS, crack and Mariah Carey.

Then, a few decades later, we mourned the death of Motley Crue, witnessed the end of the Sunset Strip Music Festival, and then the Sunset Strip lost a part of its soul with the passing of local legend Mario Maglieri last May.

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DECADE OF DECADENCE

Nikki Sixx to celebrate Heroin Diaries anniversary with L.A. book signing.

Sunset Strip-launched rock and roll icon Nikki Sixx will be stopping by Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on October 27 for a meet and greet with fans in honor of his best selling memoir The Heroin Diaries turning 10. The rare opportunity to meet the mastermind behind Motley Crue is free to those who have bought a copy of Sixx’s autobiographical tome from Barnes & Noble. A special 10-year anniversary edition of Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, which contains new chapters, and its related soundtrack, which contains new reworked tracks, will be released the same day as Sixx’s book signing.Heroin Diaries - Nikki Sixx - SouthernCaliforniaRocks.comThe multi-talented musician recently announced that he is pulling the plug on his popular nationally syndicated IHeartRadio talk show, Sixx Sense, at the end of the year. Sixx is, as he says, “shifting gears” to concentrate on other high-profile projects, including the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation of The Heroin Diaries.Heroin Diaries Tenth Anniversary - SouthernCalifroniaRocks.com“It’s been an inspirational journey and I’ll always be a fan of the medium, but it’s time to shift gears outside the realm of solely radio,” said Sixx in a recent press statement. “I’m in the process of developing new and unique programming and ventures across multiple platforms. But I’m really gonna miss Sixx Sense.”The former Crue bassist, who has since launched the equally badass band Sixx A.M., is currently on a mini-tour to hype the tenth anniversary edition of his infamous 2007 drugalogue about his battle with and successive win over substance abuse.In addition to seeing his harrowing New York Times bestseller hit the Great White Way next year, Sixx has hinted on social media about some exciting other projects he has in store for 2018, including putting a sharper focus on his acclaimed portrait photography. He will launch a global tour of his photography exhibit “Conversations with Angels,” which is currently on display at L.A.’s Leica Gallery through Nov. 7.Nikki Sixx - SouthernCaliforniaRocks.comSixx will be signing copies of The Heroin Diaries beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, at The Grove, located at 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. Wristbands are required. Get more details here.