On Monday nights in L.A., about the only sure shot you got is Fast Times at the Whisky A Go-Go.
The Whisky A Go-Go‘s Monday night house band, Fast Times, is a totally awesome and completely tubular ’80s tribute band that never fails to knock your neon lime green socks off and get your checkerboard Vans moshing.
Bored on a random Monday night, we cruised over to Sunset and Clark to catch yet another set by Fast Times, which has been the Whisky’s Monday night house band for the past two years. And they always give one of the coolest, most faithful sets of ’80s covers that are spot-on and have an awesome added edge that comes from the high-energy live show that includes plenty of audience participation.
Throughout the show, the faux Jeff Spicoli frontman brilliantly segues from handling the vocals of Jon Bon Jovi one minute to Dave Gahan the next and then effortlessly switching to Mark Almond and Holly Johnson, and the segue is as smooth and crisp as the keyboard riffs of a Casio.
Fast Times always manages to engage the audience to the point that for a moment in time, the Whisky feels like you just stepped into a rockin’ prom circa 1985. The crowd is very much into the experience, everyone knows the words of every song, and they’re excited by just how good the covers are.
Plus, the audience is often invited to sing/yell the choruses into the microphone during the many times various band members step up into the edge of the stage. Fast Times’ set feels more like a really wicked party than a concert.
The only disappointment came when we stepped outside and realized there wasn’t a 1982 DMC DeLorean waiting to hit 88 mph and take us back to the ’80s for good.
Stellar L.A. bands Dina Dover and The Band Called Sex are proving Gene Simmons wrong.
Music icon Gene Simmons caused a stir with rock and rollers in the recent past when he proclaimed that rock and roll is dead.
The outspoken Demon was referring to the fact that modern rock radio simply doesn’t have any decent new rock bands that seem like they will stand the test of time like KISS did, and Van Halen, Motley Crue, and other legendary bands from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s (and a few from the ’90s) who we all still listen to today.
While we’d never refute the legendary Demon’s opinion on such an important topic, there is a good sign that rock and roll may not necessarily be dead. Proof of life is found at the Whisky A Go-Go, where we recently took in a set by the totally awesome L.A. ’80s tribute band Fast Times.
On a random Monday night, as we were checking out the two local bands opening the show, Dina Dover and The Band Called Sex, we were stoked by the rock and roll authenticity of both bands, whose original songs were memorable, catchy, and rocked hard without any bit of pretentiousness or gimmickry.
Plus, you could see and hear obvious influences of the likes of The Go-Go’s, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath in the performances by these new young bands that played straightforward melodic original rock and roll that the crowd seemed to really appreciate.
The two bands that supported Fast Times, Dina Dover and The Band Called Sex, had the 40 or 50 people in attendance riveted to their music as they banged their heads, bopped to the beat, and cheered on the bands as if they were watching Aerosmith. It was a sight to behold, especially after post-pandemic L.A. nightlife had been stagnant for so long.
The Band Called Sex delivered some badass, unpretentious original rock and roll that echoed of the bluesy grooves of Led Zeppelin and the powerhouse pipes of Ronnie James Dio but delivered with a straightforward musicality all its own.
Dina Dover followed TBCS and the excellent band may look like a misfit group of high schoolers who just stepped out of The Breakfast Club, but when they jam together, it’s magic–a marvelous cohesive rock and roll sound that is slick, edgy, and instantly catchy. If The Go-Go’s ever got together with Blink 182, this could be their love child.
Plus, any rock band that opens their set with a fantastic cover of Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller,” automatically gets a gold star in our book. It’s not easy to make an MJ song your own, but they did it effortlessly.
The memorable evening at the Whisky A Go-Go was an authentic music moment that was goosebump inducing because it seemed to be a noticeable, pivotal moment where music fans were in the mood to get their faces rocked off and they were certainly getting exactly that on this random Monday night on the Sunset Strip.
This musical experience was all about being moved by the entire enormity and majesty of this rockin’ showcase of original music that was followed by Fast Times’ incredible spot-on covers of the best rock songs of the ’80s by bands like Def Leppard and Van Halen.
So, with all due respect to the mighty Demon, rock may be on its last breath, but it is being resuscitated nightly at the corner of Sunset and Clark, where you could still rock and roll all night and party everyday. And for that we’ll forever be grateful.
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 Setwith 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.