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.
The Whisky A Go-Go and RainbowBar 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.
Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood’s Randy Rhoads tribute concert was a family affair at Whisky A Go-Go, with special guests Kelle and Kathy Rhoads making a guest appearance.
The Whisky’s long-running Tuesday night showcase Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which has hosted tribute nights dedicated to everyone from Metallica to Motley Crue, set it sites on the iconic music of Randy Rhoads on March 15.
The evening paid tribute to Rhoads’ influential guitar work as well as the songs he had co-written while a member of Ozzy Osbourne‘s band and Quiet Riot.
The show featured Ozzy’s greatest hits performed by amazing tribute performers and rockin’ guest artists covering two hours of the greatest heavy metal classics ever written.
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.
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, GeorgeLynch, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Rock Row Refugee Stephen Pearcy Returns to Whisky, June 23
Before and after launching Sunset N’ Clark in 2006, we have been to some really great shows on the Sunset Strip. There was Motley Crue headlining the now-defunct Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2011, and Ozzy Osbourne before that, in 2009. But one of the most surprising shows that really stands out as being pretty stellar was Ratt legend StephenPearcy‘s headlining appearance at theRainbow‘s “Parking Lot Party” in 2015.
We’ve seen the original Ratt perform many times back in the day. And the band, with its signature two-guitar assault, always gave a stellar show. But years later at the Rainbow, while we still loved Ratt, we kinda weren’t expecting Pearcy, after having been off the Strip and out of the spotlight for a while, to rock as hard as he did.
Sure, his famous long raven locks now had a few streaks of silver, but the combustible energy was as raw as it was back in the day when tying bandanas to your shins was cool.
After chatting about his on again/off again stint in Ratt, Pearcy reminded the crowd that as the singer and songwriter behind all of the band’s hits, he “is Ratt.” He was referring of course to the other “Ratt” incarnations that were scurrying around on the club circuit at the time courtesy of his then-ex-band mates.
From the small stage adjacent to the Rainbow’s side patio, Pearcy proved that he is indeed Ratt by covering timeless anthems like “Wanted Man” and “Dance” with a ferocious energy that could power every neon sign over Sunset for a year.
Pearcy is bringing that energy back to the Sunset Strip on June 23, when the metal icon again headlines the Whisky A Go-Go in support of his latest album, Smash. Since the Rainbow’s “Parking Lot Party,” the Rock Row refugee has been back on the block to rock the Whisky a few times, including last fall.
There’s never been a better reason to ditch Netflix for a night and instead take in some kick-ass culture straight from the awesome ’80s. Expect to hear all the classics that still blow away anything on the radio today. The show starts at 10 p.m. Angel City Rockers, SJ Syndicate, Crowfly, and Retrofeelya are also on the bill.Tickets are $30.
RELIVE HOLLYWOOD’S HEAVY METAL GLORY DAYS WITH THE BEST OF RATT, DOKKEN, SKIDROW, CINDERELLA & MORE MONSTERS OF METAL AT CATHOUSE LIVE, AUG. 15 IN THE O.C.
Legendary club promoter Riki Rachtman is back to save the modern music scene by opening up a big ol’ can of heavy metal whoop ass on August 15 with the hotly anticipated return of one of his most famous Hollywood clubs, the Cathouse. And he’s bringing a few famous friends with him when Cathouse Live rocks The O.C. this summer.
Bringing added heat to Southern California’s summer concert season are legendary hard-rock frontmen Sebastian Bach, Stephen Pearcy (right), Tom Keifer, Don Dokken and Tracii Guns, whowill be covering the greatest hits of Skidrow, Ratt, Cinderella, Dokken and L.A. Guns, respectively, onthe Cathouse Live main stage at Irvine Meadows.
Theheavy metal hit-makers will besharing an all-star bill with Extreme, Trixter, Saigon Kick and Sunset Strip refugees Bang Tango, BulletBoys, Junkyard, Pretty Boy Floyd and Little Caesar. Plus, there are many more timeless metal bands that will keep Cathouse Live rockin’ from sun up ’til sun down on August 15.
Rachtman’s rockin’ summertime revival offers a rare opportunity for fans to get a taste of the famous club he launched in 1986 with some help from Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe. Cathouse became a favorite hangout for the likes of everyone from Axl Rose (right) to Lita Ford and hosted every band from Pantera to Pearl Jam. The Hollywood hot spot, which closed its doors on Highland forever in the Nineties, is immortalized in classics by Motley Crüe, AliceCooper and Faster Pussycat.
We raise our Bics to Rachtman for bringing the best of classic metal back to SoCal this summer with Cathouse Live. And the best part? Tickets start at $15! Get more details here.
(Main photo: (clockwise from top, left to right): Don Dokken, Bang Tango, Sebastian Bach, Riki Rachtman, Trixter, Extreme, BulletBoys’ Marq Torien and Tracii Guns)
BEVERLY HILLS ADDS SOME ROCK TO ITS RITZ WHEN WHITESNAKE HEADLINES SABAN THEATRE, JUNE 9
The still of the night in the 90210 won’t be still for long!
Hit-making heavy metal band Whitesnake is slithering its way over to Beverly Hills’ Saban Theatre on June 9, when frontman David Coverdale will rock Wilshire with the band’s endless list of metal classics, like “Still of the Night,” “Slow an’ Easy” “Fool for Your Loving” and “Here I Go Again.”
The hits are gonna keep rollin’ all night, straight through to 2011’s “Love Will Set You Free” from Forevermore.
Coverdale and his crew — guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra; drummer Tommy Aldridge; bassist Michael Devin; and keyboardist Michele Luppi — will also be crankin’ amped-up Deep Purple classics from Whitesnake’s recent covers release, The Purple Album.
LED ZEPPELIN LEGEND ROBERT PLANT TO ROCK HOLLYWOOD HILLS, JUNE 2
Been a long time since you rock and rolled?
Robert Plant is returning to L.A. to grace the gorgeous Hollywood Hills summer skyline with his golden pipes when he headlines the GreekTheatre on June 2.
This time around, the Led Zeppelin legend is bringing along his new band, the Sensational Space Shifters, pictured right at L.A.’s Shrine Theatre in 2013. The iconic singer-songwriter and his band will be focusing on music from their 2014 album, Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar.
Get ticket information and more details on the Greek show here.
Check out and the Sensational Space Shifters in the short film Returning to the Borders, below.
Hollywood Roses Revisits Guns N’ Roses at Whisky, Feb. 14
Sure, on Valentine’s Day, you can always do the usual wine and roses thing with your better half.
However, we have a much better suggestion: the Night Train and Roses thing!
On February 14, toast the evening with some Night Train while getting your faces rocked off by the sounds of Hollywood hit-makers Guns N’ Roses at local faves Hollywood Roses‘ headlining gig at the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go!
The Whisky is located in the heart of the Strip’s Rock Row at 8901 Sunset Boulevard at Clark Street. Get more details and tickets for Hollywood Roses’ Valentine’s Day show here.
But don’t blame us if the date starts to feel a little uncomfortable should the band break out “Used to Love Her”!
WARNER DRIVE TO HEADLINE CITY OF ANGELS RECORD RELEASE SHOW AT SUNSET STRIP’S VIPER ROOM NOV. 8
As far as Hollywood buzz bands go, they don’t get much better than Warner Drive. The hard rocking fivesome has been tirelessly shaking up the Sunset Strip for a couple years now before recently taking some time off the club scene to record new material.
Local fans will get a live taste of the new stuff when Warner Drive hits up the Viper Room on November 8 for a headlining gig at the iconic rock club. The band’s return to the Sunset Strip is to celebrate the long awaited release of WD’s new album, City of Angels.
As expected, the band does not disappoint with City of Angels, which includes 10 solid tracks featuring WD’s newer club staples and brand spankin’ new material.
City of Angels, which officially dropped September 9, kicks off with “Rising From the Fallen,” a full-throttle, Sabbathy hard rock anthem that Disturbed would have killed to have recorded. We think the late, great Dio would give this track two devil’s horns up.
The album starts off very strong and never lets up, seguing to the title track, “City of Angels,” which is the coolest L.A. anthem to surface from a Sunset Strip-launched band since Motley Crue‘s “Saints of Los Angeles.”
“Radio Love Song” echoes with ’80s-metal-style harmonies and is the most radio-ready and badass sing-along track since WD’s signature jam “The Scarecrow.” Likewise, the band’s new single “Boys N’ Girls” is another killer original rock song that would have fit comfortably on any early Skidrow or Dokken album.
Also on the new release, frontman Jonny Law and crew — guitarists Candice Levinson and Ryan Harris, bassist Elvis James and drummer Jonny U — switch gears from party rock to get political and bust some strings on the catchy, hard-rocking “West Memphis Three.”
“King of Swing” is standard Warner Drive: mercilessly melodic chorus, scorching guitars and a solid rhythm section that kicks this tune into overdrive and should blow the roof off of the Viper Room on November 8.
Also, considering that WD has already immortalized Viper Room in one of its best songs, expect Warner Drive to deliver a particularly scorching version of “Viper Room.”
Viper Room is located in the heart of the Strip at 8852 West Sunset Boulevard. The show starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $15 with a copy of City of Angels. Lose Control and Kicking Harold are also on the bill. Get ticket details here.
SLASH AND MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS SET FOR THREE-NIGHT L.A. TOUR AT ICONIC ROCK CLUBS, SEPT. 23, 25 & 26
Legendary GN’R alum and Sunset Strip rock refugee Slash is heading back to West Hollywood and Rock Row in September to shred at three of the city’s most iconic rock clubs: Troubadour, Roxy and The Whisky A Go Go. The three-night mini-tour will have Slash reuniting with his SSMF 2010 guest artist, occasional studio collaborator and frequent touring mate, Myles Kennedy and his band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.
The band will first head over to Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny and hit up the iconic Troubadour on September 23 for a headlining gig before cruising up to Sunset on September 25 to rock the Roxy. The party continues on September 26, when Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators take center stage at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go.
Get tickets and additional details here. See you at the shows!
FAN HALEN HITS UP THE MEAN STREETS OF THOUSAND OAKS
Hard-rocking Van Halen tribute band Fan Halen drew a big, fun crowd to Thousand Oaks on August 13 for a scorching, free all-ages show in the Janss Mall courtyard. Faux Diamond Dave and his skillfully-costumed colleagues sent an appreciative crowd of rock fans of every age back in time to 1984 and earlier with two solid sets that celebrated all the timeless hits of the iconic Pasadena band’s pre-Sammy Hagar catalog.
Fan Halen may not have VH’s famous Marshall stacks but they still managed to shake the foundation of Thousand Oaks with spot-on covers of killer rockers like “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Atomic Punk,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jaime’s Cryin’,” and “Everybody Wants Some.” The band also bravely tackled Eddie Van Halen‘s signature soloing on “Eruption” and had much of the audience giving the two-fingered, devil’s horn metal salute in approval.
The colorful crowd itself, with many fans proudly sporting VH tour jerseys, tatts and patches, helped create a vibe that made the two-hour event feel like a drift back to the awesome Eighties.
Check out the scene below.
Catch Fan Halen next at Pala Casino’s Infinity Showroom on August 23. The 21-and-over, 8 p.m. show is free!