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.
Hey, bud, let’s party! Faux Jeff Spicoli hosts ‘Fast Times’ and rolls out the best of ’80s rock at Whisky A Go-G0 every Monday Night.
The Whisky A Go-Go is slowly but surely getting back into the swing of rocking your face off again with awesome live shows and concerts that will make you remember exactly why the Sunset Strip is the birthplace of rock and roll.
There is nowhere else in the city of Los Angeles where you’re going to get as much world-class entertainment–for $10, no less–than at Whisky’s weekly event, “Fast Times.”
The moniker is both the name of the event and the band that headlines the evening of totally awesome all-1980s hits at the hottest party you’re ever going to find anywhere in Hollywood on a Monday night.
It’s actually more precise to say that “Fast Times” is the name of the band, and the band is an event. They deliver note-perfect covers of high-energy, fist-pumping rock and pop classics by bands everyone loves, like Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys, and Bon Jovi, and the energy in the room, the visuals, and the faux Jeff Spicoli host combine to make this one of the coolest Eighties parties this side of a Ridgemont High prom.
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.
Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood officially confirms it’s coming back to the Sunset Strip in August!
It has been a long couple of months trying to get used to some kind of balance of a normal life during this crazy corona situation that’s happening around the world. It’s been especially tough in Los Angeles County, where the mask mandate just seems to fluctuate with the wind.
However, I received some great news recently as I was walking down Sunset and passed the Whisky A Go-Go as it was hosting a surprise show by Yungblud.
I spotted Whisky’s owner and had to ask about the return of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood, which is the greatest thing to happen to the world-famous club since The Doors was its house band. Mikael Maglieri confirmed that it was “definitely coming back, most likely in August.”
Then, a short time later, the official Instagram page of Ultimate Jam Night Hollywood confirmed that the night is coming back on August 24. Nothing could be more awesome than hearing that news, because that one single night is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen of the Whisky A Go-Go in my life, and I have seen plenty of shows there by the biggest artists on the planet going back as far as the awesome Eighties.
Artists turn L.A. streets into an urban art gallery any music fan would love.
In 2020, the Sunset Boulevard scene–from Rock Row to Dodger Stadium–has dramatically changed as a result of the pandemic and the nation’s turbulent political climate. And the changes extend beyond just the physical sense of seeing the famous, once-glamorous and vibrant landscape covered in bland blonde plywood and political graffiti.
The biggest impact is the deafening silencing of the world-class live rock and roll music that always seemed to be a ubiquitous part of the Sunset Strip. Regardless of when you visited Sunset’s Rock Row, there was always an exciting rock and roll energy and spontaneous soundtrack permeating the legendary thoroughfare and creating an intrinsic connection with visitors.
Until this year, there was always music in the night air, whether it was the power chords of superstars likeLita Ford or local faves like Budderside emanating from the Whisky A Go Go, or the rockin’ retro sounds of Missing Persons or L.A. rockers Warner Drive (pictured below) shaking the foundation of the Viper Room.
However, while the temporary closure of the Whisky, Viper Room and Roxy is tough on everyone, there is some good news.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.